By RON FANFAIR
A Rhodes Scholar is Ontario’s third Black deputy minister. Chisanga Puta-Chekwe has been appointed Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and Deputy Minister with responsibility for Women Issues.
Puta-Chekwe is currently on a leave of absence from his duties as Chair of the Social Benefits Tribunal where he has served since 2004. Prior to joining the Tribunal where he was also the chief executive officer, Puta-Chekwe was the founding chair and CEO of the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal for six years up until 2004.
A graduate of Sir William Borlase School in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, England, Puta-Chekwe successfully pursued law studies at the University of London. He holds a Master of Laws degree and Bachelors and Masters in philosophy, politics and economics from the University of Oxford.
A former solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales and an Advocate for the High Court of Zambia, he was a partner in the firm of Lloyd, Jones and Collins in Zambia from 1980-1986. He also served as vice-president of Meridien International Bank in London and worked as an international development consultant, mostly with the Canadian International Development Agency in Ottawa.
He was an adjudication officer and United Nations observer support officer monitoring the South African election and, in 1996, served as election supervisor in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Puta-Chekwe spent six years with the province’s Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, serving as a part-time member from 1991 to 1994 and as chair of the Board for three years up until 1997. He also held the post as executive director of Oxfam Canada for a year.
The new Deputy Minister is currently the country manager for First Quantum Minerals in Zambia where he has responsibilities for government liaison, negotiations and policy development.