York University has a reputation for preparing engaged global citizens who have an impact in communities around the world. Many of our graduates go on to make significant contributions in local, provincial and federal government as elected officials.
Below we spotlight some of our outstanding alumni who are making a different in all levels of government. This spotlight list is updated with new alumni twice each year.
The Honourable Ahmed Hussen Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and MP, York South–Weston
BA ’02; Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Born and raised in Somalia, Ahmed immigrated to Canada in 1993 where he settled in Regent Park and quickly gravitated towards public service. In 2002, he co-founded the Regent Park Community Council and was able to secure a $500 million revitalization project for Regent Park, all while ensuring the interests of the area’s nearly 15,000 residents were protected. Ahmed also served as the National President of the Canadian Somali Congress – a Somali community organization that works with national and regional authorities to advocate on issues of importance to Canadians of Somali heritage and strengthen civic engagement and integration. His results-driven reputation led to an invitation to join the task force for modernizing income security for adults in the Toronto City Summit Alliance.
Ahmed is fluent in English, Somali, and Swahili, and earned his Bachelor of Arts (History) from York University and his Law Degree from the University of Ottawa. In 2004, the Toronto Star recognized him as one of ten individuals in Toronto to have made substantial contributions to his community.
The Honourable Helena Jaczek
Minister of Community and Social Services and MPP, Oak Ridges–Markham
MBA ’94 Schulich
Minister Jaczek has served as the Parliamentary Assistant to the Ministers of the Environment, Health and Long-Term Care and Health Promotion and has also served on many Standing and Select Committees, including the Select Committee on Mental Health and Addictions. She has previously served as Caucus Chair, and is currently the Vice Chair of the Health, Education and Social Policy Cabinet Committee.
Minister Jaczek holds a medical degree and Master of Health Sciences from the University of Toronto, certification from the Canadian College of Family Physicians and Canadian College of Health Service Executives and an MBA from the York University’s Schulich School of Business.
After many years in general practice on staff at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, Dr. Jaczek became the Medical Officer of Health and Commissioner of Health Services for The Regional Municipality of York where - for 18 years - she had responsibility for public health, land ambulance and long-term care for more than 1 million people.
Minister Jaczek’s involvement with numerous health and community organizations has earned her prestigious awards from the University of Toronto’s Public Health Sciences Alumni association, the Association of Local Public Health Agencies and York Region. In 2016, Dr. Jaczek received the Ontario Psychological Association Public Service Award and the Ontario Medical Association, Life Membership Award. And in April 2017, she was awarded the Helen Keller Award by the Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons and the Canadian Hellen Keller Centre for the contributions she has made to hearing and visually impaired Ontarians.
His Worship John Tory
Mayor of the City of Toronto
LLB ’78 Osgoode
As a lawyer, talk show host, businessman, Member of Provincial Parliament and Leader of the Official Opposition at Queen’s Park, and finally as Mayor, he has long believed that the diversity of Toronto is its strength. As Mayor, John’s focus will be on bringing the city together as One Toronto.
Among Mayor Tory’s top priorities are tackling transit and traffic congestion. He is focused on taking action to reduce commute times so Toronto residents can get to work on time and home to their families sooner. Mayor Tory is also getting to work on Toronto’s transit crisis by getting on with the Scarborough subway and beginning work on the SmartTrack line, a 53 kilometre, 22 station surface subway that would provide all day, two-way service across the city and bring needed relief to the congested Yonge subway.
The early years of Mayor Tory’s career were spent practicing law in Toronto, and he was later elected as a managing partner of one of Canada’s biggest law firms. In the 1980’s he served as Principal Secretary to Premier Bill Davis and as Associate Secretary of the Ontario Cabinet. In September 2004, Mayor Tory was elected leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. In 2005, as PC Party Leader, Mayor Tory would serve as the Leader of the Official Opposition at Queen’s Park.
Born on May 28, 1954, Mayor Tory is a lifelong, and long-suffering, Toronto Maple Leafs fan. Mayor Tory and his wife Barbara have been married since 1978. They raised their four children, John Jr, Chris, Susan and George in Toronto.
This page features York University alumni who are elected officials within Canada’s Federal and Provincial governments. We also include elected officials from the City of Toronto and York Region. If you know of an individual that should be added to this list, please submit their name using this form.