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Canadian Women Mayors

Canada’s three largest cities, Toronto, Montréal and Calgary, are governed by women mayors. Among the country’s 100 largest cities, 21 have female mayors*


December 2023: In Canada cities and towns are considered creatures of provincial and territorial governments, existing by provincial and territorial legislation. Provinces and territories can create, modify, or eliminate a municipality as they see fit such as amalgamations and the creation of regional governments. They also dictate the limits of the powers of municipal governments.


Women mayors in Canada from top left: Olivia Chow (Toronto), Valérie Plante (Montréal), Jyoti Gondek (Calgary), Marianne Meed Ward (Burlington), Bonnie Crombie (Mississauga), Kate Rogers (Fredericton)


Canada three largest cities, Toronto, Montréal and Calgary, are governed by women mayors. Women are also in charge in Mississauga, Hamilton and Surrey. Among the country’s 100 largest cities, 21 have female mayors. The Province of Ontario has seven municipalities with women at the helm. Six cities in Quebec have female city leaders. Some 16 of the 21 Canadian women mayors were elected since 2020 and are thus in their first term of office. The longest serving mayor is Mississauga’s Bonnie Crombie, who took over from Hazel McCallion, who served as mayor from 1978 to 2014.


Canadian provinces with female mayors

Ontario: Toronto, Mississauga, Hamilton, Burlington, Whitby, Waterloo, Cambridge

Quebec: Montréal, Gatineau, Longueuil, Sherbrooke, Saguenay, Brossard

Alberta: Calgary

British Columbia: Surrey, Victoria

Saskatchewan: Regina

Nova Scotia: Cape Breton

New Brunswick: Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton


Female mayors of the 100 largest Canadian cities*

Toronto, Ontario

Popl: 2,794,000 (National rank 1)

Olivia Chow, Mayor since July 2023

Party / Politics: Independent / NDP (Social Democratic)

Notes: Born 1957 in Hong Kong. Member of Parliament 2006 to 2014. Degree in fine art from University of Guelph. Worked as artist and still paints. In 1991, elected to the Metropolitan Toronto Council. Contested the 2014 Toronto mayoral election but only came third behind John tory and Doug Ford. Was elected Mayor of Toronto 26 June 2023.

 

Montréal. Quebec

Popl: 1,763,000 (National rank 2)

Valérie Plante, Mayor since November 2017

Party / Politics: Projet Montréal (Progressive, environmental)

Notes: Born 1974. Degrees in anthropology and museology from the University of Montreal. Elected Montreal city councillor in 2013. Elected Mayor of Montreal in November 2017 and re-elected in November 2021. Leader of Projet Montréal since 2016.

 

Calgary, Alberta

Popl: 1,307,000 (National rank 3)

Jyoti Gondek, Mayor since October 2021

Party / Politics:

Notes: Born in 1969 in London, England. Degree in criminology and sociology from the University of Manitoba. Calgary city councillor from 2017 to 2021. Elected mayor in October 2021.

 

Mississauga, Ontario

Popl: 718,000 (National rank 7)

Bonnie Crombie, Mayor since December 2014.

Party / Politics: Ontario Liberal Party (centre-left)

Notes: Born in 1960. Degree in political science and international relations from University of Toronto. Member of Parliament from 2008 to 2011. Elected mayor in 2014 and re-elected in 2018 and 2022. Announced stepping down as mayor in early 2024.

 

Hamilton, Ontario

Popl: 569,000 (National rank 10)

Andrea Horwath, Mayor since November 2022

Party / Politics: Ontario New Democratic Party (Social democratic)

Notes: Born 1962. Degree in industrial relations from McMaster University. Hamilton city councillor from 1997 to 2006. Member of Ontario Provincial Parliament from 2004 to 2022. Leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party from 2009 to 2022.

 

Surrey, British Columbia

Popl: 568,000 (National rank 11)

Brenda Locke, Mayor since November 2022

Party / Politics: Surrey Connect (Conservative)

Notes: Born 1955. Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia from 2001 to 2005. Surrey city councillor from 2018 to 2022.

 

Gatineau, Quebec

Popl: 291,000 (National rank 18)

France Bélisle, Mayor since November 2021

Party / Politics: Independent

Notes: Studied journalism at the Universities of Ottawa and Carleton. Worked as journalist for Radio-Canada Télé. Executive director of Tourisme Outaouais from 2015 to 2021.

