Topic: Confronting the Challenge and Opportunities of Climate Change During a Period of Accelerating Change
Chris Ballard was first elected to the Ontario legislature in 2014 as the MPP for Newmarket—Aurora.
Ballard currently serves as Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. He was previously Minister of Housing and Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy. Prior to that, he was Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy, and to the Minister of Government and Consumer Services.
Ballard has served as a town councillor for Aurora. There he was Chair of the Economic Development Advisory Committee and of the Parks and Recreation Committee, and Vice-Chair of the Town’s Secondary Plan (Places to Grow) Study. As a councillor, his focus was on developing a complete community and facilitating residents’ access to municipal government.
Ballard began his career as a journalist, starting with the Aurora Banner and Newmarket Era before moving to daily journalism. He worked in public affairs for the Scarborough Board of Education and launched a public affairs company more than 25 years ago. Ballard was president of the Public Affairs Association of Canada and was made an honourary Lifetime Member for his work.
He worked on behalf of Ontario consumers with both the Consumers’ Association of Canada, where he was Executive Director of the Ontario group, and as a founding board member of the Consumers Council of Canada. Ballard is a strong advocate for consumer issues across the country.
He has a first-hand understanding of Indigenous issues, having spent many years working for Dene and Gwich’in organizations in northern Canada.
Ballard has had the opportunity to mentor young people as a part-time teacher at Centennial College, and has worked on behalf of seniors with the Ontario Long-Term Care Association. He is a member of both the Aurora Seniors’ Centre and the Aurora Legion.
As a volunteer, Ballard stood with teachers during the turbulent education time of the 1990s, when he worked to build strong relationships among parents, teachers and school administrators by helping establish a successful School Council at his children’s public school.
Ballard was born and raised in rural King City. He and his wife Audrey raised their three children in Aurora.