John Filion, Councillor for Ward 23, has been a Willowdale homeowner since 1978. He has held elected office continually since 1982, first as a member of the North York Board of Education for nine years, including four years as Chair (1987-1990). In 1991, John was elected as a Councillor for Ward 11 in the former City of North York. With amalgamation in 1998, John was elected to the new City of Toronto Council.
John sees cities as a collection of neighbourhoods which need to be supported and protected. He believes in keeping residents informed and involved in decision making. John maintains an office in North York Civic Centre and spends much of his time dealing with local issues.
John has also held many leadership positions, including being Chair of the Toronto Board of Health for all but three of the past 10 years. His initiatives include banning smoking in Toronto’s restaurants and bars, for which he received the Queen’s Jubillee Award in 2002. He also introduced the Dine Safe restaurant rating system, and implemented the bylaw to stop the cosmetic use of pesticides.
As Chair of the Toronto Planning and Transportation Committee, John introduced reforms to provide more community involvement in the planning system. While on the Board of Education, he started non-profit, parent-operated child care in North York schools.
John’s current initiatives include the introduction of new healthy street food to reflect the city’s ethnic diversity, its fabulous cooks and chefs, and its entrepreneurial spirit. He is also heavily involved in preparations to protect the public in the event of an influenza pandemic.
In addition to being Chair of the Board of Health, John is a member of the Planning and Growth Management Committee, North York Community Council, the Toronto Centre for the Arts Board, and the Toronto Pandemic Influenza Advisory Group.
John is a past member of the Toronto Police Services Board, the Toronto Zoo Board, the Community Services Committee and the Economic Development Committee. As a member of North York Council, he chaired the Parks & Recreation Committee, the Environment Committee and the North York Board of Health.
Before entering politics, John was a journalist with the Toronto Star and North York Mirror, and was founding editor of the Canadian Global Almanac. He has an Honours B.A. from York University.