Prime Minister Trudeau has named former Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair a Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and has placed him in charge of the Liberal government’s marijuana strategy.
Blair served as a police officer for 29 years before being selected as the new chief in April 2005 by a vote of 42 of the Toronto Police Services Board. He retired as chief in April 2015 after the Police Services Board opted not to renew his contract. He has also served as President of the Ontario and Canadian Associations of Chiefs of Police. During his policing career Blair worked on drug enforcement, organized crime and major crimes. Because of his hard work as police chief, Blair was honoured as a Officer of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces in 2007 and was elevated to Commander within the order in 2012.
Blair was born in Scarborough and grew up the son of a police officer. He considered pursuing a law degree but opted to study economics at the University of Toronto, leaving before graduation to pursue his goal of being a police officer. He did later complete a BA in economics and criminology.
Blair has spent time volunteering for numerous Toronto organizations including Covenant House, the United Way and the Children’s Aid Society. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Scarborough Hospital Foundation and as Vice-Patron for the Good Neighbours’ Club, a day centre for homeless and unemployed men. For his good work in the community he was awarded the 2011 Beth Shalom Humanitarian Award.
Blair faced heavy criticism over the Toronto Police’s handling of the 2010 G20 Summit protests, with some calling for his resignation.