Buzzard Press

Lorene Oikawa

From the West Coast Environmental Law website

Vice President

Lorene is the President of the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC). She was the first Asian Canadian Executive Vice President for the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) and served three terms.

Lorene is an activist who speaks and writes about her passions, including human rights. She is a co-editor of the book, Honouring Our People: Breaking the Silence. She is also a director on the board of the Canadian Labour International Film Festival (CLiFF), and was part of the festival’s founding committee in 2009.

Her education includes a Bachelor’s degree from the University of British Columbia. She is a strong advocate of life-long learning. She was part of a multi-union design team that created a climate change workshop for union educators across Canada.

Lorene is a fourth generation British Columbian whose family migrated from Japan in the 1800s and 1906. Her family is connected to environmental concerns, including the early work of her Uncle Buck (T. Buck Suzuki) to protect fish habitat.

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From the National Association of Japanese-Canadians website

In addition to her NAJC responsibilities, Lorene Oikawa works for the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction and is the Vice Chair of the Landscapes of Injustice Steering Committee. She also serves as the Vice President of the board of West Coast Environmental Law and is a founding member and director on the board of the Canadian Labour International Film Festival. She is the past President of the Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association. She was the first and only Asian Canadian executive vice president for the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) for three terms from 2005 to 2014.

She speaks and writes about her passions, including human rights and her heritage. She is a co-editor of the book, Honouring Our People: Breaking the Silence, which tells the stories of Japanese Canadians who survived uprooting, dispossession, and internment. She has worked on a number of projects including the Hastings Park 1942 Signage Project and Discover the Stories of Japanese Canadians in Surrey.

Lorene, a University of British Columbia (UBC) alumna, is a strong advocate of life-long learning. She contributes to the experience and knowledge exchange by developing and delivering workshops, mentoring, and facilitating for government, community, and unions.

Lorene is a yonsei, a fourth generation Canadian. Her mother’s side of the family migrated from Hiroshima Japan in the 1800s, to Cumberland on Vancouver Island, and in 1906, her father’s side came from Sendai Miyagi-ken, and settled on Oikawa Island in Metro Vancouver.