Ahmed Hussen

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The Honourable
Ahmed Hussen
Ahmed Hussen at the Toronto Caribbean Carnival - 2017 (36258275322).jpg
Hussen in 2017
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Assumed office
January 10, 2017
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Preceded by John McCallum
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for York South—Weston
Assumed office
October 19, 2015
Preceded by Mike Sullivan
Personal details
Born 1976 (age 41–42)[1]
Mogadishu, Somalia
Nationality Canadian
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Ebyan Farah
Alma mater York University
University of Ottawa
Profession Lawyer, activist

Ahmed Hussen MP (Somali: Axmed Xuseen; Arabic: أحمد حسين‎; born 1976) is Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship for the Government of Canada. He is also a lawyer. He was National President of the Canadian Somali Congress. As of October 2015, Hussen is an MP in the Canadian Parliament, representing the York South—Weston riding as a member of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Early life and education

Hussen was born and raised in Mogadishu, Somalia, he has five older siblings and his father was a long-distance trucker. He learned to speak English there from a cousin. He and his family left Mogadishu after the Somali Civil War reached their neighbourhood. They lived for a period of time in Kenya, in a camp in Mombasa and several apartments in Nairobi.[2][3]

Two years after leaving Mogadishu, Hussen's parents bought him an airplane ticket to Toronto, where two of his brothers had already moved to. He initially resided with a cousin in Hamilton, moving to Toronto a year later in 1994 and settling in Regent Park in 1996.[2][3]

Hussen completed his secondary school years in Hamilton. Due to a Canadian government policy that delayed granting permanent residency status to emigrants from Somalia, he had to decline three running scholarships to universities in the United States.[2] Hussen eventually attended York University, earning a BA in History in 2002.[4] Having received a law degree from the University of Ottawa, and passed the bar exam in September 2012,[3] he specialized in the practice of immigration and criminal law.[5]

Hussen is married to Ebyan Farah, who is also a Somali-Canadian.[2] They have three sons.[2]

Early career

Hussen began his career in public service and politics in the fall of 2001. He started out doing volunteer work in Legislative Assembly of Ontario. He was hired the following year as an assistant to Dalton McGuinty, the leader of the province's official opposition. Hussen worked in this capacity until November 2003, when he was promoted to Special Assistant, concurrently with the Liberal Party's election victory. He held this new post for two years, during which he was in charge of issues management, policy and communications.[4]

Hussen later worked with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's Youth Engaged in National Security Issues committee.[3]

He also founded the Regent Park Community Council. The representative body facilitated a $500 million revitalization and redevelopment project in Regent Park, the largest such initiative in the country. During the project's implementation,[6] he was tasked with consulting with and protecting the interests of the area's 15,000 residents.[4]

Hussen currently serves as the National President of the Canadian Somali Congress (CSC).[7][8] Under his leadership, the CSC partnered with the Canadian International Peace Project and Canadian Jewish Congress to establish the Canadian Somali-Jewish Mentorship Project. It is the first national mentoring and development project between a sizable Muslim community and the Jewish community.[3]

In May 2010, the Canadian Somali Congress and Canadian International Peace Project also partnered with the Global Enrichment Foundation to launch the Somali Women Scholarship Program. Hussen acts as the program's founding Director.[9]

Until 2012, Hussen served as a sitting member of the Stephen Harper government's Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security. Established in 2005, the panel brought together prominent members from a number of Canada's cultural communities and government officials in order to discuss policy and program issues, and to promote dialogue and strengthen understanding between the national authorities and its electorate.[10][11]

Before his entry into politics, Hussen practised Criminal Law, Immigration and Refugee Law, and Human Rights Law at his office in Toronto.[3]

Liberal Party

MP for York South—Weston

In December 2014, Hussen presented himself as a candidate for a Liberal Party of Canada seat in the riding of York South—Weston for the 42nd Canadian federal election.[12] He won the nomination in a field of six aspirants, which included the Green Party's John Johnson.[13] The victory makes Hussen the first Somali-Canadian elected to the House of Commons.[14]

Immigration Minister

On 10 January 2017, Hussen was appointed Minister of Immigration as part of a cabinet shuffle by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.[15] The nomination makes Hussen the first Somali-Canadian to serve in the government cabinet.[16]

As immigration minister Hussen announced on 2017 the Government Canada will welcome nearly one million immigrants over the next three years. The number of migrants will climb to 310,000 in 2018, up from 300,000 this year. That number will rise to 330,000 in 2019 then 340,000 in 2020.[17][18][19]

On Wednesday, October 31, 2018, Minister Hussen announced that the Government of Canada has updated its multi-year immigration levels plan, which will see the number of new immigrants in Canada rise to 350,000 newcomers by 2021. This plan will see immigration levels rise by 40,000 more individuals than Canada’s current target of 310,000 immigrants in 2018[20]. The planned increases are set to reflect needs in the economic class of immigration to aid with Canada’s labour shortages, as well as in humanitarian streams of immigration [21].


