Arif Virani was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Parkdale—High Park in 2015 and was re-elected in 2019. Arif was appointed by Prime Minister Trudeau as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, and has served in this role since 2018.
In his first mandate, Arif also served as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, (2015-2017) helping welcome over 50,000 Syrian refugees to Canada. He was then appointed the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Heritage (2017-18), where Arif worked on Multiculturalism, restoring Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy, and co-developed with First Nations, Inuit and Metis leaders Canada’s first-ever Indigenous Languages legislation.
Arif is an Ismaili Muslim, whose family roots trace back to Gujarat, India. He came to Canada in 1972 as a Ugandan Asian refugee and has spent his career prior to elected office as a constitutional litigator, advocating for human rights and access to justice. Arif has worked as an Analyst with the Canadian Human Rights Commission, an investigator at la Commission des droits de la personne in Montréal, and as an Assistant Trial Attorney prosecuting genocide at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Arif has carried his passion for equity and inclusion into his work as a Parliamentarian—he is a strong voice in the House of Commons in defence of domestic and international human rights, in the fight against systemic racism, and in his role as Chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Tibet.
Arif was one of the founding Board members of Toronto’s legal aid clinic SALCO, the recipient of the 2001 Harold G. Fox litigation scholarship at the Middle Temple, London, UK, and the 2008 Wilson-Prichard Award recipient at the University of Toronto in recognition of his contributions to the legal profession and his community. In 2017, he received the South Asian Bar Association’s award for legal excellence.
Arif lives in Parkdale—High Park and has served as an active community volunteer. He is a supporter of the Redwood Shelter for abused women, has regularly helped at the Parkdale Food Bank, and led community efforts to address mental health stigma. Arif continues to volunteer with Roncyworks and the Sorauren Park Hosers, flooding the local rink.
Arif has an Honours B.A. in History and Political Science from McGill and completed his LL.B. at the University of Toronto, where he graduated as Valedictorian. Between degrees Arif spent a year working in Ottawa with 2 MPs under the Parliamentary Internship Programme.
Arif speaks English, French, and some Hindi. His Tibetan, Polish and Ukrainian are works in progress. He is happily married and the devoted father and coach of two young and very active boys.