Afraj Gill is a Canadian immigrant, community activist, youth mentor, and technology entrepreneur.
Afraj was born in Chandigarh, India and immigrated to Canada at age 8. He is raised by two hard-working middle-class immigrants — his father, a son of Indian peasants who devoted his life to serving people with developmental disabilities, and his mother, a lifelong schoolteacher with an unwavering dedication to public education.
His upbringing in a strong family—one that emphasized education and hard work as a means to get ahead—coupled with his parents’ commitment to community service, led him to develop an early passion for volunteerism and activism.
Over the past ten years, Afraj has helped start and serve immigrant services organizations, led multiple youth-focused groups to help enrich the lives of young Canadians, and led many grassroots awareness campaigns focused on issues ranging from prostate cancer and anti-bullying to the environment and natural disasters. Before age 18, he helped raise thousands of dollars for organizations like the Heart and Stroke Foundation and Canadian Cancer Society.
After graduating from Queen’s University with the help of student loans and the university’s Chancellor’s Scholarship, Afraj was hired to lead Strategy & Operations initiatives for Polar Inc., a Toronto-based technology startup backed with $14 million in venture capital and with a growing team in Canada, US, UK, and Australia. He is also a member of Venture for Canada’s Advisory Board, a national nonprofit organization that is working to build a more inclusive and prosperous Canada through encouraging entrepreneurship.
Afraj’s work on education and technology has appeared in The Globe and Mail, Business Insider, and the Thomas Nelson Publishing Company. He also gave a TEDx talk on education. In 2017, Afraj sought the Federal Liberal nomination in Markham-Thornhill, to become Liberal Party of Canada’s candidate for Member of Parliament in the April 2017 by-election.
For his community service work, Afraj was awarded the Sovereign's Medal and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Governor General of Canada. In 2013, he was also named the youngest recipient of British Columbia’s Community Achievement Award. In 2008, Afraj was presented a Medal of Merit by the late Douglas (Duke) Warren, a World War II Ace Pilot, on behalf of Canada's Army, Navy, and Air Force Veterans.
Previously, Afraj worked at Google’s global headquarters on a pre-launch project and co-founded and led two technology companies. To further his passion for education advocacy, he served as an elected Senator of Queen’s University, where he determined matters of academic character affecting 23,000+ students.
An aviation enthusiast, Afraj is a licensed glider and private pilot. He was presented his private flight wings by the former President of Canadian Space Agency and Canada’s Chief of Defence Staff, General Walter Natynczyk.