Born in Victoria, Adam was raised on Tsartlip First Nation in Brentwood Bay, BC. His father Carl is the Community Health Representative on Tsartlip, and his mother Sylvia, is a historian, academic, author and First Nations housing expert. Adam has three siblings. Joni is an elected Councillor in Tsartlip and a small business owner. Heather is the community health manager and registered nurse for Tsartlip and Joaquim, is a cook at the Prairie Inn
Adam married Emily in 2006 and they have two small children—Silas and Ella. They live on the property where Adam and his siblings were raised.
First elected to Central Saanich Council in 2008, Adam was the first, First Nations Councillor elected in the District. Re-elected for a second term in 2011, Adam was the Chair of the Planning and Development committee and represented the District on the Regional Housing Trust Fund and Peninsula Agricultural Commission when he resigned his seat on January 21st to run provincially.
Over the past four years Adam has diligently worked on behalf of the community. At the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) and Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), Adam has championed efforts for response to the growing derelict and abandoned vessels impacting our coastline, building relationships between First Nations and municipal governments, responsible storm water management and improving the viability of agriculture.
Adam became involved in politics first starting as an envelope stuffer and scrutineer for the federal Liberal Party in 2000. He first knocked on doors with Green Party candidate, Andrew Lewis in 2006. Adam moved on to Elizabeth May’s team, providing communications support to the campaign during her successful campaign resulting in the first elected Green Party of Canada, Member of Parliament.
After attending Camosun’s College’s Applied Communication Program, Adam interned at The Sports Network (TSN) in Toronto, ON, building highlight packages for the nightly news show SportsCentre. Following his internship Adam was hired as the first communications and community relations manager of the Victoria Salmon Kings and the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.
After his stint with the Salmon Kings he joined the Aboriginal Sports and Recreation Association of BC, where he got his first taste of a multi-sport games, as the Communications Manager of Aboriginal Team BC at the 2006 North American Indigenous Games in Denver, Colorado. In 2009, Adam volunteered with Team BC at the Canada Summer Games in Prince Edward Island, again in a communications capacity.
Following his election as municipal councillor in 2008, Adam became a work-from-home father. He and his son Silas attended committee meetings and assisted Elizabeth May’s campaign team build their communications capacity. He also began working with his mother Sylvia in First Nations housing. Recently he began training as a facilitator for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation First Nations housing workshops and works to develop housing policy for First Nations communities across the country. Adam is currently assisting a team of consultants to develop materials for building and renovating to avoid mold in First Nations housing.
In 2011 Adam, sister Joni and mother Sylvia started Salish Fusion Knitwear. The Olsen family has always been Coast Salish knitters. They launched a line of fresh and modern knitted products, inspired by the coastal woolworking tradition.
In April 2012, Adam and Joni pitched their products on CBC’s Dragon’s Den. The business received a lot of media attention and now has a solid following. This experience has given Adam a new appreciation for the sacrifices and hard work by small business owners to provide the community with the products they need locally.