Jenifer Eelin Aitken

Jul 30, 1962 - Jul 07, 2023

It is with breaking hearts that we send the sad news that Jenifer Eelin Aitken, our beloved daughter, mother, wife, sister, aunt, and dear friend to so many, died suddenly on Sunday the 9th of July. As some small comfort, she was allowing herself a rare break from working and taking care of others, delighting with her husband Hanif, for their 25th wedding anniversary celebration at the Five Lakes Club, where their family had spent many glorious times. In her final moments, she exclaimed how perfect it was.
Jeni, daughter of Don and Jo, brought so much love, generosity, kindness and sacrifice to all who were fortunate to be in her orbit.
A devoted daughter and wife, a second mother and confidante to many (including her brother Thomas and his wife Kate, sister Melanie, and nephews Jake and Thomas), she was a constant source of strength, comfort, and sound advice. A safe port for all who knew her, her generosity for anyone in need knew no bounds. But above all else, Saj and Meg, her two children, were her sun and moon, her joy, her reason to be.
Everyone who worked with Jeni knew her exceptional analytical mind, prodigious work ethic, exacting judgment, and profound humility. Jeni attended University of Toronto Schools, graduating at 16, and headed to Trinity College, then U of T Law School. Jeni distinguished herself in academics, moot courts, and her capacity to form and nurture lifelong friendships. Jeni moved to Torys for several years, taking a (most fortuitous) break to study at the London School of Economics, where she met her warm, life, and Jeni-loving husband, Hanif.
After working at Herbert Smith and Arnold & Porter in London, she and Hanif returned to Canada with their firstborn, Saj, where together they built a life, rich in love and friendship. They soon after welcomed with great joy their daughter Meg-just about nine months after that power outage of 2003! In Ottawa, Jeni worked first at Borden Ladner Gervais, and then at the Department of Justice, taking on successively greater responsibilities at Industry Canada, Heritage, Treasury Board and Finance. It was in her last role as Assistant Deputy Minister for the Central Agencies Portfolio at the Department of Justice, where she was the principal legal advisor to the Department of Finance, that it felt to those who for so long admired her, that Jeni finally found the peace she had always deserved, confident in the value of her exceptional contribution to the country she loved so much.
Jeni delighted in her friends and family. She touched people—in all corners of her life—in a special way. We know so many are grieving with us today. Although a host of people relied upon her, she always found time to gather, hike, travel and explore. A testament to her love for Hanif, Jeni, not much caring for athletics, learned to love skiing, kayaking, biking and adventures hiking the West Coast Trail and in the UK, and New Zealand.
Jeni was selfless in her service to her community. Dear to her heart, Jeni served as Clerk of Session at Glebe St. James United Church, giving unstintingly of her faith, empathy, time, and talent.
From childhood to maturity, Jeni lived for the benefit of others, and perhaps that is why we lost her far too soon. She deserved to spend many more summers at her cherished Prince Edward Island, finally relaxing a bit, warmed by the knowledge of the incredible young man and woman she raised, with her devoted husband, and basking in the love of friends and family. We mourn the loss of our beloved Jeni, celebrating with gratitude the lasting gifts she gave to so many.
A service of thanksgiving for the extraordinary gifts Jeni brought to all she touched will be held on Saturday, July 22, at Glebe St. James United Church – 650 Lyon Street South in Ottawa at 11:00 am. The service will be followed by a reception in the Church, one that she considered a second home, and to which she gave selflessly and with grace. For those who are unable to attend in person but want to join in the celebration of our dear Jeni, a live stream will be available and can be watched from the following link
If desired, we know Jeni would be touched by contributions to the Glebe St. James outreach fund, or a charity that means something to you.



