|MPP for Durham East|
|Preceded by||Gord Mills|
|Succeeded by||riding dissolved|
|MPP for Durham|
|Preceded by||first member|
|Political party||Progressive Conservative|
O'Toole's ancestors arrived in Canada in 1845, fleeing the Irish potato famine. He was born in Peterborough, Ontario, and has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto. Before entering political life, he worked in a variety of positions for General Motors in Ontario and Quebec. He was elected as a school trustee in the Peterborough-Victoria-Northumberland district in 1982, and in the Newcastle district in 1988. In 1991, O'Toole was elected as a municipal councillor in Bowmanville, Ontario; in 1994, he was elected as councillor for Durham Region.
O'Toole scored a significant victory over incumbent New Democrat Gord Mills in the provincial election of 1995, scoring 62% of the popular vote (this was part of a provincial trend in which a number of working-class ridings shifted from the NDP to the Tories). He was re-elected in the 1999 election, again without difficulty. He served as parliamentary assistant to a number of ministers during these parliaments, but was never appointed to cabinet. The Progressive Conservatives were defeated in the 2003 provincial election, although O'Toole managed to retain his own riding. In 2004, O'Toole endorsed John Tory's successful bid to lead the Progressive Conservative party (even though his riding is adjacent to that of Tory's main rival, Jim Flaherty).