Senator Leo Housakos was born and raised in Montreal after his parents immigrated to Canada from Greece in the late 1950s in the hope of finding better opportunities.
He is a proud graduate of McGill University with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science.
Senator Housakos engaged in politics and public service at a very young age. He has been a life-long activist and an involved member of the political process at the municipal, provincial and federal levels.
His varied experience in the private sector includes the presidency of Terreau, a company specializing in composting, the presidency of Quadvision International, a company focused on communications and strategic planning, and the vice-presidency of sales at Constant Laboratories, a manufacturer of industrial chemical products.
A proud Canadian of Hellenic origin, he has actively served several organizations in his community. Among his many achievements, he is the co-founder of the Hellenic Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.
His more than 25 years of experience in business, politics and community service led to his appointment to the Board of Directors of Via Rail where he served the interests of Canadians between 2007 to 2008.
Leo Housakos was appointed to the Senate of Canada by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on December 22, 2008. Over the years he has been a member of several committees.
As Deputy Chair of the Senate Committee on Transport and Communications, he has been instrumental in spearheading comprehensive studies on the Canadian broadcasting industry (Time for Change: The CBC/Radio-Canada in the Twenty-first Century) and on the state of airports and the aviation sector in the country (The Future of Canadian Air Travel: Toll Booth or Spark Plug).
In 2014, he was elected Speaker pro tempore and became Speaker on May 4, 2015 with unanimous support from Government and Opposition Leaders in the Senate. During his tenure as Speaker, the Senate faced some of its greatest challenges since confederation.
In 2015, Senator Housakos had the honour of addressing the Inter-Parliamentary Union conference of speakers at the United Nations in New York City. As a member of the Senate Committee of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, he continues to be a strong advocate for parliamentary diplomacy.
As Chair of the Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration – a position he holds to this day – he and his colleagues have lead the efforts in modernizing the administration, creating a more transparent, efficient and accountable senate for Canadians. Together with his colleagues on the Subcommittee on Communications, he has reshaped the Communications Directorate to enhance the links between the institution and the people it serves.
His proudest accomplishment to date however continues to be his family. Senator Housakos has been married to Demi Papapanagiotou for more than 24 years and together they have two teenage sons, Peter and Tasso.