Second Annual IMFG Address by Regional CAOs
Driving Public Value Together: Regional Perspectives on Infrastructure and Housing
How does regional governance enable or constrain efforts to tackle the pressing challenges of housing and infrastructure? In this second annual IMFG address by regional Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs), the CAOs of Durham, York and Peel provided their perspectives on the role and effectiveness of regional governments, and the efficiencies and value that they can drive by working together. They also discussed how they are addressing the housing crisis across the spectrum – from housing the homeless population to market housing – as well as the underlying infrastructure needed to serve that housing and broader community needs.
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. She has more than 30 years of experience in the public and not-for-profit sectors, including as Director of Toronto Waterfront Revitalization, General Manager-Toronto Children’s Services and Interim Deputy City Manager for the City of Toronto. Elaine’s experience is complemented by a Bachelor of Education and a Master of Business Administration.
Erin Mahoney is Chief Administrative Officer of The Regional Municipality of York. Reporting to the York Region Chairman and CEO and York Regional Council, the CAO oversees more than 5,000 staff delivering comprehensive services to York Region’s more than 1.2 million residents and 55,600 businesses. Prior to her appointment as CAO in September 2023, Erin served as York Region’s Commissioner of Public Works and Commissioner of Environmental Services. Erin’s experience spans more than 35 years in operations and executive management. Erin holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from Memorial University of Newfoundland and a Master of Engineering from the University of Western Ontario.
Gary Kent is the Chief Administrative Officer of Peel Region, overseeing all staff, service delivery, social and infrastructure investments and delivering essential services and infrastructure to 1.5 million residents and 175,000 businesses. Through progressively senior roles, including CFO at Region of Peel and Mississauga, he was central to managing the community impacts of COVID-19, negotiated the very first Municipal Airport Authority Agreement with Toronto Pearson and Mississauga, and co-chaired the update of Mississauga’s Strategic Plan. Gary previously worked in the UK as the Finance Manager for a large private sector transit company and was also the CEO of Enersource Corporation. A graduate of Glasgow Caledonian University, he is a Fellow with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA) and a CPA, CGA.
Shirley Hoy is a Senior Advisor at StrategyCorp and a Board Member at IMFG. She has had a distinguished public service career, including serving as Toronto’s City Manager and as Assistant Deputy Minister with three Ontario ministries. Over the course of her career, she has held many policy- and planning-related positions, including Commissioner of Community and Neighbourhood Services for the City of Toronto, where she provided leadership on services including homes for the aged, housing and support, public health, social assistance, and parks and recreation. She also served for five years as CEO of the Toronto Lands Corporation.