Jim Watson was elected Mayor of the City of Ottawa on October 25, 2010.
Mayor Watson had dedicated most of his career to public service in Canada’s Capital.
First elected as a Councillor in 1991, he was re-elected in 1994. Three years later he was elected as the youngest Mayor in Ottawa’s history with 82% of the popular vote.
Following the amalgamation of Ottawa and surrounding communities, Mayor Watson was appointed the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Tourism Commission, a federal crown corporation.
In 2003, he was elected as the Member of Provincial Parliament for Ottawa West-Nepean and immediately appointed to cabinet as Minister of Consumer and Business services.
In 2005, he was appointed as Ontario’s first Minister of Health Promotion and he successfully implemented the Smoke Free Ontario Act.
Re-elected as MPP in 2007, he was promoted to Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
In that portfolio, Watson signed the largest Federal-Provincial Housing agreement in Ontario’s History. In addition he co-authored an historic agreement between the province and Ontario’s 444 municipalities that saw over $1.5 Billion in social service costs removed from local property taxes.
An active member of his community, Watson has also served on the boards or as honourary chair of several community organizations, including the Riverside Hospital, the National Arts Centre, the Christmas Exchange of Ottawa and the Forum for Young Canadians. He served as chair of United Way’s 2002 campaign, which raised a record $21 million.
An avid volunteer with several groups, he has helped serve meals at the Shepherds of Good Hope, a local soup kitchen. His commitment to those less fortunate was evident when, in August of 2000, he contributed his entire municipal severance payment of $31,000 to Ottawa’s Union Mission for Men.
His years of active involvement and community service have made him the recipient of several awards and accolades, including Maclean’s magazine’s “100 Young Canadians To Watch,” Carleton University Honours Award, the City of Ottawa’s highest civic honour, the Key to the City; the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal; the Visionary Award by the Ontario Pharmacists’ Association, and the National Leadership Award by the Canadian Council for Tobacco Control for his role in implementing the Smoke Free Ontario Act.