Campaign Life Coalition has nominated Aid to Women executive director Joanne Dieleman for the Governor General’s award in commemoration or the Persons Case.

The award was instituted in 1979 to salute individuals who have promoted the equality and advancement of women in Canada.

The award recalls the 1929 judicial decision, which granted women constitutional status as “persons.”

A native of Schiedam, The Netherlands, Joanne came to Canada in 1960. She worked as a nurse at Victoria Hospital in London, Ontario, before settling to raise her eight children.

In addition to her work at Aid to Women, Joanne has been active as one of Canada’s leading pro-life workers.

She has worked as a counsellor at the North York Pregnancy Care Center, and she serves as a member of The Interim newspaper board of directors.

Joanne and her husband, Adrian, have also been recognized for their work as foster parents. From 1969 to 1991, they opened their home to over 200 foster children. In 1987, the couple received a Certificate of Recognition of Outstanding Community Service as Foster Parents from the City of North York.

The tireless pro-life worker has also found time to support the Toronto Christian Music Assembly, REAL Women of Canada, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

In a letter to the nomination committee, Campaign Life Coalition National President Jim Hughes said Joanne has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of women in Canada.

“Knowing that women often choose abortion reluctantly, because they are economically vulnerable and alone, Joanne offers real, positive choices to women in crisis pregnancies,” Hughes said.

“In addition to listening to these women and caring for them, she gives them information which many cases would otherwise be denied them. Moreover, she gives them concrete, day-to-day help, both before and after they give birth.”

Hughes said Joanne’s work at Aid to Women underscores the need to win legal recognition of the personhood of the unborn child. “She is engaged in the struggle to ensure that no group in our society is denied their basic rights,” he said.

There have been 97 recipients of the Governor General’s Award over the last 18 years. Five awards are usually presented each year.