FILIPINO-Canadian Flordeliz “Gigi” Osler appointed to the Senate of Canada by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

FILIPINO-Canadian Flordeliz “Gigi” Osler appointed to the Senate of Canada by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

CANADA, September 26 – The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that the Governor General appointed Flordeliz (Gigi) Osler and Ian Shugart as independent Senators to fill vacancies for Manitoba and Ontario.

Flordeliz (Gigi) Osler is an internationally renowned surgeon who operates in Winnipeg, an assistant professor at the University of Manitoba, and a dedicated advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion. She was the first woman surgeon and the first racialized woman elected President of the Canadian Medical Association. Dr. Osler is known for her active involvement within and dedication to the medical community in Canada and abroad. She is also the recipient of numerous honours and awards.

“I am pleased to welcome Flordeliz (Gigi) Osler and Ian Shugart as Parliament’s newest independent Senators. I am confident that their dedication, unique perspectives, and stellar careers will help them best serve Canadians from all walks of life. I look forward to working with them, and all Senators, as we continue to make life more affordable, take climate action, and make life better for people.”

The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada


Dr. Osler will be the first woman of Filipino descent to be a Canadian senator.

According to the Facebook page of the Canadian embassy in Manila, Osler’s Filipino mother was a nurse, while her Indian father was a doctor.

“Congratulations to Dr. F. Gigi Osler, on her appointment as a Senator of Canada,” the Canadian Embassy wrote on its Facebook page on Thursday. “Dr. Osler serves as a role model, research supervisor, and mentor for Filipino and other racialized medical students in Manitoba and across Canada, including within the Filipino Association of Medical Students in Manitoba.”

Osler is only the second Filipino to be named to the Canadian senate, after the late Tobias Enverga, who served as Senator for the province of Ontario. Other Filipinos who served in Canada’s parliament included former member of parliament (MP) Rey Pagtakhan and current MP Rechie Valdez.

Ian Shugart devoted his life to public service and held increasingly senior leadership positions within the federal public service, most recently as the 24th Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet. He served as the principal link between the Prime Minister and the public service of Canada, including by delivering critical and timely support to Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout his career, Mr. Shugart also shaped the modernization of public health, provided leadership in international climate change negotiations, and managed sensitive national security issues and key international relationships.

Dr. Osler and Mr. Shugart were recommended by the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments and chosen using a merit-based process open to all Canadians. This process ensures Senators are independent, reflect Canada’s diversity, and are able to tackle the broad range of challenges and opportunities facing the country.

Quick Facts

  • The Senate is the Upper House in Canada’s parliamentary democracy. It unites a diverse group of accomplished Canadians in service of their country. Created to counterbalance representation by population in the House of Commons, the Senate not only defends regional interests, it also creates space for the voices of historically underrepresented groups like Indigenous Peoples, racialized communities, and women.
  • With today’s announcement, there have been 62 independent appointments to the Senate made on the advice of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
  • Under the Canadian Constitution, the Governor General appoints individuals to the Senate. By convention, Senators are appointed on the advice of the Prime Minister.
  • In 2016, the selection process for Senators was opened to all Canadians. Candidate submissions are reviewed by the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments, which provides recommendations to the Prime Minister.
  • The Board is guided by public, transparent, non-partisan, and merit-based criteria to identify highly qualified candidates.
  • Once appointed by the Governor General, new Senators join their peers to examine and revise legislation, investigate national issues, and represent regional, provincial, and minority interests – important functions in a modern democracy.