Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, today announced the appointment of Hassan Yussuff, Bernadette Clement, and James Quinn as independent Senators to fill vacancies for Ontario and New Brunswick.
“Ms. Clement, Mr. Yussuff, and Mr. Quinn are exemplary public servants and community leaders who have dedicated their careers to making a difference in the lives of others. I look forward to working with them, and all Senators, as we continue to fight the global COVID-19 pandemic, take steps toward our recovery, and build back a more resilient and inclusive Canada for everyone,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Mr. Yussuff is one of Canada’s most experienced labour leaders, and the first person of colour to lead Canada’s union movement. He recently concluded his second term as the President of the Canadian Labour Congress.
He is also the past President of the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas, an international organization that represents more than 55 million workers in 21 countries. Mr. Yussuff has received numerous leadership awards, as well as honorary doctorates from two universities.
After emigrating from Guyana, Mr. Yussuff worked as a truck mechanic with General Motors for 10 years before getting involved in the labour movement.
In 1988, he joined the Canadian Auto Workers union as the National Staff Representative, and later became their first Director of Human Rights. In 1999, he became Canadian Labour Congress’s first person of colour elected to an executive position, as Executive Vice-President.
He went on to be elected as Secretary-Treasurer for three terms, from 2002 to 2014, before being elected President in 2014. He was re-elected in this role in 2017.
Mr. Yussuff has been a recent recipient of the Pearson Centre Progressive Leadership Award. He has also received honorary Doctorate of Laws from Brock University and Ryerson University.
Ms. Clement is a lawyer, the Executive Director of the Roy McMurtry Legal Clinic, and current Mayor of Cornwall, who has devoted much of her life to the betterment of the city. Through various professional and volunteer leadership roles, she has served many members of her community, including newcomers, women fleeing violence, and people with developmental disabilities. She is also a tireless advocate for injured workers, and the first Black woman to serve as mayor in Ontario.
Mr. Quinn is a certified public and management accountant, and the current President and Chief Executive Officer of the Saint John Port Authority. He previously led an extensive and distinguished career in the public service, including as the Chief Financial Officer at the Canadian International Development Agency. He is the Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel for the 3rd Field Artillery Regiment (The Loyal Company), 5th Canadian Division. Mr. Quinn has received several awards for his financial leadership – most notably the inaugural Award of Excellence for Comptrollership in the Public Sector.