"I arrived alone in Canada as a youth with only eighty dollars and fifty nine cents in Canadian currency and my suitcase with some personal belongings."
-Mark M. Persaud
Persaud was born in British Guiana (now Guyana) in South America where he grew up and attended high school. He was active in politics as a student and eventually departed to Canada alone as a youth in the early 1980s as a result of civil and political unrest in his country of birth- . He started life in Canada as a homeless youth on the streets of Toronto in winter from where he was rescued by the Scott Mission, a Christian outreach organization.
He attended York University where he read political science. He then attended Osgoode Hall Law School for his Juris Doctor (J.D. in 1991) and Master of Laws (LL.M. in 2006). He also studied at the Center for Study of Values in Public Life at Harvard University.
On June 17th, 2016, he received a Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) honoris causa from the Law Society of Upper Canada. He has also been an educator and mentor to numerous students and young professionals. He taught constitutional and administrative law as an adjunct law professor at the University of Western Michigan Law School.
He was the founder and director of several non-governmental organizations providing advocacy and services organizations for refugees, immigrants and others. Much of his work with refugees was initially funded by the United Church of Canada.
He was called to the Ontario Bar in l993. He worked as a legal counsel and federal prosecutor at the Department of Justice (Canada) for approximately ten years. During this period, he was also seconded to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as legal counsel.
Subsequently, he worked in a private law firm in Toronto where he practised in both civil, criminal and regulatory law before starting the Persaud Law Group in 2011.
In 1986, three years after arriving in Canada, he was nominated and short listed for the Toronto Man of the Year for his work with refugees. He was also the founder, director, advisor and volunteer with non-profit organizations and has won awards and recognitions for his public service. These achievements include the
Alumni Public Sector Law Gold Key award from Osgoode Hall Law School, both the Queen Golden
J Queen Diamond Jubilee medals for leadership and service to Canada. He was nominated by the diplomatic community for the 2006 Seoul Peace Prize and recognized by the The Law Society of Upper Canada as an exceptional lawyer (1941-present) as part of their Lawyers Make History Project.
He has been an active human rights activist for over three decades. He has worked on refugee protection, racial and gender equality and homelessness. He publicly alleged racism and discrimination at the Department of Justice when he was invited to testify before the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights.
Mark Persaud is the founder, director, advisor and volunteer with numerous not-for profit organisations assisting the most vulnerable members of society as well as a committed advocate for fairness and equality. Over the course of his extensive work in the community, he has personally assisted thousands of vulnerable and disadvantaged persons. He is also the Founder and President of the Canadian International Peace Project (CIPP), an organisation that promotes inter-community goodwill through building relationships between diverse national, ethnic, religious, and community organisations. Among its grounding breaking projects internationally and domestically, Persaud initiated the Afghan Mosque Project wherein Canadians of all backgrounds including Christian, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists came together and rebuilt a damaged mosque in Afghanistan post 9/11 as a symbol of Canadian unity and pluralism and a statement that any fight against extremists is should must avoid targeting and stereotyping Muslims and other minorities. The Jewish-Somali Mentorship Project was another ground breaking project initiated by Persaud and the Canadian International Peace Project that was national in scope. It brought together Jewish professionals and Canadian Somali university students to provide mentorship to members of Canada’s largest African diaspora community and one of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.
- “Persaud Law Group”. Persaud Law Group. Retrieved 2016-03-02.
- “Mark Persaud”. www.taaproj ect.com. Retrieved 2016-03-0.
- Woods, .Allan (2007-01-12). “The second defection of a former high-ranking Liberal to the Conservative party in
- “Diversifying the Bar: Lawyers Make History IThe Law Society of Upper Canada”. lRetrieved 2016-03-02.
- “Mark Persaud rocked Justice Canada with his allegations of systemic racism”. Canada.com. Retrieved 2016-03-02.
- Naumetz, “Lawyer tells Senate he was driven out”. wRetrieved 2016-03-02
- Reporter, Paul Lungen, “CIPP leader honoured for humanitarian work – The Canadian Jewish News”. The Canadian Jewish News. Retrieved 2016-03-02.
Current legal career
The Persaud Law Group (PLG) is located in Toronto serving business, professional and individual clients from a wide jurisdiction including North York, Toronto, the Greater Toronto area as well as other parts of Ontario with extensive experience in both large and complex files as well as smaller personal matters.