Ahmed Hussen

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Ahmed Hussen
Ahmed Hussen at the Toronto Caribbean Carnival - 2017 (36258275322) (cropped).jpg
Hussen in 2017
Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion
Assumed office
October 26, 2021
Prime MinisterJustin Trudeau
Preceded byBardish Chagger (Diversity and Inclusion)
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
In office
November 20, 2019 – October 26, 2021
Prime MinisterJustin Trudeau
Preceded byJean-Yves Duclos
Succeeded byKarina Gould
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
In office
January 10, 2017 – November 20, 2019
Prime MinisterJustin Trudeau
Preceded byJohn McCallum
Succeeded byMarco Mendicino
Member of Parliament
for York South—Weston
Assumed office
October 19, 2015
Preceded byMike Sullivan
Personal details
Born1976 (age 46–47)[1]
Mogadishu, Somalia
Political partyLiberal
SpouseEbyan Farah
ResidenceVaughan, Ontario
Alma materYork University
University of Ottawa
ProfessionLawyer, activist

Ahmed Hussen PC MP (Somali: Axmed Xuseen; born 1976) is a Canadian lawyer and politician who has been serving as the minister of housing and diversity and inclusion since October 26, 2021. A member of the Liberal Party, Hussen has also sat as the member of Parliament (MP) for the Toronto-area the riding of York South—Weston since the 2015 federal election. He previously served as the minister of families, children and social development from 2019 to 2021 and the minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship from 2017 to 2019. He is the first Somali-Canadian to be elected to the House of Commons and the first to hold a federal Cabinet position.

Early life and education[edit]

Hussen was born and raised in Mogadishu, Somalia. He has five older siblings and his father was a long-distance trucker. Hussen learned to speak English there from a cousin. He and his family left Mogadishu after the Somali Civil War reached their neighbourhood. He described his experience in the civil war: "I was 15 years old when Somalia was going through a civil war. There were chaos and violence everywhere. My parents and I decided that we had no choice but to flee. We gathered a few belongings, got on the back of a big truck with a few other families, left Somalia never to return". 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 moved to Canada as a refugee, when his parents bought him an airplane ticket to Toronto, where two of his brothers had already moved. He initially resided with a cousin in Hamilton, and moved to Toronto in 1994, where he settled in Regent Park in 1996.[2][3]

Hussen completed secondary school in Hamilton. Due to a Canadian government policy that delayed granting permanent residency status to emigrants from Somalia, he had to decline three athletic running scholarships to universities in the United States.[2] Hussen eventually attended York University, where he earned 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, a fellow Somali-Canadian refugee. Together, they have three sons.[2]

Early career[edit]

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 Ontario Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty, then-leader of the province's Official Opposition. Hussen was promoted to special assistant, concurrent with McGuinty's 2003 election as the premier of Ontario. 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 over 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 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]

Political career[edit]

Member of Parliament for York South—Weston[edit]

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.[13] The victory makes Hussen the first Somali-Canadian elected to the House of Commons.[14]

Minister of Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees[edit]

On January 10, 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 of Canada will welcome nearly one million immigrants over the next three years. The number of migrants would climb to 310,000 in 2018, up from 300,000 in 2017. That number was to rise to 330,000 in 2019 then 340,000 in 2020.[17][18][19]

On October 31, 2018, Hussen announced that the Government of Canada had updated its multi-year immigration levels plan, which would see the number of new immigrants in Canada rise to 350,000 by 2021. This plan was to see immigration levels rise by 40,000 more than Canada's target of 310,000 immigrants in 2018.[20] The planned increases were 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]

In a 2018, Angus Reid Institute poll found that Hussen is one of the least popular ministers in Trudeau's cabinet.[22][23]

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development[edit]

Hussen was shuffled to the families, children and social development portfolio following the 2019 federal election.

Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion[edit]

After the Liberals won the 2021 federal election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau kept Hussen in his cabinet, moving him to the housing and diversity and inclusion file.[24]

In August 2022, it was discovered that Hussen's department had given a $133,000 grant to the Community Media Advocacy Centre (CMAC), an organization whose senior consultant has a history of anti-semitism. Fellow Liberal MP Anthony Housefather claims that he told Minister Hussen about the anti-semetic consultant before the news broke, and that Hussen and his department could have moved quicker to cut CMAC's funding.[25][26]


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 Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards,[27] an award that honours the achievements of immigrants who have chosen to make Canada their home.

