Hamilton’s emergency operations centre director takes new job with city of Toronto


One of the most prominent voices to lead Hamilton through the COVID-19 pandemic will soon be leaving the city for a new job in Toronto.

Paul Johnson, director of the city’s emergency operations centre and general manager of Hamilton’s healthy & safe communities department, has taken a position as the deputy city manager of community and social services for the city of Toronto.

Johnson, who was named as the 2021 Citizen of the Year alongside Hamilton’s medical officer of health, said the new opportunity in Toronto is a “tremendously exciting one” that allows him to continue doing some of the work in social services and housing he’s been doing locally – as well as expand to areas like economic development, culture, and parks and forestry.

“So an opportunity really to get involved in all of those elements that make communities really great places to be in the largest city in Canada,” Johnson told Global News.

“That kind of opportunity does not come along often and for me, it was just the perfect one to take.”

He has appeared with Dr. Richardson and Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger on a regular basis during the city’s COVID-19 updates.

Johnson said the past 16 months of heading up the emergency operations centre has been “an incredibly tough grind” but added that it’s good to see Hamilton is in a much more optimistic position now.

“The crisis isn’t over, and I know that I step away with still so much work to be done in the pandemic,” he said.

“But the great thing is, is as much as Dr. Richardson and myself and the mayor have been the public faces of communicating this pandemic to Hamiltonians, the team that works around us is large and very dedicated and talented. So the work will continue and new voices will emerge.”