Rathika Sitsabaiesan was elected Member of Parliament for the Toronto riding of Scarborough–Rouge River on May 2, 2011. She is seeking a fresh mandate to continue fighting for you as part of Tom Mulcair’s NDP team—in the newly redrawn riding of Scarborough North.
As Ontario’s youngest MP and Canada’s first of Tamil descent, Rathika has distinguished herself through her extensive community work and bold advocacy for social justice issues. Causes close to her heart include poverty reduction, affordable housing, access to education, employment equity, immigration, and the preservation of Tamil language and culture.
Rathika was recently named deputy critic for Heritage in the NDP Shadow Cabinet. She previously served as critic for Post-Secondary Education and as vice-chair of the national NDP caucus from 2012–2014.
Rathika has been a strong and effective voice for Scarborough. Her constituency office has directly helped over 800 constituents with federal casework. Her motion to eliminate child poverty was passed by the House of Commons with near-unanimous support.
She fought for the creation of Rouge National Urban Park—and remains a strong local and national voice for the protection of Rouge Park and its ecosystem when it becomes Canada’s first urban national park. She has also introduced legislation to protect the Rouge River and to officially designate January as Tamil Heritage Month.
Voted “Best Local MP” by NOW Magazine readers in 2012 and 2014, Rathika was also the recipient of the V. K. Krishna Menon Institute's "Personality of the Year Award" in 2012 for her efforts on human rights issues in Sri Lanka and outstanding leadership in her constituency.
Rathika was born in Sri Lanka and came to Canada with her family at age five. Her political, social and cultural consciousness took shape early on in her life as her parents have been community activists who worked towards the advancement of Tamil culture in Canada.
Rathika became involved with the NDP as a volunteer in the 2004 federal campaign and was a campaign manager in the 2008 election. In 2010, late NDP leader Jack Layton appointed Rathika as his advisor on Tamil issues to help draft the NDP’s resolution on truth, justice and accountability in Sri Lanka.
Rathika earned her Bachelor of Commerce degree from Carleton University and obtained her Master’s Degree in Industrial Relations from Queen’s University.