  1. Alix, David and Bea Dees July 21, 2023 at 8:41 pm - Reply

    Hanif, Meg and Saj, you are constantly in our thoughts. We both find it hard to believe that we will not be blessed again with Jeni’s delightful presence; her humour, her intelligence and her warmth. We both remember meeting her for the first time in London, when Jeni was Hanif’s date as we four went out to see Henry the Fifth. We were delighted that you two became a couple. As two couples we got married in the same year, 25 years ago, and Saj and Bea were born around the same time. We missed you very much when you moved back to Canada but remember our trip to visit the Williams House and PEI very fondly. On your stop overs in the UK it was always as though no time had elapsed at all. Thank you so much for going out of your way to visit on your last UK trip, we appreciated seeing you, Jeni and Meg very much. We hold you close in our thoughts and in our hearts, now and in the weeks to come.

  2. Robert Fallenbuchl July 19, 2023 at 5:08 pm - Reply

    Dear Hanif and family,
    Words are not enough. Please know that on behalf of everyone here you have our deepest sympathies. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  3. Michael Galvin July 19, 2023 at 11:17 am - Reply

    My heartfelt condolences to Hanif. Saj, Meg and all of Jeni’s family and friends. A beautiful obituary summing up a life clearly well lived but taken away far too soon. Jeni clearly made a huge contribution to the many lives she touched. God be with you all ‘til you meet again.

  4. Julia Deans July 17, 2023 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    My heart goes out to Hanif, Saj and Meg, and all of Jenifer’s family and other friends on the loss of this very special person. I was lucky to work with Jeni as a student and junior lawyer at Torys and we have kept in touch ever since with holiday cards and family news, and meeting up in London and Ottawa. Jenifer combined a tremendous intellect with such a genuine interest in everything and everyone around her. These qualities served her well as she moved through different settings and I always looked forward to hearing what was coming next. I will miss her and keep Hanif, Saj and Meg in my thoughts.

  5. Todd Cannell July 17, 2023 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    Hanif and family,
    I am so sorry for your loss. While we only met recently for the first time, Jenny’s kindness and generosity was evident immediately. While it is a terrible loss, the world is a better place for having had her in it.

  6. Susan, Chris, and Anna de Haan July 15, 2023 at 2:59 pm - Reply

    Jeni was my friend and ski buddy, and nurturing friend Mom to my daughter Anna.

    She, like me, was a cautious, still practicing type skier….Meg and Anna would whoosh by us, and we’d be…. Nope. We’re going slow !! 😂😂😂
    I followed her down many ski hills in her tracks. She was a calm, reassuring presence. I am going to miss her very much. Hugs to Hanif, Meg, Saj, and Jo.

  7. Sleem & Annabel Feroze July 15, 2023 at 1:46 am - Reply

    Shocked and saddened by this sudden loss. We remember her with Melanie as little girls at Coach House Mississauga and then as grown women. Our thoughts go to Hanif, Jo, Meg & Saj and the rest of the family, who we will meet in Toronto, Rest in Peace our beloved.

  8. Peter Andrews July 14, 2023 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    Hanif and family,

    My deepest condolences on the loss of such a significant individual in your lives. While I only met Jennifer, once I vividly remember her energy, warmth and kindness when were were hosted for dinner at your home.
    I hope with the passage of time the grief and sorrow you must be feeling now will be softened by the fond memories of your time together.

    My sympathies to all,

    Peter Andrews

  9. Peter Andrews July 14, 2023 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    Hanif and family,
    My deepest condolences on the loss of such a significant individual in your lives. While I only met Jennifer, once I vividly remember her energy, warmth and kindness when were were hosted for dinner at your home.
    I hope with the passage of time the grief and sorrow you must be feeling now will be softened by the fond memories of your time together.
    My sympathies to all,

    Peter Andrews

  10. Mary Jackson July 14, 2023 at 4:10 pm - Reply

    Jen was a senior associate when I was a very junior associate in litigation at Torys. She was such a lovely and smart woman. I recall how kind and generous she was with me. She was someone that was truly memorable because of her compassion and intellect.

    My deepest condolences to her family and close friends. Although we have not kept in touch, she just was someone that I have such fond memories of. I was lucky to have known her even if it was a short while.