John Filion

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John Filion
Toronto City Councillor for Ward 18 (Willowdale)
Assumed office
December 1, 2018
Preceded byWard Created
Toronto City Councillor for Ward 23
In office
December 1, 2000 – November 30, 2018
Preceded byWard Created
Succeeded bywards redistributed
Toronto City Councillor for Ward 10 (North York Centre)
In office
January 1, 1998 – December 1, 2000
Serving with Norm Gardner
Preceded byWard Created
Succeeded bywards redistributed
Personal details
Born1950 (age 68–69)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Domestic partnerAnna Maria Tremonti

John Filion (About this soundlisten) (born 1950) is a Toronto city councillor representing one of the two Willowdale wards, Ward 23 Willowdale. Although he had planned to retire in 2018, after the legislation from Premier Doug Ford which expanded ward boundaries, he decided to run for re-election because he believes it makes it "virtually impossible for a community activist, known within one area, to get elected".[1]


Filion attended York University and he graduated with a degree in history. He became a journalist specializing in education issues. He was the founding editor of the Canadian World Almanac.

Early political career[edit]

He first entered politics as a trustee on the North York Board of Education to which he was elected in 1981. From 1987 to 1990 he served as chair of the school board. He was elected to North York's city council in 1990 replacing retiring councillor Jim McGuffin. He moved to Toronto city council with the creation of the new city in 1997. He received a great deal of attention for his role as chair of the city's Board of Health. He used this position to push for a smoking ban in Toronto bars and restaurants and to force restaurants to post records of their health inspections. As a member of the police services board he was a sharp critic of chief Julian Fantino and also publicly accused members of the police force of monitoring his activities.

Chair of Toronto Board of Health[edit]

Filion as chair of the Toronto Board of Health created the DineSafe eatery inspection and notification system which rose compliance with food safety regulations in Toronto restaurants from 42% to 90% and reduced cases of food-borne illnesses in Toronto by 30% in its first 8 years.[2] He also championed the restaurant smoking ban.[3]

Toronto Parking Authority land purchase[edit]

Executives from the Toronto Parking Authority and Giorgio Mammoliti pushed for a deal that would have had the city overpay by approximately $2.6 million for a piece of land in Mammoliti's ward, according to a report to Toronto City Council by law firm Torys LLP. The deal was days from being completed when it fell through largely due to pressure from Filion. Filion repeatedly questioned the cost of the purchase. He also accused Toronto Parking Authority executives of withholding information. According to the report Filion told the TPA's vice president of real estate, Maria Casista, "I'm calling the cops".[4] Toronto's auditor general and the Ontario Provincial Police are currently investigating the land deal.[5]

A La Cart[edit]

Filion spearheaded Toronto's A La Cart program, an attempt to introduce variety into Toronto's street food scene.[6] The program was terminated two years into its three-year pilot program.[7] Some participants in the program complained they were left bankrupt from the experience.[8] Meddling city bureaucracy and expensive, city-specified food carts that malfunctioned were some of the reasons cited for the failure of Filion's program.[7][8] Councillor Filion wouldn't apologize for the failure but did admit to it being a humbling experience. He suggested he would do it differently if given the chance.[7]

Target of violence[edit]

Early on April 4, 2019, bullets were fired into Filion's car and home, several weeks after an armed man attempted to force his way into Filion's home. Filion stated, "I suspect I have been targeted and that this is related to my work as a city councillor."[9]

Personal life[edit]

He is the partner of Canadian Broadcasting Corporation journalist Anna Maria Tremonti.[10]

Election results (Toronto City Council)[edit]

2018 Toronto election, Ward 18 - Willowdale

Candidate Votes %
(x)John Filion 8,104 31.06%
Lily Cheng 5,149 19.74%
Sonny Cho 3,130 12.00%
David Mousavi 1,596 6.12%
Danny DeSantis 1,486 5.70%
Norman Gardner 1,476 5.67%
Sam Moini 1,289 4.94%
Saman Tabasi Nejad 1,189 4.56%
Winston Park 593 2.27%
Gerald Mak 545 2.09%
David Epstein 538 2.96%
Albert Kim 291 1.12%
Farah Aslani 187 0.72%
Andrew Herbst 162 0.62%
Hamid Shakeri 122 0.47%
Chung Jin Park 101 0.39%
Sam Mathi 66 0.25%
Marvin Honickman 61 0.23%
2014 Toronto election, Ward 23[11]

Candidate Votes %
(x)John Filion 14,128 55.49%
David Mousavi 7,951 31.23%
Kun-Won Park 2,049 8.05%
Chris Penny 593 2.33%
Scott Werle 380 1.49%
Carmen Kedzior 358 1.41%
Total 25,459 100.00%
2010 Toronto election, Ward 23[12]
Candidate Votes %
(x)John Filion 13,666 65.9
Dusan Kralik 2,456 11.8
Peter Clarke 2,129 10.2
John Whyte 1,445 7.0
Charles Sutherland 1,055 5.1
Total 20,751 100

Unofficial results as of October 26, 2010 03:55 am

2006 Toronto election, Ward 23[13]
Candidate Votes %
(x)John Filion 8,853 57.4
Andrew Miller 5,235 34.0
Cornel Chifor 557 3.6
Mohammed Choudhary 394 2.6
Ignacio Manlangit 373 2.4
2003 Toronto election, Ward 23
Candidate Votes %
(x)John Filion 13,836 83.34
Ignacio Manlangit 2,757 16.66
2000 Toronto election, Ward 23
Candidate Votes
(x)John Filion 10,213
Ron Summers 5,395
Youval Zilberberg 813
1997 Toronto election, Ward 10
North York Centre (2 elected)
Candidate Votes
John Filion 17,533
Norman Gardner 15,135
Ron Summers 11,212


  1. ^ Rider, David (6 September 2018). "John Filion shelves retirement plan, seeks re-election to Toronto city council | The Star". Toronto Star. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  2. ^ Cribb, Robert (17 April 2009). "DineSafe cuts rate of sickness | The Star". Toronto Star. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  3. ^ David, Rider (20 June 2018). "John Filion not seeking re-election to Toronto council | The Star". Toronto Star. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  4. ^ Lancaster, John; Smee, Michael (2 May 2018). "Mammoliti, TPA execs 'actively' pushed land deal with inflated $12M price tag, secret report says". CBC. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  5. ^ Dubinsky, Zach; Lancaster, John (25 January 2018). "OPP probing 'possible criminal activity' in aborted $12M City of Toronto land deal | CBC News". CBC. CBC. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  6. ^ Chung, Matthew (April 21, 2007). "Cuisine a la cart". Retrieved 2016-07-24.
  7. ^ a b c "City's recipe for a disaster". Archived from the original on 2014-08-09. Retrieved 2016-07-24.
  8. ^ a b Rider, David (September 17, 2010). "Why Toronto's street food program is in shambles". Retrieved 2016-07-24.
  9. ^ "Bullets fired at home of Toronto councillor John Filion and CBC host Anna Maria Tremonti". CBC News. April 4, 2019. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  10. ^ Acknowledgements in Filion's book The Only Average Guy: Inside the Uncommon World of Rob Ford. Random House of Canada, 2015. ISBN 9780345816016.
  11. ^ "2014 General Election Results for City Ward 23 - Willowdale".
  12. ^ City of Toronto elections page Archived 2010-10-26 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ City Clerk's Official Declaration 2006 Archived 2011-06-07 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]