 

Longueuil, Quebec

Popl: 255,000 (National rank 21)

Catherine Fournier, Mayor since November 2021

Party / Politics: Independent. Before 2019 member of Parti Québécois, a social democratioc party advocating an independent Quebec nation

Notes: Born 1992. Degree in economics from Montreal University. Member of National Assembly of Quebec from 2016 to 2021.

 

Regina, Saskatchewan

Popl: 226,000 (National rank 24)

Sandra Masters, Mayor since November 2020

Party / Politics: Independent

Notes: Board member of the Regina Exhibition Association from 2015 to 2020.

 

Burlington, Ontario

Popl: 187,000 (National rank 28)

Marianne Meed Ward, Mayor since December 2018

Party / Politics: Independent

Notes: Born 1966. Degree in journalism from Carleton University. Journalist at and editor of Faith Today from 1989 to 1999. Launched own communication business ‘Meed Ward Media’. Burlington city councillor from 2010 to 2018. Elected mayor in 2018 and re-elected in 2022.

 

Sherbrooke, Quebec

Popl: 173,000 (National rank 30)

Évelyne Beaudin, Mayor since November 2021

Party / Politics: Former member of Option Nationale, a pro-independence party, now dissolved. Member of Sherbrooke citoyen, a local citizens party.

Notes: Born 1989. Degrees in economics and politics from Laval and Sherbrooke Universities. Founder member of Option Nationale, a centre-left, pro-independence party. In 2016, she founded the Sherbrooke Citoyen municipal political party. City councillor from 2017 to 2021.

 

Saguenay, Quebec

Popl: 145,000 (National rank 36)

Julie Dufour, Mayor since November 2021

Party / Politics: Independent

Notes: Born 1980. College diploma in human sciences. Worked at a youth shelter from 2001 to 2008. Educator at the Commission Scolaire de la Jonquière from 2008 to 2013. City councillor from 2013 to 2021.

 

Whitby, Ontario

Popl: 139,000 (National rank 40)

Elizabeth Roy, Mayor since November 2022

Party / Politics: Ontario Liberal Party (centre-left)

Notes: Born 1966. Radiation therapist from 1988 to 2005. Trustee on Durham District School Board from 1997 to 2006. Whitby town councillor from 2006 to 2014. Durham regional councillor from 2014 to date.

 

Cambridge, Ontario

Popl: 139,000 (National rank 41)

Jan Liggett, Mayor since 2022

Party / Politics: Independent

Notes: Business woman. She founded, together with her husband, a garden ornament business. Co-founder of Ornamental Concrete Producers Association. City councillor from 2014 to 2022. As mayor, she sits on Waterloo Regional Council.

 

Waterloo, Ontario

Popl: 122,000 (National rank 47)

Dorothy McCabe, Mayor since November 2022

Party / Politics: Ontario Liberal Party (centre-left)

Notes: Born 1969. Degree in communications and history from Wilfried Laurier University.  Worked for Liberal member of Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 2003 to 2010. Chief of staff to Mayor of Kitchener from 2010 to 2015. Professor at Conestoga College from 2020 to 2022.

 

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Popl: 94,000 (National rank 64)

Amanda McDougall, Mayor since November 2020

Party / Politics: Independent

Notes: City councillor from 2016 to 2020. Executive director of a non-profit environmental organisation.

 

Victoria, British Columbia

Popl: 92,000 (National rank 66)

Marianne Alto, Mayor since November 2022

Party / Politics: Independent, centre-left

Notes: Born 1979. City councillor from 2010 to 2022.

 

Brossard, Quebec

Popl: 92,000 (National rank 67)

Doreen Assaad, Mayor since 2017

Party / Politics: Brossard Ensemble

Notes: Born in Egypt. Degree in Applied Mathematics from Montreal University. Worked for several large corporations. City councillor from 2009 to 2017.

 

Moncton, New Brunswick

Popl: 86,000 (National rank 74)

Dawn Arnold, Mayor since 2016

Party / Politics: Independent

Notes: Chair of the literary Frye Festival from 1999 to 2016. Member of Moncton City Council from 2012 to 2016.

 

Saint John, New Brunswick

Popl: 74,000 (National rank 84)

Donna Reardon, Mayor since June 2021

Party /Politics: Independent

Notes: Common councillor from 2012 to 2021.

 

Fredericton, New Brunswick

Popl: 67,000 (National rank 90)

Kate Rogers, Mayor since 2021

Party / Politics: Independent

Notes: Degree in political sciences from University of New Brunswick. City councillor from 2012 to 2021.

 

* The research was carried out in December 2023. Contributors: Tann vom Hove, Brian Baker and Nick Swift




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