Office of the Chairman and CEO
Chairman Wayne Emmerson is currently serving his third term as Chief Executive Officer for The Regional Municipality of York. Head of Regional Council and ex-officio member of all committees, Chairman Emmerson was elected by members of Regional Council to serve for the 2022 to 2026 term.
2022 to 2026 Term of Regional Council – Chairman’s Inaugural Address
Thursday, November 17, 2022
Thank you, Members of Council.
It is an honour to once again be entrusted with the responsibility of leading York Regional Council.
I am incredibly proud of the progress we have made over the past eight years and I remain committed to working with each and every one of you to continue building a strong, caring, safe York Region.
The last term of York Regional Council was unlike any before it.
In early 2020, we faced a global pandemic that brought business, the community and our economy to a grinding halt.
In response, a state of emergency was declared for the first time in York Region’s 51-year history.
Through the guidance of Regional Council and our Medical Officers of Health, York Region launched a coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic that balanced the health and safety of residents with the economic interests of local businesses.
The measures put in place by York Region, including mandatory masking, aggressive case and contact management, outbreak management and targeted enforcement helped protect our communities and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
At the same time, Council continued to move forward on critical programs and projects that set the foundation for the future health and prosperity of our communities.
In 2021, the Government of Canada committed to 40 per cent of the capital funding costs of the Yonge North Subway Extension.
This commitment, combined with provincial agreements, paved the way for York Region to move forward on our top transit priority.
Key investments in broadband connectivity helped expand the YorkNet fibre network to bring high-speed internet to thousands of underserved households and businesses across the Region.
These investments, along with countless other initiatives led through Council, allows us to build the infrastructure required to connect our residents to high-value jobs, community services and high-quality education.
The work accomplished by this Council positions York Region as the best place in Ontario to live, work, raise a family and do business.
Looking ahead, we have our work cut out for us.
We enter this term of Council in a time of global economic uncertainty and in the face of a recession. Interest rates are rising and life is becoming increasingly less affordable for our residents.
This means more and more individuals and families will rely on us for essential programs and services.
York Region has declared a housing affordability crisis and we must work with all levels of government to address this crisis in a way that makes sense for our communities and maintain a level of fiscal responsibility.
Bill 23 is one of the first challenges this Council faces.
The sweeping changes proposed in this legislation will impact the ways in which our municipalities finance growth and could potentially hinder our collective goal of building more affordable housing.
While the task may seem daunting, our Council has a strong history of working in partnership with all levels of government to advance the priorities of our residents.
Over the last term of Council, we successfully advocated to keep our public health unit within the geographical boundaries or York Region.
We stood strong in our support of the Regional’s two-tier government structure as the most effective means to deliver critical infrastructure and services.
We will continue to work with partners at all levels of government to support local planning decisions and ensure the financial burden of growth-related infrastructure does not sit with our existing taxpayers.
The issues of affordable housing, broadband connectivity, economic development, transportation and growth will continue to be top priorities for our residents.
It is our job to continue working towards these critical issues while also collaborating with other levels of government to address the post-pandemic recovery of our communities, global economic inflation and other important areas of focus.
Once again, I thank this Council for putting your trust in me.
Together we will continue to build the York Region future generations will want to call home.
The Regional Chair attends events and meetings on behalf of The Regional Municipality of York. The Photo Gallery below contains some images from these meetings and events. View the Submit A Request area for more information on how to invite the Regional Chair to your event.
Chairman Wayne Emmerson is a fifth-generation resident of The Regional Municipality of York. He was re-elected to a third term as Chairman and CEO at the Inaugural meeting of York Regional Council for the 2022 to 2026 term.
Chairman Emmerson has more than three decades of political experience, including his role as Mayor for the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville for 17 years. Focused on getting results, his experience and leadership is well-respected across York Region and all levels of government.
As Chairman and CEO of The Regional Municipality of York, he is committed to ensuring York Region remains a destination of choice for residents to live, work and play.
Throughout his tenure at the helm of Regional Council, Chairman Emmerson has continued to support and advocate for Regional Council’s top priorities, including safe and reliable transportation options, a vibrant and thriving local economy, broadband connectivity and affordable housing.
Chairman Emmerson is dedicated to making significant progress towards building the kind of communities we want future generations to inherit. Part of this progress is through the 2017 launch of the new TTC Line 1 Subway extension into York Region, a monumental moment for York Region’s residents who welcomed the first subway network outside of the City of Toronto in 40 years.
In 2021, Chairman Emmerson championed a historic 40% federal capital funding commitment for the Yonge North Subway Extension, paving the way for York Region to move forward on this top transportation priority. An infrastructure project of this magnitude will bring thousands of jobs and additional housing options for more than 85,000 residents. It will continue to support the economic vitality of communities, help address gridlock and help achieve our commitment to achieving net zero green house gas emissions by 2051.
