Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Marianne Bossen (1918-2008)

Nurse, educator, civil servant, economist, researcher, advocate.

Born in Willemstad, Curacao, Dutch Antilles on 16 October 1918, to Catarina and Dirk Bossen, she graduated from high school in the Netherlands in 1937, and obtained a diploma in nursing during the Second World War. In the 1940s she was employed at Unilever as a social worker, developing and administering the personnel department for 1,000 employees. She immigrated to Canada in 1951 and worked in Toronto and northern Ontario as a nurse with the Canadian Red Cross. She obtained a BA degree from the University of Montreal in 1957 and a MA degree in Economics from the University of Toronto in 1964.

She was an assistant professor of economics at Lakehead University and at the University of Winnipeg (1966 to 1968). In 1962, she began working for the Government of Canada in various capacities with the Civil Service Commission, the Department of Industry, and with the Department of Manpower and Immigration as an economist doing research and program development. She was a consultant for the Royal Commission on the Status of Women from 1967 to 1969. Her extensive research included work with the Ontario and Manitoba governments. In 1972 she established a private practice as a consulting economist on manpower and social policy. Her clients included federal and provincial governments, industry, research councils, boards, and community organizations.

In 1977, she was a recipient of the YWCA Woman of the Year Awards (Business Category). She was a member of the Advisory Committee to the Manitoba Minister of Health that recommended the establishment of self-managed home care. In 1982 she began years of advisory service with the city and the province to develop transportation services for those with physical disabilities. In 1994 she was recognized by Winnipeg Transit for her contribution to the Task Force to Review Handi-Transit Issues.

She served on the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, the YWCA and YM-YWCA Boards, the Manitoba Board of the Canadian Paraplegic Association, and the Provincial Council of the Manitoba League of the Physically Handicapped. She served the province in the areas of rent appeals, and landlord and tenant legislation review. She was active in the New Democratic Party and the First Church of Christ Scientist.

During her retirement, she lived in White Rock, British Columbia for three years before returning to Winnipeg, where she resided until her death on 1 March 2008.


Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 8 March 2008.

“Manitobans’ Legacy a Better Province,” Winnipeg Free Press, 4 January 2009, page B2.

We thank Georgia Cordes for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 9 April 2017

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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