IRCC Deputy Minister Transition Binder 2019 – Senior Management Biographies

[REDACTED] appears where sensitive information has been removed in accordance with the principles of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

On this page

Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) and Associate Assistant Deputy Minister (AADM) Biographies

Director General (DG) Direct Reports

Assistant Deputy Minister, Operations Sector

Dr. Harpreet S. Kochhar

Dr. Harpreet S. Kochhar was appointed Assistant Deputy Minister of the Operations Sector for Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in July 2017.

Dr. Kochhar 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. Dr. 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.

Prior to joining IRCC, Dr. 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.

As Assistant Deputy Minister of Operations at IRCC, Dr. Kochhar is responsible for the delivery of Immigration, Citizenship and Passport programs across Canada and at 60 different missions/offices abroad. He is 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.

On a personal note, Dr. Kochhar is an active fundraiser for JDRF and contributes to charities such as the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Mental Health Institute, and the Liver Foundation. He has been awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his professional and volunteer contributions, and was recently decorated with the Canada 150 Medal for community services.

Dr. 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 enjoys cooking as well as playing golf, volleyball, and skiing in his spare time.

Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Operations Sector

Mike MacDonald

Mike MacDonald was appointed Associate Assistant Deputy Minister in November 2017 and has held that position in the Strategic and Program Policy Sector as well as currently in the Operations Sector.

An employee of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada since January 2014, Mr. MacDonald has held several roles and contributed to significant initiatives including Operation Syrian Refugees, the Ebola Response and Irregular Migration.

Mr. MacDonald joined the Public Service of Canada in 1997 and has worked at Public Safety Canada (PS), the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP (CPC), the Solicitor General Canada (Sol Gen), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and [REDACTED]. In addition to his responsibilities in various Departments and Agencies, he has worked extensively abroad representing Canada in numerous bilateral and multilateral fora as both Chair and Member of several committees and working groups.

Mr. MacDonald holds a Bachelor of Arts degree [Criminology], Simon Fraser University, 1990, and a Master of Arts degree [Criminology], Simon Fraser University, 1994.

Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic and Program Policy Sector

Natasha Kim

Natasha Kim is acting Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic and Program Policy at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Prior to this, she was Director General of the Immigration Branch at IRCC, which is the branch responsible for policies related to temporary immigration programs and economic and social permanent immigration programs.

Natasha has also served as Director of Operations, Democratic Institutions, at the Privy Council Office (PCO), held various positions at the PCO, Public Safety Canada, and Justice Canada and served as a Law Clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada.

Natasha holds a Master of Laws from Harvard University, a Bachelor of Laws from Dalhousie University and majored in Women's Studies at the University of Alberta.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Corporate Management Sector and Chief Financial Officer

Daniel Mills

Daniel Mills was appointed Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Financial Officer of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in October 2016. Subsequently, M. Mills became the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Corporate Management Sector in January 2019, while maintaining his title of Chief Financial Officer.

An employee of IRCC since 2005, Daniel Mills has held numerous management roles over the years. Among others, he has been Director of Accounting Operations, Director General of Financial Operations, as well as Director General of Financial Management and Deputy Chief Financial Officer.

Mr. Mills has served as a public servant with the federal government since 1994. Aside from his responsibilities at IRCC, he has occupied several positions at the Department of Natural Resources Canada, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages and the Public Service Labour Relations Board.

Daniel Mills is a chartered professional accountant and holds a bachelor's degree in business administration with a specialization in accounting from the University of Sherbrooke. He is also a graduate of the Government of Canada's Career Assignment Program (Educational Component Direxion).

Assistant Deputy Minister, Transformation and Digital Solutions Sector

Zaina Sovani

Zaina Sovani currently holds the position of Assistant Deputy Minister of Transformation, Digital Solutions Sector and Chief Information Officer at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) where she is responsible for leading the department through a major transformational change program focused on improving client experience, operations excellence, digital services delivery and encouraging a new culture of innovation and agility across IRCC. Zaina also holds the position of Chief Information Officer, leading IM/IT strategy and service delivery functions and technologically enabling the business. Her previous role in IRCC was ADM, Corporate Services Sector where she was responsible for HR, Accommodations, IM/IT, Corporate Governance and ATIP.

