Dr. Harpreet S. Kochhar to be Canada’s New Deputy Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Dr Harpreet S Kochhar
Dr Harpreet S Kochhar
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Dr. Harpreet S. Kochhar

On Jan 12, 2024, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, announced changes in the senior ranks of the public service in the country. Dr. Harpreet S. Kochhar, currently President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, is slated to become the Deputy Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, effective January 27, 2024.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is the department of the Government of Canada with responsibility for matters dealing with immigration to Canada, refugees, and Canadian citizenship. Canada has had a minister responsible for immigration for much of its history due to the importance of immigration to its economy and society. A minister in charge of immigration is crucial to ensuring Canada continues to meet its immigration policy goals. Aside from welcoming over 400,000 new immigrants per year, IRCC and the immigration minister are also tasked with facilitating the arrival of hundreds of thousands of new temporary foreign workers, international students, and visitors each year. Moreover, they also process hundreds of thousands of Canadian citizenship applications annually. All told, IRCC and the immigration minister are playing an increasingly important role in shaping the direction of Canada's economy and society.

Earlier on October 2023, Minister Justin Trudeau had announced that Dr. Harpreet S. Kochhar, who has been Associate Deputy Minister of Health since April 2020, will take over as President of the Public Health Agency of Canada on October 12, 2020.

In July 2017, Kochhar was appointed Assistant Deputy Minister of the Operations Sector for Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) where he was responsible for the delivery of Immigration, Citizenship and Passport programs across Canada and at 60 different missions/offices abroad. He was also leading key strategic projects for the sector, including the Passport Modernization Initiative, Predictive Analytics, and a major transformation of IRCC’s operational delivery model.

He joined IRCC from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), where, as Associate Vice-President of Operations, he was responsible for delivering inspection services across the country as well as the management of over 4,000 employees.

He has served as Canada’s Chief Veterinary Officer, as well as Canada’s Delegate to the World Organization for Animal Health. Kochhar was responsible for managing several high profile cases while at CFIA, including the official response to Canada’s largest beef recall (XL foods) in order to ensure the continuing safety of the Canadian food supply, according to a profile on a federal government website.

Prior to joining IRCC, Kochhar was Associate Professor at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College. He also practiced veterinary medicine as a small animal veterinarian in South Western Ontario.

Kochhar is a veterinarian by training (DVM) and has a Master’s Degree in Veterinary Science (MVSc) as well as a Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Animal Biotechnology from the University of Guelph.

He earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Veterinary Science from Punjab Agricultural University.



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