Sikh veterinary expert now president of Public Health Agency of Canada


By Asia Samachar | Canada |

Canada’s former chief veterinary officer Dr. Harpreet Singh Kochhar has been appointed as the president of the Public Health Agency of Canada effective today (12 Oct 2021).

The agency is part of the federal health portfolio. Its activities focus on preventing disease and injuries, responding to public health threats, promoting good physical and mental health, and providing information to support informed decision making.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his appointment in a statement on Friday (Oct 8).

Harpreet, a veterinarian by training, was previously the assistant deputy minister of the Operations Sector for Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) since 2017. Here, 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 came on board as associate deputy minister of health on April 1, 2020.

Before joining IRCC, Dr. Harpreet was Associate Vice-President of Operations at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) from 2015 to 2017. He was responsible for delivering inspection services across the country as well as managing more than 4,000 employees.

He was appointed the Chief Veterinary Officer for Canada in January 2014 and had served as Canada’s Ddlegate to the World Organization for Animal Health. Dr. Kochhar was responsible for managing several high profile cases, including the official response to Canada’s largest beef recall (XL foods) to ensure the safety of Canada’s food supply.

Dr. Kochhar started his career by practising veterinary medicine as a small animal veterinarian in South Western Ontario. He also was Assistant Professor at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College. He has a Master’s Degree in Veterinary Science from Punjab Agricultural University and a Ph.D. in Animal Biotechnology from the University of Guelph.

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 was 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.

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


Boeing appoints Kuljit Ghata-Aura as regional president (Asia Samachar, 1 Oct 2021)

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