Niagara Region's Regional Chairs

The Chair is responsible for presiding over all standing committees and council meetings, representing the Region at the provincial and federal level as well as overseeing the business of the Regional corporation.

Past and Present Chairs

2018 - Present: Jim Bradley

Jim Bradley was elected as Niagara Regional Chair on Dec. 6, 2018.

Previously, Chair Bradley served as a St. Catharines city councillor from 1970 to 1977 and a member of provincial parliament for St. Catharines from 1977 to 2018. During this time, he held roles as a provincial minister of:

  • Environment
  • Transportation
  • Municipal Affairs and Housing
  • Tourism and Recreation
  • Community Safety and Correctional Services
  • Seniors

Before entering politics, Chair Bradley was a teacher with the Lincoln County Board of Education. He has contributed to the Niagara community as a hockey and baseball coach, manager and referee; member of Grantham Optimist Club; and as an active supporter of the Rankin Run, Gillian's Place, Start Me Up Niagara, Community Care, Bethlehem Place and other volunteer organizations.

2014 - 2018: Alan Caslin

Alan Caslin was elected Regional Chair on December 11, 2014. In his four years as Regional Chair, Caslin served on the Niagara Police Services Board, Linking Niagara Transit Committee and Audit Committee.

During his term of council, Chair Caslin was proud to be a part of major accomplishments for Niagara Region, including daily GO Train, 2021 Canada Summer Games and unprecedented industrial and commercial growth. He previously served as a Regional Councillor for St. Catharines from 2010-2014.

Chair Caslin was employed with General Motors of Canada Ltd. for 20 years in several capacities, most recently as facilities manager in St. Catharines. Before GM, he worked as a project manager for a large consulting firm, Acres International, for 15 years.

Chair Caslin has been actively involved in youth sports as a volunteer and coach for more than 15 years. Some of the organizations that he has volunteered with include Port Dalhousie Softball, CYO Basketball and Jets Soccer. He is a past member of several community boards including the YMCA of Niagara, United Way of St. Catharines and District, and the St. Catharines Jets Soccer Club. He was also a member of the board of directors of Meridian Credit Union.

Chair Caslin's family includes wife Anita, son Kevin and daughter Kelly.

2010 - 2014: Gary Burroughs

Councillor Burroughs served as Niagara Region's sixth Regional Chair for the term 2010 - 2014.

He has been a resident of Niagara-on-the-Lake for almost 50 years and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, a former hotel owner-operator for 30 years, served as Lord Mayor of Niagara-on-the Lake for a decade, and has been chair of the Niagara Parks Commission and Shaw Festival.

Councillor Burroughs and his wife Sarah have two daughters and four grandchildren.

2003 - 2010: Peter Partington

A native of St. Catharines, Peter Partington completed secondary school at St. Catharines Collegiate and went on to study at the University of Western Ontario where he obtained his B.A. and L.L.B.

Mr. Partington was called to the Bar in 1965 and was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1976. He practiced law until March 2004.

Mr. Partington served his community in the role of MPP for the riding of St. Catharines-Brock from 1985-1987.

Mr. Partington was elected Chairman of the Niagara Region in November 2003, and acclaimed for a second term in December, 2006. Prior to being elected Regional Chair, Mr. Partington was a member of Niagara Regional Council for St. Catharines from 1994 and served as Chair of the Corporate and Financial Services Committee and Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Review of Municipal Services.

From 1999-2000 Mr. Partington was Director of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, and from 2000-2003 he served as Director and President of the Ontario Great Lakes Renewal Foundation.

1997 - 2003: Debbie M. Zimmerman

Councillor Zimmerman began her political career in 1978 when she was elected as Alderman for the Town of Grimsby. In 1989 she was selected to fill a vacated Regional Council seat for the Town of Grimsby. She has been elected to the same seat since that time. In 1997 she was first elected Regional Chair of the Region of Niagara, a position that she served for two terms. The Province of Ontario appointed Councillor Zimmerman to the Niagara Escarpment Commission from 1994 to 1997.

She has a strong interest in economic development and trade; she was a member of the Team Canada 2001 Trade Mission to China. She has had a strong voice in establishing the Niagara Bi-National Region Economic Roundtable and is committed to a process that will see the completion of a Mid-Peninsula Corridor.

1991 - 1997: Brian E. Merrett

Born and raised in Niagara Falls, Brian Merrett served as the Regional Chair from 1991 to 1997.

His political career began in 1978 as an alderman on the Niagara Falls council. For almost 20 years, he represented his constituents at the local council level; seven years as an alderman; and 12 years on Regional Council with six as the Regional Chair.

During this time, he was actively involved on a number of committees and boards. He was also the Chair of the Niagara 911 committee that was responsible for the implementation of the region-wide emergency telephone system. He received the Niagara Award for Community Contribution in 1997. In 1998, he was appointed to the Niagara College Board of Governors. He also served as Chairman of the Niagara Parks Commission from 1997 to 2003.

1985 - 1991: Wilbert N. Dick

Wilbert Dick served as the Regional Chair from 1985 to 1991. He was permitted to seek his position in 1988 without running for election and was appointed by a majority vote of the elected Regional Council members.

Dick served on Regional Council from 1974, being elected as Regional Chairman in December 1985. He brought a wealth of experience to the position, especially by promoting the region through tourism and economic development, and by bringing jobs to Niagara.

He was the Vice-Chairman of Planning and Development, Public Works and Utilities and the Social Services Committee. In 2001, Dick cast the deciding vote to allow Sunday shopping in the region.

He was also the Lord Mayor of Niagara-on-the-Lake from 1977 to 1985. During his term as the Lord Mayor, he realized a dream come true - the restoration of Niagara's Historic Court House.

As a resident of Virgil for 67 years, Dick enjoyed an active political life and was dedicated to his community.

1970 - 1985: John E. Campbell

John E. Campbell was the longest serving Regional Chair. He was first appointed to the office in 1969 by then Premier of Ontario, John Robarts. He retired in 1985 after serving a 16 year term. A true native son of Niagara-on-the-Lake, he was born and raised in the area.

Campbell's political life began as a Deputy Reeve, Reeve and Warden of Lincoln County.

He sat as a member of the Niagara Parks Commission, was an advisor to Niagara Escarpment Commission, and was a member of countless boards and commissions. His continuous unrivalled re-appointment to the position of Regional Chair was evidence of the high esteem to which his fellow Regional Councillors held him.

It was mainly through Campbell's abilities as an effective mediator and his achievements at gaining compromise among fellow politicians that established Regional Government in Niagara as a viable and valuable. He was successful in persuading the Councils of the day to work as a team and make decisions which benefited the region as a whole.

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