Deputy Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Dr. Harpreet S. Kochhar


Photo of Dr. Harpreet S. Kochhar

Dr. Harpreet S. Kochhar became Deputy Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship on January 27, 2024.

Before this appointment, Dr. Kochhar served as the president of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), a position he had held since February 2023. He had previously been the president of the Public Health Agency of Canada since October 2021. He joined the Health Portfolio in 2020, when he was appointed to the role of associate deputy minister of Health, becoming an integral player in Canada's COVID-19 response.

Before joining Health Canada, Dr. Kochhar served as assistant deputy minister of the Operations Sector for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), where he led the delivery of the immigration, citizenship and passport programs across Canada and at missions and offices abroad. He was also responsible for the implementation of key strategic projects for IRCC, including the Passport Modernization Initiative, Predictive Analytics, and the transformation of IRCC's operational delivery model.

Previous to this, Dr. Kochhar was associate vice-president of Operations at the CFIA from 2015 to 2017, and was Canada's chief veterinary officer and Canada's delegate to the World Organisation for Animal Health. He was responsible for delivering food inspection services across the country as well as managing thousands of employees. During his tenure at the CFIA, Dr. Kochhar managed several high-profile cases to protect the safety of Canada's food supply, including the official response to Canada's largest beef recall (XL Foods).

Dr. Kochhar started his career by practising veterinary medicine in Southwestern Ontario. He holds a Master of Veterinary Science and a PhD in Animal Biotechnology from the University of Guelph, where he was also an assistant professor at the Ontario Veterinary College.

On a personal note, Dr. Kochhar is an active fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and contributes to charities such as the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Liver Foundation. In 2012, Dr. Kochhar was honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his professional and volunteer contributions, and in 2017 he was awarded the Canada 150 medal for community services. He was also included in the Maclean’s 2022 list of the top 50 influential Canadians.

In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, as well as golf, volleyball and skiing.

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