Jeff Lehman (politician)

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Jeff R. Lehman
46th Mayor of Barrie
Assumed office
6 December 2010
Preceded byDavid Aspden
Barrie City Councillor for (Ward 2) Downtown
In office
Preceded byDavid Aspden
Succeeded byLynn Strachan
Personal details
Spouse(s)Jennifer Armstrong

Jeffrey Robert "Jeff" Lehman (born June 1975) is the current mayor of Barrie, Ontario. The Chairman of the Finance Committee of Council, he has played a central role in many of the issues affecting the City of Barrie since 2006. As an economist, his work specializes in "managing growth" and "investing in urban infrastructure", and he has served as an adviser to many large Canadian cities including Calgary, Ottawa, Waterloo Region, Regina, and Hamilton.


Lehman was raised in Barrie, moving from Toronto in 1977. He attended Allandale Heights Public School, and Barrie Central Collegiate Institute. He holds a bachelor's degree from Queen’s University, and earned a master's degree from the London School of Economics (LSE), graduating with first class honours. His parents, Bob and Joan Lehman, founded Lehman and Associates, a land use planning firm, in 1978; Jeff worked in this family business while he was growing up. He currently lives near downtown Barrie with his wife, Jennifer, a part-time professor of political science, and his nine-year old daughter, Cassie.

Academic career[edit]

After graduating with a master's degree in Regional & Urban Planning from the London School of Economics, Lehman was hired to teach at the LSE following his graduation, and continued to live and work in London for two years as an academic. He taught urban and housing economics while helping to set up the LSE Cities Programme at the Department of Sociology of the LSE, an academic program that links social science, architecture, and planning.

Business career[edit]

Lehman has worked for cities across the country to manage redevelopment and plan investment in their urban infrastructure. In 2000-2001, he worked with the City of Ottawa on projects that included a new district library, expansions to two community centres, and a plan to reduce corporate real estate costs following the amalgamation of the City of Ottawa and surrounding regions, which ultimately reduced costs by some $4M.

Lehman co-founded MKI, a small economics advisory firm, in 2002. Lehman’s work has included planning new transit systems in Waterloo, Ottawa and Toronto, and planning for new jobs in Regina, Calgary, Hamilton, Niagara, and Burlington. Lehman has been a keynote speaker at a number of national conferences on subjects such as public transit and smart growth.

Political career[edit]

In 2005, Lehman established the Growing By Degrees task force to expand post-secondary education opportunities for students in Barrie. This volunteer organization has worked for the last five years to help grow university and college programs in Barrie. Lehman was elected to Barrie City Council in the municipal election in November 2006, representing Ward 2, the City Centre. The race for the Ward 2 seat was a close three-way battle early on, but Lehman pulled away in the autumn and easily won the election with 49.98% of the vote, falling just one vote short of an absolute majority.[1]

Lehman was elected by his peers as the Chairman of the Finance Committee of Council in 2007, and later, was chosen as the Chair of the City’s Growth Management Working Group in 2008.

In February 2010 Lehman announced that he would be a candidate for mayor for the City of Barrie in the October 2010 elections.[2]

Lehman won the election for Mayor on 25 October 2010, succeeding Mayor Dave Aspden. He won with 39% of the votes.[3] He was sworn in as the 46th Mayor of Barrie on 6 December 2010. On 27 October 2014, Lehman was reelected for a second term, winning in a landslide victory, with over 90% of the vote.[4]

Boundary dispute[edit]

Lehman led the City’s political battle with neighbouring Innisfil over a boundary dispute; talks had broken down and the City, Town of Innisfil, and County of Simcoe were battling over contrasting visions for how the area should grow. At the heart of the dispute was whether additional jobs and population should be allocated to the City of Barrie, or dispersed among the 16 municipalities in Simcoe County; Barrie argued growth should occur in cities with urban services. In June 2009, the Government of Ontario stepped in and resolved the dispute, awarding Barrie additional lands for growth and the lion's share of the additional jobs. The resolution was seen as a major win for the City of Barrie.[5][6]

Other major initiatives[edit]

In 2008, Lehman created the Historic Neighbourhoods Strategy. The HNS is a plan for the older neighbourhoods in Barrie, generally those built before World War II. The strategy was innovative, as it focused on neighbourhoods, instead of considering services citywide, and because it was citizen-led. The project was co-ordinated by a committee of 16 volunteers from the 7 historic neighbourhoods. It was approved by City Council in June 2010.[7]

Lehman played a prominent role in the battle to save two schools in his ward, Prince of Wales PS, and Barrie Central Collegiate, including starting a Facebook group called "Save Barrie Central", which attracted 3,000 members in its first week.[8]

Lehman has also worked on issues related to small business in Barrie, including eliminating the basic business license fee.


  1. ^ 2006 election results
  2. ^ Watt, Laurie (23 February 2010). "Lehman Joins Mayor's Race".
  3. ^ "Barrie Municipal Election Unofficial Results". The Barrie Examiner. 26 October 2010. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
  4. ^ Watt, Laurie; Ramsay, Janis (27 October 2014). "Lehman re-elected mayor of Barrie". Barrie Advance. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  5. ^ Watt, Laurie (8 September 2009). "City studies Innisfil land". Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  6. ^ McInroy, Ian. "Both sides seek changes to boundary adjustment". Barrie Examiner.
  7. ^ "Historic Neighbourhood Strategy". The Corporation of the City of Barrie.
  8. ^ McInroy, Ian. "Province could save school". Barrie Examiner.

External links[edit]