In the early 17th century, Olivier Le Jeune was the first documented person of African descent to live in Canada (New France) on a permanent basis and was the first person of African descent known to have been enslaved in the colony.
Today, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced the designation of Olivier Le Jeune as a person of national historic significance under the National Program of Historical Commemoration, on the recommendation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.
“I am honoured to commemorate the national historic significance Olivier Le Jeune, whose experiences as the first enslaved person of African descent in early Canada exemplify the struggles of Black Canadians. By sharing these stories, we hope to foster understanding and reflection on the diverse histories, cultures, legacies, and realities of Canada’s past and present and commit to do better in the future.
Honourable Steven Guilbeault,
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada