In 2001, Dr. Gulzar Cheema was elected to represent the riding of Surrey-Panorama Ridge for the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. On June 5, 2001 he was appointed Minister of State for Mental Health. His appointment marked the first time in the Commonwealth that a minister had been made solely responsible for mental health. He was appointed Minister of State for Immigration and Multicultural Services on January 20, 2004.
Dr. Cheema was also a member of the Legislative Assembly in Manitoba for five years and served as critic for health, labour, housing, native affairs, sport and co-operatives, and consumer and corporate affairs.
Before his election to the British Columbia Legislative Assembly, Dr. Cheema was a family doctor in Surrey. He has practiced medicine in rural Manitoba and in Winnipeg and was a clinical instructor in the Punjab before coming to Canada in 1979. His special interests include neonatology, psychiatry, psycho-geriatrics and geriatrics.
He received his bachelor of medicine and surgery from India's Punjab University, interned at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, and was a resident at Saskatoon's University Hospital. He is fluent in Punjabi and Hindi, and understands Urdu.
Dr. Cheema and Harinder Cheema have lived in the Surrey area since 1993. They have two children.