The Pandemic and Beyond: Perspectives from Chief Administrative Officers in the GTA
Regional governments in the Greater Toronto Area face historic challenges. The unprecedented pressures caused by the COVID-19 crisis built upon growing and perennial issues such as housing affordability, infrastructure and transit development, inclusive growth and refugee resettlement. The post-pandemic environment requires a careful examination of the state of play now, including in fiscal terms and in terms of what is going well and what needs to be the focus of future policy initiatives.
Chief administrative officers (CAOs), as the most senior public servants in the GTA’s regional governments, are at the forefront of efforts to grapple with all of these issues, and others
On Tuesday, December 6, 2022, the CAOs of York, Peel and Durham regions outlined their current fiscal situations and provided a fiscal outlook. They explored their region’s COVID-19 response, and set out some future goals, including in the context of complex intergovernmental relationships across the GTA and with the provincial and federal governments.
Janice Baker has held a variety of senior roles in the municipal sector since 1987 and is currently serving as the Chief Administrative Officer for the Region of Peel. From 2005 to May 2020, she served as Mississauga’s City Manager and CAO. She has received a number of awards including the 2020 Vanier medal from IPAC, is a member of the Women’s Executive Network Top 100 Hall of Fame and holds the designation of FCPA, FCA.
Elaine Baxter-Trahair is the Chief Administrative Officer for The Regional Municipality of Durham, a community on the eastern edge of the Greater Toronto Area with a population of about 700,000. Elaine has more than 30 years of experience in the public and not-for-profit sectors, including as Director of Toronto Waterfront Revitalization, General Manager for Toronto Children’s Services and Interim Deputy City Manager for the City of Toronto.
Bruce Macgregor has spent 14 years as Chief Administrative Officer for the Regional Municipality of York where he has overseen services to more than 1.2 million residents across nine local municipalities. Following early experience in the private-sector, he has served in senior roles in upper and lower-tier municipalities. Bruce has driven enduring changes in the delivery of critical infrastructure and programs, advancing longer-term perspectives and multi-year budgeting while fostering leadership strengths throughout the organization.
Drew Fagan is a professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. Drew was previously Ontario’s Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Deputy Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, with responsibility for the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games. With the federal public service, he was an assistant deputy minister at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in Ottawa. He also worked at The Globe and Mail, including as parliamentary bureau chief and Washington correspondent. He received his ICD.D designation from the Rotman School of Management in 2017.