Maryam Monsef is the Member of Parliament for Peterborough-Kawartha, and Canada’s Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development.
Maryam was elected to represent the riding as a Liberal member of the House of Commons in October 2015. The first Afghan-Canadian in Canadian parliamentary history, she was named Minister of Democratic Institutions, becoming one of the youngest Canadians to ever be appointed to a Ministry, and the first Muslim to serve in Cabinet. She also holds the distinction of being of the first woman elected as Peterborough-Kawartha’s Member of Parliament.
On her 29th day as Minister, Maryam was at the forefront of changing how Canadians become a part of the Senate. She announced the establishment of the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments, a non-partisan body guided by public, merit-based criteria, in order to identify Canadians who would make a significant contribution to the Senate. So far, the Advisory Board has led to more than 40 independent, meritorious appointments.
After Maryam was sworn in as Minister of Status of Women in January 2017, she introduced Canada’s first-ever Strategy to Prevent Gender-Based Violence. She led the transformation of the Status of Women from a federal agency to a full-fledged government department, the Department for Women and Gender Equality (WAGE), for the first time since it was created more than 40 years ago. That means more support for women’s groups and organizations than ever before. In addition, she worked with the Finance Minister on Budget 2018 which was the first ever to go through a full gender-based analysis. Maryam has served as a member of the Cabinet Committee on Reconciliation, as well as the Cabinet Committee on Growing the Middle Class and Inclusion. She also served on the Ad Hoc Cabinet Committee that worked to welcome more than 50,000 Syrians fleeing civil to war to Canada.
In addition to her role as Minister for Women and Gender Equality, she served as Minister of International Development from March to October 2019. On December 13, 2019 she was appointed Canada’s Minister of Rural Economic Development.
Since being elected, Maryam has secured more than $250 million in federal funding investments for projects in Peterborough-Kawartha including major transit upgrades, broadband infrastructure, Trent University’s Bata library and Cleantech Commons, and the Canadian Canoe Museum, in addition to announcing $600 million for upgrades to the Trent-Severn Waterway. In line with her commitment to do politics differently, she has hosted more than 40 roundtables and town halls with people in the community.
Maryam has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Trent University. She has worked at Trent, as well as Fleming College. She ran for mayor of Peterborough in 2014 and has worked with local organizations including the YWCA of Peterborough and Haliburton Board of Directors, the Ontario Public Interest Research Group, and the New Canadians Centre. Maryam is multilingual speaking English, Farsi and Dari, and continues to work on her French.
Maryam has called Peterborough home since 1996. She takes pride in doing politics differently and serving the community that has supported her and her family.