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Punjab’s Rachna Paves the Way for a Vibrant Next Gen in Canada

49-year-old Rachna Singh, who has her roots in Punjab has made history by becoming the first South Asian Woman to become Education and Childcare minister of British Columbia (BC) province in Canada. She is the second Punjabi after Moe Sihota to handle the portfolio.

She has been appointed as a minister in the recent reshuffling in BC.

Rachna was married in Jalandhar’s Sehgal family, which owns petrol pumps and gas stations here. Her husband Gurpreet Singh is a Radio Journalist in Canada, and the couple has two children.

In a recent candid interview, Tricity Scoop spoke to Rachna about the days she spent in Punjab, her early beginnings in Canada and her other visionary initiatives!

Tell us a little about your roots from Punjab?

I was born in Delhi. My Nanaji was working in the Russian Embassy at that time. My father is from Bhamipura village (near Jagraon, Ludhiana). My mom’s family had settled in Jalandhar after partition. Both my parents are educators by profession – my father retired as the Professor of Punjabi from Panjab University and my mom from a college near Chandigarh.

When and why did you move to Canada? How has the experience been so far?

I moved to Canada in 2001 along with my husband and 2-year-old son. The initial years were tough as we were starting from scratch. I was very lucky though as I got my first job in my own field. I was a counsellor by profession (I have pursued master’s in psychology from Panjab University). I got the job of telephone counselling with a non-profit in Vancouver. My husband started with a Punjabi Radio station in Surrey (he’s a journalist who has worked with the Indian Express and the Tribune). I got involved with the NDP party very early on, volunteering with them at grassroots. In 2011, I started working with one of the largest trade Unions CUPE. I was approached by the NDP party to run in 2017 provincial elections. I re-ran again in 2020. Before becoming the education minister, I was the Parliamentary Secretary for anti-racism initiatives.

Tell us about your latest feat of becoming the first South Asian Woman Education and Childcare Minister in British Columbia?

I am deeply honoured by this significant appointment and thankful to our Premier David Eby for giving me this opportunity. It means a lot to me and my family as both my parents and sister are teachers. Since my younger daughter goes to high school, it gives me a perspective of being a parent as well. More important is the fact that I stand on the shoulders of our pioneers, who have paved the way for us.

What are some initiatives that you plan to take as a part of your new role?

I have been given a mandate letter by the Premier. Looking forward to working along with the education partners for the best possibilities for our next generation. Also working on an anti-racism action plan so that our schools are safe and inclusive spaces for every child.

Have you ever been to Chandigarh Tricity? If yes, share some fond memories from this place.

Chandigarh is my hometown. I have spent a large part of my life there. I have fond memories of my university days, especially at the Psychology department, student centre as well as the numerous trips to Sector 17 and Hot Millions.

One piece of advice for all the youth who aspire to settle in Canada.

Follow your dreams and passion with dedication and hard work.

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