Hon. Leona Aglukkaq, Canada’s Minister of Health, was first elected by the Nunavummiut people to the Parliament of Canada in 2008. On October 30, 2008 she became the first Aboriginal of Inuk background to be sworn into the cabinet, as the Minister of Health. In May 2011, Ms. Aglukkaq was again sworn in as the Minister of Health, with an additional portfolio as the Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.
In August 2012, Ms. Aglukkaq was named the new Chair of the Arctic Council and sworn in as the Minister of the Arctic Council for Canada. Before entering federal politics, she served in the Nunavut Assembly for Nattilik, and was elected by her peers to the Executive Council. She first served as Finance Minister and House Leader, before becoming the Minister of Health and Social Services as well as the Minister for the Status of Women.
Hon. Aglukkaq has served in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut as Deputy Clerk of the Legislative Assembly; Deputy Minister for Culture, Language, Elders and Youth; Deputy Minister for Human Resources, Assistant Deputy Minister for Human Resources; Executive and Intergovernmental Affairs; Superintendent for Education, Culture and Employment and Councillor, Cambridge Bay Municipality. She was, member, Arctic College Board of Governors, Nunavut Impact Review Board and the NWT Science Institute.
Dr. Vincent Lam
Emergency Physician and Author
Dr. Vincent Lam was born in Canada and is from the expatriate Chinese community of Vietnam. Dr. Lam did his medical training in Toronto, and is an emergency physician. He is a Lecturer with the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. He has also worked in international air evacuation and expedition medicine on Arctic and Antarctic ships.
Dr. Lam’s first book, Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, won the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize, and has recently been adapted for television and broadcast on HBO Canada. Dr. Lam co-authored The Flu Pandemic and You, a non-fiction guide to influenza pandemics. Dr. Lam’s biography of Tommy Douglas is published by Penguin Canada as part of Extraordinary Canadians series.
The Headmaster’s Wager, which is Dr. Lam’s first novel on a Chinese compulsive gambler and headmaster of an English school in Saigon during the Vietnam War, was shortlisted for the 2012 Governor General’s Prize. He is known for crafting powerful stories that tell memorable tales. For an emergency physician who became a writer, he has done very well for himself.
Sir Karim Hakimi
Philanthropist and Founder,
Sir Karim Hakimi is the Founder and CEO of Hakim Optical, which operates over 160 eyewear outlets, including 140 one-hour factory outlets, in Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Manitoba. Hakim Optical began with Sir Hakimi grinding lenses for the Canadian wholesale market. His craft was learned, as a youth, in his native Iran and eventually honed while grinding lenses in Germany and camera lenses in Switzerland.
Sir Hakimi launched store operations that passed on the great deals he gave to wholesalers on to the public. Today, repeat customers comprise 75 percent of his clientele. As a visionary who set out with the goal of improvising the vision or the ability of people to see better, he has become a multi-millionaire, who not only enjoys the wealth amassed over the years, but touches the lives of others through his humanitarian work.
Having lost his father at five, little Karim began to work at 10 to support his family. He worked at a blacksmith shop, making magnifying glasses, igniting his passion for optics. He treats his 500 employees well and donates to charities, including Ride for Sight, a project of The Foundation for Fighting Blindness. He has received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and is a knight of The Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Malta, giving him the title Sir Karim Hakimi.
Dr. Birinder Singh Ahluwalia
Founder and President,
BSA Diagnostics Limited
Dr. Birinder Singh Ahluwalia is the Founder, President & Director of Imaging at BSA Diagnostics Ltd., one of the largest and most advanced medical diagnostics centers in Canada. A tremendous inspiration to immigrants who are often unable to fit in their professional fields, Dr. Birinder came to Canada from Punjab, India in 1986, with a medical degree from Amritsar Medical College, but could not practice medicine.
Upon arrival in Canada, Dr. Ahluwalia undertook training in diagnostic imaging at Toronto General Hospital. Then he opened radiological diagnostic centres in the city. Today, his company, which he named BSA Diagnostics Limited, has four locations with a successful business model, offering even 24- hour turnarounds for patient results.
Today, Dr. Ahluwalia’s BSA Diagnostics centers treat over 70,000 patients a year. Prime Minister Stephen Harper wanted to go to India, he asked Dr. Ahluwalia to be part of his esteemed entourage. A highly regarded philanthropist, Dr. Ahluwalia is the patron, CEO and inspiration behind SikhChic. com, a web portal dedicated to promoting Sikh heritage, as well as a dedicated supporter of The Spinning Wheel Film Festival.
Dr. Kwame McKenzie
Professor, Psychiatrist and Scientific Staff at CAMH
Dr. Kwame McKenzie is a psychiatrist, academic, social commentator and an advocate for mental health. He is committed to using scientific investigation to help build inclusive, humane and effective models of mental health care for everyone. A highly respected scientist, his passion and commitment to transforming the lives of people with mental health issues has earned him the respect and admiration of his peers.
Dr. McKenzie is a Senior Scientist at Centre for Addition and Mental Health (CAMH). He works within the Health Services and Health Equity Research section, is the Medical Director of Access & Transitions as well as a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. An African Canadian, Dr. McKenzie is a highly sought after speaker and media commentator.
The area of research Dr. McKenzie focuses on pertains to the science of improving mental health services. Key areas of interest include social determinants of health, society and mental health, social capital and mental health, redesigning mental health services for visible minority groups, efficacy of treatment in schizophrenia, psychiatric diagnosis, community engagement, racism, pathways to care, and suicide.