Cairine is a seasoned Councillor with proven leadership skills and nine years of consecutive service to the public as a Councillor. Cairine was elected to Oak Bay Council in 2011 after winding up six years of Council work in North Saanich and ran for Mayor of Oak Bay in the 2014 municipal election.
Since leaving local government, Cairine currently serves as Board Director of Our Place Society, a local non-profit organization that addresses the needs of the homeless and vulnerable in the region. She also sits on the Governance, Board Development and Social Justice sub-committees.
Cairine is Chair of the Oak Bay Heritage Commission, a municipal standing committee that promotes heritage conservation and makes recommendations to Oak Bay Council on related land use and property referrals.
Cairine is a Lay Council Member on the provincial council of the College of Applied Biology, the regulator for professional biologists and biologist technicians in British Columbia, and she is also a member of the Council’s Communications sub-committee.
Cairine is not new to taking on challenging leadership roles. She was the first female probation officer appointed by the BC Corrections Service to the Victoria Adult Probation office in 1971.
She was the first manager of Student Services on the Duncan Campus of the former Malaspina University College (Vancouver Island University) and worked closely with First Nations’ communities in the Cowichan Valley. She was appointed Manager of Aboriginal Education, Ministry of Education and as a North Saanich Councillor, she was First Nations Liaison.
She was one of few Council members in the CRD who maintained a weekly blog that provided local government, community and regional information to North Saanich and Oak Bay residents. She is a prolific writer who has maintained a website for eleven years, believing that direct outreach and communication with residents is key to effectively represent and remain accountable to her community. Cairine revamped her political website in 2014 and continues to write about local government and regional issues/topics pertinent to the Capital Regional District and beyond.
Cairine has earned the respect of local and regional colleagues and in May 2014, led all thirteen municipalities in supporting her Oak Bay Council resolution to lobby the Province to keep the Victoria Youth Custody Services Centre open for young offenders from Vancouver Island.
Cairine served on a variety of municipal and regional commissions and committees and chaired in 2012, Oak Bay’s first working group on civic engagement. As a result of that work, Oak Bay upgraded its website and made improvements to Council procedures that include:
- public participation during Council meetings;
- informal Committee of the Whole format that welcomes public input on agenda items; and,
- meeting information made more available and accessible through audio/video equipment installed in Council Chambers and in the municipal hall foyer.
Cairine served as one of three Council representatives on Oak Bay’s Official Community Plan Advisory Committee, served on a search committee to hire a new Chief Administrative Officer for Oak Bay and continued to provide advice to the municipality on human resources’ best practices, social policy and labour relations.
Cairine advocated for regular neighbourhood meetings and using her strong facilitation skills, organized and chaired Oak Bay’s first neighbourhood meeting in November 2012. She believes in this type of public engagement and remains convinced that regular town hall and neighbourhood meetings should occur quarterly throughout each year.
Cairine was Oak Bay Council Liaison to the following:
- Oak Bay Heritage Commission, Heritage Foundation and Archives
- Capital Regional District Arts Committee
- Director, Greater Victoria Labour Relations Association
- Board Member, Royal MacPherson Theatres Society
- Capital Regional District Regional Housing Trust Fund
- Member, Uplands Land Use Committee
At year’s end, Cairine was the only Oak Bay Councillor to submit an annual report to Mayor and Council on her Council Liaison responsibilities, again demonstrating her commitment to ongoing public communication and information sharing.
While serving as a two-term North Saanich councillor between 2005-2011, Cairine was Council Liaison to the following:
- Alternate Director, Capital Regional District Board
- Peninsula Agricultural Commission
- Victoria Airport Authority’s Environmental Committee
- Vancouver Island Regional Library Board
- Saanich Peninsula Water/Wastewater Commission
- Regional Housing Trust Fund
- Regional Housing Corporation Board
- Solid Waste Advisory Group
- North Saanich Heritage Commission
- North Saanich Environmental Advisory Commission
Cairine is an alumnus of the University of Victoria, earning a Bachelor of Arts (History) and a Master of Education in Counselling.
Cairine enjoyed successful professional careers in the criminal justice system, as a private practitioner in divorce and family mediation, in the community college, post-secondary and K-12 education systems as a campus administrator and program manager, and as a senior policy analyst and human resources contractor in the BC Public Service.
This background provides her with strong skills and abilities in human and organizational development, contract and program evaluation and management, program and policy analysis and issues’ management. Cairine also has a long history of volunteer experience at the community and municipal levels.
Cairine has extensive skills in local and regional government and is dedicated to this important work. She is a strong advocate for local food security and worked hard to protect North Saanich and the Saanich Peninsula’s rural and agricultural lands from creeping sprawl and over-development.
Cairine was born and raised in Victoria and her father Arthur Ash, served British Columbia as MLA for Saanich from 1948 to 1952 and as Reeve (Mayor) of Saanich from 1952 to 1958 when the family moved to the United States. Cairine returned to Victoria for university in 1966.
Cairine and Fred have lived in Oak Bay on and off since the 1970’s, and raised their son Matthew on St. Patrick Street during the 1980’s. Although career demands required them to move away from Oak Bay, Cairine and Fred kept their connections here and returned in 2010 to again make their home in Oak Bay.
Cairine will continue her commitment to community involvement and plans to serve on a variety of boards and committees at the community and regional levels.
Cairine is married to Fred, has a son Matthew, a daughter-in-law Meghan, a new granddaughter, Hadley, as well as a large extended family. Cairine enjoys quality time with family and friends, paints, and loves photography, cycling and traveling. She and Fred were boaters for over 30 years but are now avid motorcyclists.