Sawicki, Joan Marie

Identity area

Type of entity


Authorized form of name

Sawicki, Joan Marie

Parallel form(s) of name

    Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

      Other form(s) of name

      • Sawicki-Runka, Joan Marie

      Identifiers for corporate bodies

      Description area

      Dates of existence

      18 September 1945 - present


      Joan Sawicki was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1945 and spent her early years on a small family farm in Burnaby. In 1956, the family moved to Terrace, B.C. Upon high school graduation, Joan attended the University of Victoria earning a Bachelor of Education degree in 1968, majoring in History and Geography.

      During her university years, Joan developed an interest in agriculture, environment and land use planning while working with the Canada Land Inventory, both in Victoria and Ottawa. She was a secondary school teacher in Williams Lake 1968-1969 and in Armstrong 1972-1973 before joining the Land Commission staff in 1973 to work on establishing the original Agricultural Land Reserve boundaries. Joan Sawicki married Gary Runka in 1978 and joined him as a partner in G.G. Runka Land Sense Ltd. consulting firm in 1979.

      From 1987 to 1990, Joan Sawicki served on Burnaby City Council. She chaired the environment and waste management committee and sat as a municipal representative on the Greater Vancouver Regional District waste management committee and the Metropolitan Board of Health.

      After failing to win a seat in the provincial legislature representing the NDP in Burnaby-Willingdon during the 1986 election, Joan Sawicki was elected in that riding in 1991, and re-elected in 1996. Under the Premier Harcourt government, Joan Sawicki was appointed Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in March 1992, serving for two years. After leaving the Speaker’s chair, Joan served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Municipal Affairs (April 1994 to May 1996), focusing on the Georgia Basin Initiative and serving on the board of the International Centre for Sustainable Cities.

      Upon re-election in 1996, Joan was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment, Lands and Parks (June 1996 to January 1998) and charged with the task of expanding BC’s beverage container deposit/refund system. She resigned from that position when her government invoked the Provincial Interest clause to allow exclusion of land from the Agricultural Land Reserve for a proposed development project at Six Mile Ranch near Kamloops.

      In July 1999, Premier Glen Clark named Joan Sawicki to cabinet as Minister of Environment, Lands, and Parks, during which time she championed a Green Economy Initiative and Sustainability legislation. She retained her portfolio under Premier Ujjal Dosanjh until November 1, 2000 after she had announced she would not be seeking re-election in 2001.

      Upon retirement from elected politics, Joan returned to land use consulting work through G.G. Runka Land Sense Ltd. Upon her husband’s death, Joan completed their work opposing the loss of prime agriculture land due to the Site C dam. Joan served on the board of directors for Nature Conservancy of Canada, BC Region from 2004 to 2010 and continues to be active on environmental issues, including volunteering with BC Parks and other non-profit organizations.


      Legal status

      Functions, occupations and activities

      Mandates/sources of authority

      Internal structures/genealogy

      General context

      Relationships area

      Related entity

      Runka, G. Gary (2 Aug. 1938 – 26 July 2013)

      Identifier of related entity

      Category of relationship


      Dates of relationship


      Description of relationship

      Access points area

      Subject access points

      Place access points


      Control area

      Authority record identifier

      Institution identifier


      Rules and/or conventions used



      Level of detail


      Dates of creation, revision and deletion

      Created on 10 Nov 2022 by KS.
      Revised on 9 Feb. 2023 by KS.


      • English



        Maintenance notes