Hussen has over the years received honours and recognition for his public work. In January 2004, the Toronto Star named him among the 10 individuals who have made significant contributions to Toronto in various fields, including community service, business, sports and science.[4] In 2017, Hussen was presented with the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards, an award that honours the achievements of immigrants who have chosen to make Canada their home.

Hussen was also presented a Queen's Jubilee medal and the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Authority Award for his efficacious advocacy work in Regent Park.[4]

Electoral record

Canadian federal election, 2015: York South—Weston
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Ahmed Hussen 20,093 46.0 +13.2 $82,886.06
New Democratic Mike Sullivan 13,281 30.4 -9.7 $155,467.41
Conservative James Robinson 8,399 19.2 -5.1 $16,183.98
Libertarian Stephen Lepone 1,041 2.4 $202.00
Green John Johnson 892 2.0 -0.8 $455.00
Total valid votes/Expense limit 43,706 100.0     $203,875.44
Total rejected ballots 362 0.82 +0.02
Turnout 44,068 62.63 +9.53
Eligible voters 70,361
Liberal gain from New Democratic Swing +11.45
Source: Elections Canada[22][23]


  1. ^ "HUSSEN, The Hon. Ahmed, P.C." Library of Parliament. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e Porter, Catherine (September 6, 2017). "In Canada, an Immigration Minister Who Himself Is a Refugee". The New York Times. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Community KnewZ, Volume 1, Issue 1, 1 April 2013" (PDF). RPNI. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-01-11. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Ahmed Hussen". American Islamic Leadership Coalition. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  5. ^ "Only a fool would underestimate Justin Trudeau in this year's federal election (archive.org)". Leaders and Legacies. 24 January 2015. Archived from the original on 3 July 2015. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  6. ^ "The Honourable Ahmed D. Hussen MP". Government of Canada. 2017-02-22. Retrieved 2017-04-25.
  7. ^ "National President, Canadian Somali Congress". Yatedo. Archived from the original on 2014-01-13. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  8. ^ "About Us". Canadian Somali Congress. Archived from the original on 31 August 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
  9. ^ "Somali Women Scholarship Program". Canadian International Peace Project. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  10. ^ "Harper Government Reaches Out to Canadian Communities". Public Safety Canada. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  11. ^ "Harper Government Reaches Out to Canadian Communities". Public Safety Canada. Proquest Newspapers. 11 June 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
  12. ^ "Ahmed Hussen - Liberal Nomination - York South Weston". Ahmed Hussen. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  13. ^ "Ahmed Hussen wins YSW Liberal nomination". WestonWeb. Archived from the original on 13 December 2014. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  14. ^ cbc.ca: "", 10 Jan 2017
  15. ^ "Chrystia Freeland becomes foreign minister as Trudeau shuffles cabinet". CBC News. 10 January 2017. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  16. ^ "Freeland promoted to Foreign Affairs, McCallum goes to China in cabinet shuffle". CBC News. Retrieved 2017-01-10.
  17. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/immigration-canada-2018-1.4371146
  18. ^ https://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/punjabi/en/article/2017/11/10/canada-take-1-million-immigrants-2020
  19. ^ https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-02/canada-to-admit-980-000-new-permanent-residents-over-three-years
  20. ^ https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/canada-to-increase-annual-immigration-admissions-to-350-000-by-2021-1.4157933
  21. ^ https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/news/notices/supplementary-immigration-levels-2019.html
  22. ^ Elections Canada – Confirmed candidates for York South—Weston, 30 September 2015
  23. ^ Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine.

External links

  • Ahmed Hussen – Parliament of Canada biography
  • American Islamic Leadership Coalition - Ahmed Hussen
29th Ministry – Cabinet of Justin Trudeau
Cabinet post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
John McCallum Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
January 10, 2017-present
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