George Smitherman has 30+ years of experience in public life as a grassroots organizer and community activist, an elected official, and senior advisor at the local, provincial and federal level. Most recently a candidate for Toronto Mayor, he previously served as Ontario’s Deputy Premier. Elected 3 times as the Member of Provincial Parliament for Toronto Centre, he served in both oppositions and on the McGuinty Government’s front bench. During his time in Cabinet, he was responsible for the allocation of more than $250 billion. He was one of Ontario’s longest serving Ministers of Health and Long-Term Care, holding the portfolio from 2003-2008. Widely viewed as the most transformative health minister in a generation, he brought drug spending and hospital budgets under control while at the same time dramatically reducing medical wait times to the lowest in Canada. His tenure brought significantly improved access to doctors and nurses. Ontario’s Family Health Team model, which serves more than 3 million Ontarians, was pioneered during this period.
In 2008, he was appointed Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, where he shepherded the passage of Ontario’s Green Energy and Green Economy Act, internationally recognized as a leading piece of renewable energy legislation, and which has allowed Ontario to emerge as North America’s renewable energy leader, producing billions of dollars in new investment and thousands of green energy jobs.