Donna Cansfield

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Donna Cansfield
Ontario MPP
In office
Preceded by Chris Stockwell
Succeeded by Yvan Baker
Constituency Etobicoke Centre
Personal details
Born 1945 (age 71–72)
Political party Ontario Liberal Party
Spouse(s) Bill Cansfield
Children 2
Residence Toronto, Ontario

Donna H. Cansfield, (born c. 1945) is a former politician in Ontario, Canada. She was a Liberal member in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 2003 to 2014 representing the riding of Etobicoke Centre.


Cansfield was born in Alberta in 1945.[1] Prior to entering politics she was a homemaker, raising two children with her husband Bill. They live in central Etobicoke.


School trustee[edit]

In 1988, Cansfield was elected to the Etobicoke Board of Education.[2] During her tenure she served as president of the Ontario Public School Boards' Association[3] and later as president of the Canadian School Boards Association. She lost this position in 1997 when Ontario withdrew from the national association.[4]

In November 1997 she was elected trustee as a member of the newly amalgamated Toronto District School Board.[5] In December 2001 she was elected by a vote of 12–10 as president of the school board beating her rival Kathleen Wynne.[6] In January 2003 Cansfield agreed to share the board chair position with Shelley Carroll. This came about because the board was deeply split by the province's takeover of the school board in 2002 by superintendent Paul Christie. The province took this action because the board could not balance its budget. The dual chair position was to remain in place until the following election in November 2003.[7][8] However, Cansfield resigned her position as co-chair four months later in order to focus on her run as a candidate in the 2003 provincial election. She retained her position as trustee.[9][10]

Provincial politics[edit]

While there was some perception that Cansfield had centre-right or conservative views,[7][8][11] she opted to run as the Liberal candidate in the riding of Etobicoke Centre in the 2003 election. Her decision to run for the Liberals rather than the Conservatives may have been driven by her distaste for the way that the Ernie Eves government had dealt with the budget crisis of the Toronto District School Board. She said, "I do not see a light at the end of the tunnel with this government. I'm tired of people not standing up and saying, 'I believe in public education.'"[11] She based her campaign on improvements to the education system and handily beat Conservative rival Rose Andrachuk by 4,460 votes.[12][13]

Cansfield was appointed Parliamentary Assistant (PA) to Energy Minister Dwight Duncan on 23 October 2003. She was appointed as Minister of Energy on 11 October 2005 when Duncan was named as Minister of Finance.[14] She was reassigned as Minister of Transportation on 23 May 2006, when Duncan returned to Energy.[15]

After the 2007 election, Cansfield became Ontario's Minister of Natural Resources, where she served until 18 January 2010.[16] Premier McGuinty appointed Cansfield as PA to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing after the January 2010 cabinet shuffle.[17]

In 2011, she was appointed as PA to the Minister of Economic Development and Innovation and in 2012 as PA to the Minister of Finance. In February 2013 as part of the Wynne government, she was appointed as chief government whip.[18]

Cansfield left provincial politics after she declined to seek another term in the 2014 Ontario election.[19]

Cabinet positions[edit]

Provincial Government of Dalton McGuinty
Cabinet posts (3)
Predecessor Office Successor
David Ramsay Minister of Natural Resources
Linda Jeffrey
Harinder Takhar Minister of Transportation
Jim Bradley
Dwight Duncan Minister of Energy
Dwight Duncan

Electoral record[edit]

Ontario general election, 2011
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Donna Cansfield 21,856 51.4 +1.3
Progressive Conservative Mary Anne De Monte-Whelan 13,952 32.8 -1.3
New Democratic Ana Maria Rivero 5,099 12.0 +3.61
Green Cheryll San Juan 836 2.0 -6.39
Libertarian Alexander Bussmann 422 1.0
Family Coalition Liz Millican 232 0.5
Freedom Marco Renda 108 0.3
Total valid votes 42,505 100.00
Ontario general election, 2007
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Donna Cansfield 22,886 50.18 +0.77
Progressive Conservative Andrew Pringle 15,565 34.13 -5.30
New Democratic Anita Agrawal 3,828 8.39 +0.78
Green Greg King 3,330 7.30 +3.75
Total valid votes 45,609 100.00
Ontario general election, 2003
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Donna Cansfield 22,070 49.41 +9.04
Progressive Conservative Rose Andrachuk 17,610 39.43 -14.69
New Democratic Margaret Anne Mchugh 3,400 7.61 +4.83
Green Ralph M. Chapman 1,584 3.55 +2.75
Total valid votes 44,664 100.00


  1. ^ "Civic Election '88 The Candidates". Toronto Star. 11 November 1988. p. A12. 
  2. ^ Contenta, Sandro (15 November 1988). "NDP gains control of Toronto education board Picks up 4 more seats and now holds majority". Toronto Star. p. B4. 
  3. ^ Lewington, Jennifer (18 June 1994). "School computer project unveiled". The Globe and Mail. p. A11. 
  4. ^ Lewington, Jennifer (21 July 1997). "The Learning Beat: CSBA loses Ontario". The Globe and Mail. p. A3. 
  5. ^ "Megacity Vote results". The Globe and Mail. 12 November 1997. p. A6. 
  6. ^ Rushowy, Kristin (6 December 2001). "Cansfield to chair school board ; Rookie trustee wins vice-chair job". Toronto Star. p. B05. 
  7. ^ a b Lewington, Jennifer (18 December 2002). "School board settles dispute". The Globe and Mail. p. A24. 
  8. ^ a b Lewington, Jennifer; Taylor, Gavin (13 December 2002). "Supervisor tells board to 'get functional'". The Globe and Mail. p. A30. 
  9. ^ "Trustee Shelley Laskin named as new Co-Chair of the TDSB Board of Trustees". Canada NewsWire. 14 May 2003. 
  10. ^ Brunet, Carrie (2 May 2003). "TDSB's Cansfield steps down to run for Liberals". The Villager. p. VLP00. 
  11. ^ a b Urquhart, Ian (12 April 2003). "School board co-chair to run as Liberal". Toronto Star. p. A23. 
  12. ^ O'Neill, Susan (26 September 2003). "Parents hope politicians listening when it comes to education". The Villager. p. 09. 
  13. ^ Lu, Vanessa (3 October 2003). "Cansfield's victorious; After Stockwell's departure, riding was one to watch Liberals topple Tory stronghold in affluent riding". Toronto Star. p. B08. 
  14. ^ Howlett, Karen; Waldie, Paul; Hoffman, Andy (12 October 2005). "Sorbara quits under cloud: Finance Minister subject of criminal investigation by RCMP". The Globe and Mail. p. 1. 
  15. ^ Benzie, Robert (24 May 2006). "Doing the shuffle What McGuinty hopes to gain; Trusted Sorbara returns to finance role Duncan moves back to critical energy file". Toronto Star. p. A1. 
  16. ^ Ferguson, Rob; Benzie, Robert (31 October 2007). "Premier goes for new blood; Expanded 28-member cabinet has eight ministers from Toronto, three from 905 area". Toronto Star. p. A13. 
  17. ^ Kenyon, Wallace (19 January 2010). "Sweeping changes hit Queen's Park; Liberal Cabinet". National Post. p. A8. 
  18. ^ "Ontario's new cabinet". Waterloo Region Record. Kitchener, Ont. 12 February 2013. p. A3. 
  19. ^ Benzie, Robert (28 February 2014). "Veteran Liberal and Tory MPPs calling it quits". Toronto Star. Retrieved 17 August 2014. 

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