- Minister charged with the administration of the Workers Compensation Act
- First elected in 2007 and re-elected in 2011
- Former Chairperson of the NDP Caucus
- Long-time resident of North Kildonan
- Home Economics teacher with 30 years’ experience teaching in the Winnipeg School Division
Erna was first elected as the Member of the Legislative Assembly for Rossmere in 2007. She was appointed Minister of Labour and Immigration by Premier Greg Selinger on October 18, 2013.
A long-time resident of North Kildonan, Erna attended Springfield Heights School and River East Collegiate. The North Kildonan Community Club was a centre of activity where Erna played on the girls’ softball team, attended many teen dances and skated on the ice rinks in the winter.
Erna attended the University of Manitoba where she received a Bachelor of Home Economics. In her final year, she worked with a women’s community group helping them learn to sew for their children. This sparked an interest in teaching and she enrolled in the Faculty of Education, where she earned her Teaching Certificate, followed by a Bachelor of Education.
Erna’s teaching career has spanned 34 years, with 31 spent in the Winnipeg School Division. Erna has taught Home Economics – Clothing, Child Development, Family Studies and Nutrition. Her last teaching assignment was at the Adolescent Parent Centre, an alternative program in which young mothers are able to complete their high school education.
An active member of the teaching profession, she served on the executives of the Manitoba Home Economics Teachers’ Association and The Winnipeg Teachers’ Association (WTA). Erna was elected WTA President in 1989-90 and 2005-2007. She also served on the Provincial Executive of The Manitoba Teachers’ Society during the late 1990s. Erna was also recognized for her work on curriculum and was seconded for three years in the mid-1990s to the Department of Education as Curriculum Consultant for Home Economics and Skills for Independent Living.
Erna is a member of the First Mennonite Church. She has had a long-standing commitment to her church, having been a Sunday School teacher in the past. Currently, Erna is a member of the women’s group “Evergreen Circle” as well as the Ministerial Council as Head Deacon.
Erna served as NDP caucus chair from June 2008 until 2011. She also chaired the Special Committee for Senate Reform of the Legislative Assembly.
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