Former MLA and trustee Sarich passes away from cancer

Janice Sarich with her Michael Luchkovich Award. NP-UN File Photo

Marco Levytsky, NP-UN Western Bureau Chief.

Former Alberta MLA and Edmonton Catholic School Board Trustee Janice Sarich passed away February 26, three weeks after being diagnosed with cancer.
She was 62 years old.

A fourth generation Ukrainian Canadian, Sarich was one of the most pro-active representatives of our community in the legislature. Prior to her election as MLA in 2008, she very ably represented the community as trustee on the Edmonton Catholic School Board for six years. During that time, Sarich actively advocated to the Board and the provincial government the issues brought to her attention by the Edmonton Catholic Schools-Ukrainian Bilingual Parent Advisory Society.

“UCC-APC is deeply saddened by the passing of the former Alberta MLA Janice Sarich. Janice was known as a staunch supporter of the Ukrainian community who often attended our events in Alberta. She will be deeply missed. May her memory be eternal! Vichnaya Pamyat!” stated Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Alberta Provincial Council (UCC-APC) President Orysia Boychuk.

“So very sad. A beautiful (person) inside and out. A pleasure to work with,” UCC-APC’s immediate Past President Olesia Luciw-Andryjowycz posted on Facebook.

“So terribly sad…she was a wonderful person,” echoed her predecessor as UCC-APC President, Daria Luciw.

“Edmonton has lost a genuine and hard-working voice and her family has lost a treasured mother, wife, sister and daughter. We will think of you often,” said Lidia Wasylyn, President of the League of Ukrainian Canadian Women, Edmonton Branch.

Following the 2008 election, Sarich was appointed Parliamentary Assistant to the Education Minister, Dave Hancock, by then Premier Ed Stelmach and served in this role until 2011.
She was defeated in her Edmonton-Decore riding by New Democrat Eric Nielsen in the 2015 election. Sarich was appointed to the board of MacEwan University in 2019.
In a February 27 tweet, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said he was terribly saddened by the death of his good friend.

“Janice passed away last night after receiving a cancer diagnosis just three weeks ago,” Kenney said. “She was a wonderful, giving and compassionate woman dedicated to her community, serving as both a Catholic school trustee (and) MLA.”

“Eternal Memories dear friend,” wrote former Bonnyville – Cold Lake MLA Genia Leskiw on Facebook. “Janice Sarich, you left us too soon. Janice and I were colleagues in the Alberta Legislature from 2008-2015. It was a pleasure working with Janice. Hugs and prayers to (husband) Steve and his family. May you Rest in Peace.”

“She was a kind woman that served as a mentor to many, including myself.
May your soul rest in peace,” commented NDP MLA David Egan, who served as Education Minister in former Premier Rachel Notley’s administration.

For her work on behalf of the Ukrainian community, Sarich was honored with the UCC-APC’s 2018 Michael Luchkovich Award, presented annually to individuals who have previously been elected officials for their significant contribution and dedication to the betterment of all Canadians.

“Janice was very conscientious, attended all caucus meetings, carefully preparing for all policy discussions, and asking good questions about legislation coming before the Assembly as to how this would affect her constituents. She was a hard worker that put her heart and soul in representing her constituents,” said former Premier Stelmach in commenting on her award.

“This intelligent and dedicated leader is driven by her strong cultural, religious, and close family upbringing. Janice’s commitment to family and education attracted her to politics, confident she could have a positive impact on her children, parents and community,” wrote Meletiy Zyla, who covered the award ceremony for New Pathway – Ukrainian News.
Sarich was born in Edmonton in 1958 and obtained a Master of Education (Educational Administration) degree and a Bachelor of Physical Education (Administration) both from the University of Alberta.

Prior to entering public life, she was a small business owner and President of a business consulting company for over 20 years providing expertise in the areas of strategic planning, policy, and governance in the private and public sectors. She also served as an academic senate member of the Newman Theological College and as an advisory committee member to Catholic Social Services.