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John Gerretsen was first elected to the Ontario Legislature in 1995 to represent Kingston and The Islands. He was re-elected in 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011.
John was appointed Attorney General on October 20, 2011 after serving as Minister of Consumer Services since August 2010. He previously served as Minister of the Environment from 2007 to 2010, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing from 2003 to 2007 and also as Minister Responsible for Seniors.
John guided the implementation of the province’s climate change action plan. In addition to historic investments in public transit and phasing out coal-fired electricity generation by 2014, a key component of this plan includes the development of a cap-and-trade program. Cap-and-trade legislation to allow Ontario to link to other systems in North America and abroad was passed by the Ontario Legislature in December 2009.
John also led the development of a new Water Opportunities Act. The Act would take advantage of the province's expertise in clean-water technology, helping us to conserve and protect more water at home and spurring the development in Ontario of technologies in demand around the world.
He also introduced legislation to ban the use and sale of cosmetic pesticides province-wide and brought forward landmark legislation to protect Lake Simcoe. Under his leadership, the Toxics Reduction Act was passed to reduce the amount of toxics in our environment.
In 2009, John served as President of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment. During his term as President, the Council developed a Canada-wide Action Plan for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), a sustainable packaging strategy and a Canada-wide vision for water that featured a water efficiency labeling program.
In his previous role as Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, John brought forward the award-winning Greenbelt Plan to permanently protect 1.8 million acres around the Greater Golden Horseshoe. He was also responsible for new, stronger planning legislation and bringing the Ontario Building Code to the most energy efficient standards in Canada.
Prior to provincial politics, John began his political career at the municipal level. He was first elected as a Kingston Alderman and following these terms as councillor, John was elected as Mayor of the City of Kingston. John served three consecutive terms and he remains the longest serving Mayor in Kingston's history. John was also elected as the President of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and served as Chair of the Ontario Housing Corporation.
He became a Partner in the firm Gerretsen and Conacher in 1980 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1982. He was President of the Frontenac Law Association in 1992, served as a Small Claims Court Deputy Judge (1993-95) and as a lecturer in law at St. Lawrence College.
An active member of the Kingston community, John has also served as Chair of the Kingston Police Services Board, a founding member of Kingcole Homes, and the Rotary Club of Kingston. He has also been the Chair of the South Eastern Emergency Health Services Committee and a trustee for Queen's University.
A graduate of Queen’s University, John has practiced law in Kingston since 1971. John lives in Kingston with his wife Assunta and they have three grown children.