Ottawa, March 29, 2022 – The Canadian Paralympic Committee mourns the loss of Joyce Fairbairn, a longtime passionate and dedicated supporter of the Paralympic Movement in Canada.
Fairbairn was a Senator for nearly 30 years before her retirement in 2013 and was the first woman to serve as Leader of the Government in the Senate. It was in her role as Senator that she attended the Nagano 1998 Paralympic Winter Games. After learning there may not be enough funds to send a Canadian team to the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney, she founded a group called ‘Friends of the Paralympics’ to raise money. This group became an instrumental voice for elevating the Paralympic Movement in Canada and shortly after the 2000 Games led Senator Fairbairn to help found and chair the Canadian Paralympic Foundation, the first official charitable foundation connected to the CPC.
She was inducted into the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame as a builder in 2011 in recognition of her significant role in uplifting and growing Paralympic sport across the country.
Statement from Marc-André Fabien, president, Canadian Paralympic Committee:
“It is with extreme sadness that we have learned of the passing of Senator Joyce Fairbairn. She was a pillar of the Paralympic Movement in Canada for many years, including in critical years of growth, and her leadership, passion, and determination to strengthen Paralympic sport made a world of difference. She was always a huge fan of all of Canada’s Paralympians, and we so appreciated all of her support. She will be greatly missed.”