Joe Mihevc has served the midtown area as City Councillor for the former City of York and the new City of Toronto. His deep concern for social issues has led him to be an advocate for strong neighbourhoods, healthy communities, a clean environment and safe streets.
Joe has a M.A. and Ph.D. in Theology and Social Ethics (theses on Holocaust Studies and Canadian Mennonites, respectively). He has served in a variety of capacities that have allowed him to demonstrate his concerns for democratic, accessible and responsible government.
As a City Councillor, Joe has helped transform his neighborhood with a variety of innovative projects. These include the building of the Artscape Wychwood Barns and Park, the Cedarvale Outdoor Ice Rink and warming room, the Oakwood Village Library and Arts Centre, the creation of Roseneath Park, the re-building of St. Clair Avenue West’s light rail transit infrastructure and public realm, and securing a home for the heritage Tollkeeper’s Cottage. Joe also oversaw the redevelopment of the Maria A. Schkuka library branch, which included the construction of more than 60 units of affordable housing next door. With the support of many community leaders, Joe has spearheaded the refurbishment of playground equipment in many local parks across his ward.
Joe is a hands-on Councillor who believes that a healthy ward is active and engaged. To this end, he facilitates many community-building initiatives. Speaker series, information meetings, shop local campaigns, environmental festivals, ward-wide check-in meetings, and family-friendly movie nights are among his priorities to promote civic engagement. He also facilitates and supports many initiatives and projects led by local organizations.
As Vice-Chair of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) from 2003 to 2010, Joe has led the way on key projects to improve public transit in Toronto. He has provided important leadership to the St. Clair transit improvement project, which included significant improvements to the public realm. Joe also led an effort at the TTC to replace the aging fleet of streetcars with new, modern Light Rail Vehicles.
Joe was elected Chair of the Board of Health in February 2013. As Vice Chair of the Board from 2010 to 2012, his accomplishments include championing the city’s Student Nutrition Program. As Chair of the Board of Health from 2000 to 2003, Joe led many initiatives to help improve health and safety across the city. These efforts included the implementation of the Green-Yellow-Red restaurant disclosure system, the restaurant smoking by-law, the adoption of a pesticide by-law, the investment in control measures to prevent the spread of West Nile Virus, and the management of the SARS outbreak.
Joe is a past member of the city’s Budget Committee and has chaired the Community Services Committee, the Roundtable on Access, Equity and Human Rights, the Disability Issues Committee and the Ethics Steering Committee. He is a recipient of a Bob Marley Award recognizing commitment to diversity, and the 2011 African Canadian Achievement Award for his long-time work with the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto. Joe has received the keys to the City of Soyapango, El Salvador, for his work on public health capacity building initiatives in that city. He also has been involved with the City’s interfaith community, whose initiatives include the Faith in the City symposium, a day of speakers and workshops to promote community involvement on issues of social justice.
For the current term of Council, Joe continues to serve as the Chair of the Board of Health and strives to work towards a healthier Toronto with the continued growth of the Student Nutrition Program. He also acts as one of Toronto’s newly appointed Newcomer Advocates, to help facilitate an inclusive transition process for new and incoming refugees and immigrants. As a member of the Community Development and Recreation Committee, Joe has been active in advancing a local poverty reduction strategy, including supporting additional services for women and LGBT youth. Joe also currently sits as a Commissioner on the TTC Board, and has facilitated community involvement regarding transit accessibility, as well as actively supporting suicide prevention measures within the TTC. Additionally, Joe is a member of the Toronto and East York Community Council, and is the City Council Liason to the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto, currently the largest Caribbean cultural festival in North America.