About this Speaker
Senator Salma Ataullahjan immigrated to Canada in 1980 from Pakistan. She settled in Toronto with her husband, Saleem, and two daughters, Anushka and Shaanzeh and was appointed to the Senate of Canada in 2010.
Senator Ataullahjan serves as Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights and as a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Further, she has served on the Standing Senate Committees for Banking, Trade and Commerce, Fisheries and Oceans, Agriculture and Forestry, Aboriginal Peoples and National Finance.
The Senator served as President of Canadian Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) from 2013-2015, where she played a critical role in a landmark resolution on maternal, newborn and child health, the first time a resolution of its kind was adopted by the IPU. Because of this, she was named IPU’s Goodwill Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. Since 2017, the Senator has served as Vice-President of the Canadian Group of the IPU. Additionally, she is a member of the Bureau of Women Parliamentarians and President of the IPU Committee on Middle East Questions.
Senator Ataullahjan is committed to issues affecting women, youth and the world’s most vulnerable. In her work with the Human Rights Committee, she has championed numerous studies on topics such as women’s engagement in Afghanistan, cyberbullying of children and youth, working conditions of garment workers in developing countries and the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Canada.
As the first Canadian Senator of Pakistani origin, Senator Ataullahjan is active in Canada-Pakistan community relations and has traveled coast to coast meeting with members of the Canadian-Pakistan community. In the wake of the 2011 flood relief in Pakistan, Senator Ataullahjan played a key role in Canada’s financial assistance to Pakistan. In 2013, she hosted a reception along with the End of Polio Campaign in celebration of Canada’s leadership toward the fight against Polio.
In her spare time, Senator Ataullahjan values spending time with her family and friends, traveling and painting. She is a member of the Senate Artwork Advisory Council and her artwork is displayed throughout her office on Parliament Hill.