Donald Cousens joined Counsel Public Affairs in March 2007 after a long and distinguished career in both public service and business.
Don is one of Canada’s most successful municipal leaders having served as Mayor of the Town of Markham from 1994 to 2006, during a period of unprecedented growth. As Mayor, he was Chair of Finance of the York Regional Council, a member of the boards of the Markham Hydro Electric Utility, Powerstream, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and Markham Stouffville Hospital, among others, and Founding Honourary Chair of the York Technology Association.
Prior to entering Municipal Politics, Don served as MPP (Progressive Conservative) for York Centre (1981-87) and Markham (1987-94). Among his roles in government he was Minister of Correctional Services and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Citizenship and Culture. During his time as an Opposition member of the Legislature, Don served as critic for a number of portfolios, including Industry, Trade and Technology, Community and Social Services, Housing, Seniors, Environment, and Finance and Economic Affairs.
Don was Deputy Speaker of the Legislature between 1981 and 1984.
As an MPP, Don chaired several provincial Task Forces related to Senior Citizens and Old Age Homes, Transportation, and Human and Social Services. He was also extensively involved with large-scale public infrastructure projects such as the Markham-Stouffville Hospital, Highway 407 and GO Transit.
Don was an elected Trustee for the York County Board of Education from 1972-79, and served as Vice Chair and then Chair of the York Region Public School Board in 1978 and 1979 respectively.
In addition to his extensive public sector experience, Don has worked in the private sector for close to three decades, holding senior positions with the Honeywell companies including Assistant to the President for 13 years and founder of the Municipal Information Division. Don has also served on the Board of Directors of the Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and the Toronto Research Institute.
Among his many charitable activities, he founded the Don Cousens Charitable Foundation and is the current Chair of World Vision Canada. Don has also given his time as Director and Chair of the Markham YMCA Fundraising Committee, Founding Director of York Region Children’s Services, Director of the York Region Mental Health Association and National Chair of the Canadian Mental Health Initiative.
Don holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Queen’s University and a Master of Divinity from Knox College at the University of Toronto.