Dr. Zaheer Lakhani came to Canada in 1977 as a stateless ex-Ugandan whose family lost their homes and businesses as a result of an edict of the then President, Idi Amin, expelling all Ugandans of Asian origin. Zaheer was a medical student at the University of Leeds, England, at that time. Unable to return to Uganda after becoming a doctor and working in the UK for two years, he chose to come to Canada with his wife, Salma, a graduate in Clinical Biochemistry from the University of Manchester.
On completing his postgraduate training in Cardiology, his chosen field of practice as a hospital consultant since 1983, Dr. Lakhani served in many different positions as a volunteer. He was Chairman of the growing local Ismaili Muslim Community (1979 to 1984), President of the Edmonton Multicultural Society, and initially a member and then, for three years, Chair of the Edmonton Police Commission. He is the Founding President of the Canadian Association of Police Governance and was recognized by the organization in 2015 with the Emil Kolb award for founding this body, which has grown into an invaluable forum for promoting civilian oversight of policing organizations across Canada today.
Dr. Lakhani also served as Chair of the Cross-cultural Roundtable on Security for three years, reporting to the Deputy Prime Minister/Minister responsible for Public Security and Emergency Preparedness at that time, and after that was appointed to serve on the Advisory Council on National Security to the Canadian Government, a term he completed in 2012.
Zaheer is a past-member of the University of Alberta’s Senate during which time he served as Chair of the Senate’s Task Force on the International Dimensions of the University of Alberta as well as Co-chair of the Visiting Committee to the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine. He is a Past President of the Edmonton Academy of Medicine (1995). Other areas of community engagement have included serving as a Board member of the Edmonton Community Foundation, the United Way Capital Region, and AMREF Canada. He is a Past Chair of the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation.
In his capacity as a Rotarian, Zaheer has for over two decades coordinated a program sending doctors and nurses to various countries in East Africa where he himself spent a year doing voluntary work in Tanzania (1996-97). He is a regular visitor to hospitals in East Africa as an Examiner for two medical schools.
Zaheer has given frequent keynote addresses and has been an invited conference speaker at many events, including the Multicultural Education Foundation's Annual Breakfast event, the Mahatma Gandhi Annual Dinner, and events by policing organizations, including at a symposium on Public Security by the Conference Board of Canada.
For his voluntary work, he has received numerous awards including the Queen Elizabeth II Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals, the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee (Alberta) Medal, and Rotary’s much respected Service Above Self Award. During 2005 centennial celebrations, he was recognized by the Alberta Medical Association as one of Alberta's Top 100 Doctors of the Century. In 2006, he was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada.
Dr. Lakhani is a Clinical Professor with the Department of Medicine at the University of Alberta and practices at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton and the Sturgeon Community Hospital in St. Albert.