Modernizing Immigration in Canada

Modernizing Immigration in Canada

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This free virtual event is made possible by Amazon Web Services (AWS) Canada. Learn more about AWS cloud computing.

Date: Wednesday, May 12, 2021
Time: 12:30-1:30pm EST
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Many in the business community agree that accelerating pathways to immigration is critical to enabling Canada’s economic recovery. At the same time, the federal government is investing significantly in digital transformation projects throughout its departments and agencies to ensure that Canadians, and those seeking to become Canadian, are able to access the services they need more quickly and efficiently—especially during this pandemic.

How can Canada become a world leader in creating a modern immigration system? Our panel will discuss how the government, our tech sector, and nonprofits can work together to meet immigration targets and ensure we fully leverage our innovation potential.


Marco Mendicino | Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship | Government of Canada

The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Eglinton—Lawrence in 2015.

Minister Mendicino is a proud resident of Toronto and a passionate advocate for his community. During his first term, he championed local investments in public transit and in affordable housing and supported youth-driven programs aimed at creating more employment opportunities and safe spaces.

Before entering politics, Minister Mendicino served as a federal prosecutor for nearly 10 years, helping to fight against organized crime and bring terrorists—including members of the “Toronto 18”—to justice. He also worked at the Law Society of Ontario, was elected President of the Association of Justice Counsel and taught trial advocacy as an Adjunct Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School.

The son of an immigrant family, Minister Mendicino has a long track record of community activism in Eglinton—Lawrence. He has sat on numerous boards, volunteering at John Wanless Public School, COSTI Immigrant Services, Toronto Symphony Volunteer Committee, North Toronto Soccer Club, and Heart & Stroke Canada.

Minister Mendicino lives in Toronto with his wife and children.

Welcome Remarks:

Nicole Foster | Director for Global AI/ML and Canada Public Policy | AWS 

In this role, Nicole Foster focuses on issues related to emerging technology, digital modernization, cloud computing, cyber security, data protection and privacy, government procurement, economic development, skilled immigration, workforce development, and renewable energy policy. Prior to joining AWS in 2018, Nicole led the Toronto office for Global Public Affairs, providing senior public affairs counsel to clients. Before joining Global in 2004, Nicole worked for a number of years in political roles in Ottawa. Nicole is the immediate Past National Chair of Equal Voice, a multi-partisan group dedicated to raising the issue of women's under-representation in Canadian legislatures.


Khadija Waseem | Young Thinker in Residence, Partner Strategy and Product Development | MaRS Discovery District 

Khadija Waseem is a national youth advocate, grassroots community mobilizer, and techy passionate about intersectional change. She has a background in Finance and Strategy from Rotman Commerce, the University of Toronto. 

Through the span of her budding career, Khadija has worked as a part of the Prime Minister's Office policy team, Marketing Specialist at Google, Aide to Deputy Mayor of Toronto, Ana Bailao, Strategist at #movethedial, an AI Fellow and Analyst at Diversio, and as a published research coordinator at the Rotman School of Management. Her key topics of interest and expertise lie in exploring the importance of intersectionality in the realms of technology, and sustainable strategic planning. 

Khadija has made notable contributions to youth nationally as a Canadian youth delegate to the United Nations, a Daughter of the Vote with Equal Voice, Director on the G(irls) 20 Girls on Boards Steering Committee, and formerly in her role as a Toronto Youth Reconciliation Leader with the Canadian Roots Exchange (CRE). 

She currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Club of Toronto, as well as Trinity Theatre, an organization empowering racialize and marginalized youth voices.


Caroline Xavier | Associate Deputy Minister | Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Caroline Xavier was appointed Associate Deputy Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada in February 2020.

Prior to this appointment, Ms. Xavier held the position of Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet, Security and Intelligence at the Privy Council Office, as of June 2017. Between 2007 and 2017, she has also occupied numerous key positions within the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), including Vice-President and Associate Vice-President of the Operations Branch.

Before joining the CBSA, she held executive positions with the Communications Security Establishment Canada, Industry Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency.

Ms. Xavier has been with the public service for over 30 years.

Caroline is a graduate of the University of Ottawa (Bachelor’s Degree in Administration, concentration in marketing and informatics) and of the Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia (Executive Master’s degree in Electronic Commerce).

Born in Montreal, Quebec, Caroline is also the proud daughter of parents who immigrated from Haiti.  She is also the proud mother of two young professional women, Kyla and Dominique

Yasir Naqvi | Chief Executive Officer | Institute for Canadian Citizenship

Yasir Naqvi is the Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC), Canada's leading voice on active citizenship and inclusion. Prior to joining the ICC, Mr. Naqvi served as a Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for almost 11 years, representing a downtown, urban and diverse community in Ottawa, Ontario. In that time, he served as the Attorney General of Ontario, Government House Leader, the Minister of Labour, and the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. A first-generation Canadian, Mr. Naqvi is recognized by his peers as a strong community leader. He is the 2019 recipient of the Lincoln M. Alexander Award from the Law Society of Ontario.

Zahra Jadavji | Managing Director, Technology Health & Public Service Lead/Managing Director, Inclusion and Diversity in Canada  | Accenture

Zahra Jadavji leads Accenture’s Technology practice for the Health and Public Service industry in Canada and is also the Managing Director of Inclusion and Diversity in Canada. She holds more than 20 years of progressive experience leading large-scale, complex, business transformation engagements involving integration, alignment and implementation of technology and information systems. Zahra strives to further Accenture’s inclusion and diversity commitments in the workplace which includes fostering an exceptionally inclusive culture, building diverse leadership and client teams, and reaching and sustaining overall gender balance in Canada. She holds an MBA from Simon Fraser University and a Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering and Management, from McMaster University.

Passionate about community involvement, Zahra has taken on causes close to her heart such as youth development, health and social programs for seniors and various women’s leadership initiatives. In 2017, she was recognized by the province of Ontario with the Leading Women Building Communities award for her contribution in mentoring the diverse population of women within her community.