Over the past 20 years, Zaina has held many executive roles both in the public service and private sector, gaining the reputation of a builder and transformational leader. Past roles include executive positions at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Shared Services Canada (SSC) and the Canadian Commercial Corporation. In addition to her professional achievements, Zaina is actively engaged in the Ottawa community and has served on a number of for-profit and not-for-profit Boards. She has also presented at numerous forums on the topics of leadership and business transformation. Zaina holds a Master's degree in Business Administration from the University of Ottawa.

Director General, Communications Branch

David Hickey

David Hickey has been Director General of the Communications Branch at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) since 2013.

He first joined the department in 2006 as the Director of Strategic Communications. Since then, he has led on a number of significant changes and initiatives, including drastically growing IRCC’s social media presence and increasing the department’s digital presence, which has become a key source of information and services for clients. He has also held positions at Natural Resources Canada and has been a political advisor at both the Provincial and the Federal levels.

Mr. Hickey has a Bachelor of Journalism degree from Carleton University, and worked as a reporter and editor before joining the public service.

Executive Director and Senior General Counsel, Legal Services Unit

Caroline Fobes

Ms. Fobes was appointed Executive Director & Senior General Counsel of the IRCC Legal Services Unit in 2016. The Legal Services Unit is composed of 40 lawyers and paralegals who, in consultation with Justice colleagues in Ottawa and litigation teams across the country, provide all of the day-to-day legal advice to IRCC, including advice on departmental operations, developing new legislation and the conduct of litigation before the courts. Ms. Fobes has spent most of her career in the national security, policing, correctional and criminal law areas. She began her career at Solicitor General Legal, moved to Justice HQ as Special Counsel to the Assistant Deputy Attorney General (Criminal Law), and then returned to Public Safety Legal where she spent several years, including as Deputy Executive Director & General Counsel. Before coming to IRCC Legal, Ms. Fobes was on assignment as Executive Director and General Counsel of Canadian Heritage Legal. She holds a Bachelor of Law degree from Dalhousie University and is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Director General, Internal Audit and Accountability

Mieke Bos

Mieke’s varied international career spans different countries and organizations, beginning in the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where she has held positions within the Dutch Embassy in Ottawa, and at the Ministry in The Hague. From the Ministry she was seconded to and eventually joined the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), with field assignments in Cambodia (large-scale repatriation operation) and Croatia (during the conflict in Former Yugoslavia).

Continuing in the field of humanitarian affairs, she moved to Brussels to join the European Commission’s Humanitarian Affairs Office (ECHO), where she was responsible for the Sudan, the Caucasus countries and Montenegro (dealing with the fall out of the Kosovo conflict).

In 2001, Mieke started working for the Canadian Government. Her first assignment was with the Department of Foreign Affairs, at the Canadian Joint Delegation to NATO in Brussels. From there she moved to the Department of National Defence in Ottawa in 2005. Within DND, she held different positions within the Policy Group and she was the Executive Assistant to the Deputy Minister and Associate Deputy Minister. In 2012, she left DND to work within the Programme Sector of the Treasury Board Secretariat, where she was responsible for the Correctional Service, Canada Border Services Agency and Justice. She returned to the Policy Group in February 2013 as the Deputy Director-General International Security Policy. From December 2014 until October 2016, she worked again at TBS as the Executive Director responsible for National Defence and Citizenship and Immigration. She was appointed Director-General Admissibility Branch – Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees Canada in October 2016. She started her current position in May 2019.

Mieke has a Master of Arts from the University of Utrecht and a post-graduate diploma in International Relations from the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. She is fluent in Dutch, English and French and has working knowledge of Spanish, German and Italian.

Acting Director of the Office of Conflict Resolution

Robyn Holland-Ayoub

Robyn has been with the Office of Conflict Resolution since 2013 and has been a Senior Conflict Resolution Practitioner since 2017. Robyn has brought with her twelve years of experience in informal conflict management and alternative dispute resolution. She also has twelve years of experience as a project coordinator and project manager in the private and non-profit sectors. Expertise includes strong interactive communication, interest-based mediation and group facilitation skills, successfully managing projects within tight deadlines, and providing training in an adult learning environment. Four years’ experience working with international organizations and affiliates, conversational French and Spanish, and strong cross-cultural communication skills and awareness.

Page details

Date modified: