Mobina Jaffer was born in Uganda and educated in both England and Canada. She holds a bachelor of laws degree (LL.B.) from London University in England and completed the Executive Development Program at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C. She was the first East Indian woman to practice law in British Columbia.
Ms. Jaffer’s record of achievement is extensive and she has been noted for her work in the areas of equality and justice for women of colour, and the struggle to end violence against all women.
Her appointment to the Senate in 2001 represented many changes on Parliament Hill: she became the first Muslim to sit in the Canadian Senate. She is also the first African born Senator, and the first Senator of South-Asian descent. She wears these honours with pride, and her time in the Senate has focused on issues involving immigrant communities and minority women, as well as human and language rights. She has also worked extensively on anti-terrorism and social cohesion issues Canada has faced since September 11th.
Senator Jaffer assumed the Deputy Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights in the fall of 2007. Currently she also serves on the Senate Standing Committee on Official
Languages, as well as the Special Senate Committee on Anti-Terrorism.
The Senator also offers her wealth of expertise to the Senate Standing Committee on Internal Economy and Budgets as well as the Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament.
Special Envoy to the Peace Process in Sudan
One of Senator Jaffer’s most noted and valued contributions in public office to-date was role as Canada’s Special Envoy to the Peace Process in Sudan. She served in this capacity from 2002-2006. As the Special Envoy, Senator Jaffer worked with the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Sudanese and Diplomatic communities to assist the people of Sudan in the search for peace.
Women, Peace and Security
Other notable public office achievements include her work as Chair of the Canadian Committee on Women, Peace and Security. She served in this capacity from 2002-2005. She approached this position then, and still holds the belief now, that the key to peace is the inclusion of women in the peace process, as outlined in United Nations Resolution 1325. As the then Chair of this committee, she held roundtables on racial profiling, finding peaceful solutions to middle-east warring, and the plight of Afghani and Iraqi women. She was also able to bring women to the Darfur peace process.
Senator Jaffer’s involvement in Human trafficking goes back to 2005 when she sponsored the first legislation in Canada dealing with Human Trafficking. The legislation amended the Criminal Code to prohibit the trafficking of persons and provided essential tools for the RCMP to combat human trafficking in Canada.
Recent focus on Human Trafficking has been about ensuring that Canada is properly prepared to cope with conditions of human trafficking associated with Vancouver hosting the 2010
Olympics. The Senator has expressed concerns about issues of forced labour occurring in the construction industry leading up to the Games.
Senator Jaffer brings her background in Immigration Law to issues of forced labour and the exploitation of temporary foreign workers in Canada.
The Liberal Party of Canada
Mobina has been very involved with the Liberal Party of Canada in various over the years. She sought election to the House of Commons in federal general elections for the constituencies of North Vancouver in 1993 and Burnaby-Douglas in 1997. She often speaks to women’s groups about the importance of political activism and the under-representation of women in public
Throughout her years with the Liberal Party, Senator Jaffer served as the Vice-President (English) of the Liberal Party of Canada, and as the President of the National Women’s Liberal Commission. Rounding out her Political Party contributions is time spent on the Board of Liberal International. She has also spent time as Chair of the management board of the International Network of Liberal Women.
Senator Jaffer has supported and worked with a wide-range of local community-based organizations. Some of which include the YWCA of Canada, the Aga Khan National Conciliation and Arbitration Board. She has also served as a honourary patron of St. James Foundation.
Mobina Jaffer has also worked with the Mainstream Association for Proactive Community Living, and the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies and Research. Her strong commitment to community stems from her believe that it takes the concerted efforts of a community for change and progress to occur.