The Chairman’s pledge to offer stronger broadband now and for the future resulted in the establishment of YorkNet, a Region-owned corporation that plans, builds, operates, manages and maintains a high-speed, dark fibre network across York Region. Bolstered by a $63 million federal investment, YorkNet will further expand the Region’s dark fibre network to more than 5,000 underserved homes and businesses during this term of Council.
Through strong leadership and advocacy for the residents and businesses of York Region, Chairman Emmerson is continuing to build a York Region residents want to live in, businesses want to invest in and future generations want to call home.
His leadership provides a long-term outlook for York Region and aims to encourage and celebrate the efforts of residents and our local cities and towns. This includes York Region’s continued success with waste diversion programs by diverting more than 90% from landfills, setting out a course of action to best support the aging population over the next 10 to 20 years with the vital Seniors Strategy and putting the tools in place to enhance community safety and well-being.
In his capacity as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of York Region, he is an ex-officio member of all Regional Committees. He is Chair of the York Regional Police Services Board, CEO of the York Region Rapid Transit Board, Chair of the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, Co-Chair of Toronto Global and a member of the Board of Directors for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
Chairman Emmerson has also served as a board member for several organizations, including Markham-Stouffville Hospital, GTA Mayors’ Committee and the Greater Toronto Services Board (2001).
Working with York Regional Police, the Toronto Region Conservation Authority, various celebrities and other community agencies and organizations, he was instrumental in the development of York Region’s Community Safety Village, a nationally recognized interactive educational facility where children learn about fire, traffic and personal safety.
In 2012, Chairman Emmerson was honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. This commemorative medal serves to honour his significant political contributions.
Prior to becoming Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville Mayor in 1994, he was a Town Councillor from 1988 to 1994.
Chairman Emmerson is the sixth Chairman and CEO in the 51-year history of The Regional Municipality of York.
Regional Chair - Roles and Responsibilities
In the Province of Ontario, Regional Chairs are responsible for chairing Council for the province’s Regional municipalities. As head of Council, the Regional Chair acts as Chief Executive Officer of the municipal corporation, as legislated by section 225 of the Municipal Act.
Regional Council is comprised of 22 members, including the Regional Chair, Mayors from each of the nine local municipalities and twelve Regional Councillors:
- Markham: Four
- Vaughan: Four
- Richmond Hill: Two
- Newmarket: One
- Georgina: One
The Regional Chair is responsible for:
- Putting forth motions and voting on items during Committee of the Whole meetings (as is the case with all members of Regional Council, the Regional Chair has one vote as it relates to Regional issues)
- Opening and presiding over Regional Council meetings and may vote on issues in the event of a tie
- As Head of Council, can declare an emergency under section 4 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act
- Serving as an ex-officio member of all Regional Committees and acting as a member of the York Regional Police Services Board and York Net and Chief Executive Officer of the York Region Rapid Transit Board
- Under section 225 of the Municipal Act, as Head of Council, provide information and recommendations to Council on its roles to:
- Ensure that administrative policies, practices and procedures are in place to implement Council’s decisions
- Ensure the accountability and transparency of the municipality’s operations, including the activities of its senior management
- Acting as the primary spokesperson on public issues and is York Region’s representative both within and outside the municipality
- Acting as the head of the institution for the purpose of access and privacy under the Municipal Freedom of Information Protection of Privacy Act
- Upholding and promoting the purposes of the municipality
- Promoting York Region locally, nationally and internationally
- Participation in and fostering activities that enhance the economic, social and environmental well-being of York Region and its residents
Regional Chair Statements
A listing of Regional Chair Statements are archived on york.ca/newsroom
Invite the Regional Chair to an Event
Individuals and organizations wishing to invite the Regional Chair to an event must submit a formal request using the online form below.
Separate requests are required for congratulatory letters and greetings.
Please note, due to a busy schedule and other obligations, the Chairman is not able to accept every invitation.
Request a Letter of Greeting or Congratulatory Message
To request a Letter of Greeting or Congratulatory Message, please use the request form below.
The request should be submitted a minimum of four weeks ahead of the deadline.
Letters of Greeting are issued to institutions, organizations, businesses or individuals for the following events and milestones taking place in York Region:
- Birthdays, anniversaries, retirements
- Conventions and festivals
- Region-wide sports tournaments
- Cultural celebrations
- Charity fundraising galas/events
- Significant awards programs
Letters of Greetings from the Chair are issued at the discretion of The Regional Municipality of York.
They cannot be issued for:
- Matters of political controversy, ideological or religious beliefs, or individual conviction
- Events or organizations that do not contribute to the economic, social and cultural vitality of York Region
- Anything that contravenes Regional policies or bylaws
Provincial and Federal Greetings
To request greetings from the Queen, the Governor General, the Prime Minister, the Lieutenant Governor or the Premier of Ontario, contact their offices directly:
Office of the Regional Chairman and CEO
York Region Administrative Centre
17250 Yonge Street
Newmarket, ON L3Y 6Z1
Phone: 1-877-464-9675 ext. 71100
York Region Chief of Staff
1-877-464-9675 ext. 71101
York Region Corporate Communications
1-877-464-9675 ext. 71234
Regional Programs and Services