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

Electoral record[edit]

2019 Canadian federal election: York South—Weston
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Ahmed Hussen 25,976 58.42 +12.45 $96,745.62
Conservative Jasveen Rattan 8,415 18.93 -0.29 none listed
New Democratic Yafet Tewelde 7,754 17.44 -12.95 $55,295.42
Green Nicki Ward 1,633 3.67 +1.63 $1,307.06
People's Gerard Racine 685 1.54 - $2,285.36
Total valid votes/expense limit 44,463 98.72
Total rejected ballots 575 1.28 +0.46
Turnout 45,038 56.75 -4.37
Eligible voters 79,364
Liberal hold Swing +6.37
Source: Elections Canada[28]
2015 Canadian federal election: 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[29][30]


  1. ^ "HUSSEN, The Hon. Ahmed, P.C." Library of Parliament. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d 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 "Community KnewZ, Volume 1, Issue 1, 1 April 2013" (PDF). RPNI. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 11, 2014. Retrieved September 11, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Ahmed Hussen". American Islamic Leadership Coalition. Archived from the original on January 16, 2012. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  5. ^ "Only a fool would underestimate Justin Trudeau in this year's federal election (archive.org)". Leaders and Legacies. January 24, 2015. Archived from the original on July 3, 2015. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  6. ^ "The Honourable Ahmed D. Hussen MP". Government of Canada. February 22, 2017. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  7. ^ "National President, Canadian Somali Congress". Yatedo. Archived from the original on January 13, 2014. Retrieved August 11, 2013.
  8. ^ "About Us". Canadian Somali Congress. Archived from the original on August 31, 2013. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  9. ^ "Somali Women Scholarship Program". Canadian International Peace Project. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  10. ^ "Harper Government Reaches Out to Canadian Communities". Public Safety Canada. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  11. ^ "Harper Government Reaches Out to Canadian Communities". Public Safety Canada. Proquest Newspapers. June 11, 2012. ProQuest 1019871597.
  12. ^ "Ahmed Hussen - Liberal Nomination - York South Weston". Ahmed Hussen. Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  13. ^ "Ahmed Hussen wins YSW Liberal nomination". WestonWeb. Archived from the original on December 13, 2014. Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  14. ^ cbc.ca: "", January 10, 2017
  15. ^ "Chrystia Freeland becomes foreign minister as Trudeau shuffles cabinet". CBC News. January 10, 2017. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  16. ^ "Freeland promoted to Foreign Affairs, McCallum goes to China in cabinet shuffle". CBC News. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  17. ^ Harris, Kathleen; Hall, Chris; Zimonjic, Peter (November 1, 2017). "Canada to admit nearly 1 million immigrants over next 3 years". CBC News. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
  18. ^ McCarthy, Preeti (November 10, 2017). "Canada to take 1 million immigrants by 2020". SBS. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
  19. ^ Lam, Eric (November 2, 2017). "Canada to Admit Almost a Million Immigrants Over Next Three Years". Bloomberg. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
  20. ^ Politics. "Canada to increase annual immigration admissions to 350,000 by 2021 | CTV News". Ctvnews.ca. Retrieved April 5, 2022.
  21. ^ Please select all that apply (October 31, 2018). "Notice – Supplementary Information 2019-2021 Immigration Levels Plan". Canada.ca. Retrieved April 5, 2022.
  22. ^ "Federal Cabinet Ratings: A happy new year for Freeland; Hussen, Sohi face cold winter". Angus Reid Institute. December 14, 2018. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  23. ^ "Justin Trudeau: Three challenges facing him in 2019". BBC News. January 3, 2019. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  24. ^ "Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion Mandate Letter". Prime Minister of Canada. December 14, 2021. Retrieved September 26, 2022.
  25. ^ Lévesque, Catherine (August 30, 2022). "Ottawa to conduct 'extensive review' of anti-racism funding after Laith Marouf scandal". National Post. Retrieved September 26, 2022.
  26. ^ Jarvis, Noah (August 24, 2022). "Liberal MP claims he warned Hussen of antisemitic consultant before news broke". Retrieved September 26, 2022.
  27. ^ RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards
  28. ^ "List of confirmed candidates". Elections Canada. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
  29. ^ Elections Canada – Confirmed candidates for York South—Weston, 30 September 2015
  30. ^ Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]

29th Ministry – Cabinet of Justin Trudeau
Cabinet posts (3)
Predecessor Office Successor
Bardish Chagger (Diversity and Inclusion) Minister of Housing, Diversity and Inclusion
October 26, 2021 – present
Jean-Yves Duclos Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
November 20, 2019 – October 26, 2021
Karina Gould
John McCallum Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
January 10, 2017 – November 20, 2019
Marco Mendicino