News Release
April 24, 2020

Today, Mayor John Tory announced the start of Toronto’s Recovery and Rebuild Strategy including the establishment of an office led by Mr. Saad Rafi, with a public health strategy led by Dr. David Mowat.

While the City’s priorities remain on reducing the spread of COVID-19, minimizing demand on the health care system, and ensuring the delivery of essential and critical City services, preparing Toronto for recovery and rebuild in the weeks and months to come must begin now. The goals of the office are twofold: save livelihoods and live safely with COVID-19.

Decisions about timing of re-opening and relaxing current measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19 have not been determined and will be guided by advice from public health officials.

A health strategy, led by Dr. Mowat in consultation with Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, will help inform recovery and rebuilding and will continue until all systems return to normal or better.

The Toronto Office of Recovery and Rebuild will be guided by several themes including, building preparedness through City divisions and agencies, resilience, equity, business and cultural development, and government and fiscal renewal.

The City will work closely with institutions, communities and partners to ensure engagement throughout. Residents and businesses will play a significant role in successfully restoring communities and social and economic infrastructures, while ensuring the city remains healthy.

Toronto’s Office of Recovery and Rebuild will report to the City Manager. Its mandate will be to coordinate a city-wide approach informed by public health evidence and best practices from here in Toronto and other jurisdictions, to bring innovation to the City’s recovery strategies and actions.

About Mr. Saad Rafi

Over the last 30 years, Saad Rafi has worked in both the public and private sectors, including several leadership roles in the Ontario government. He was the CEO of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, where he worked extensively with municipalities in and around the GTHA to deliver the largest multi-sport event in Canadian history. Mr. Rafi has been a Deputy Minister in the Ministries of Health and Long-Term Care, Energy and Infrastructure, Transportation, and Public Safety. Mr. Rafi has also been a Partner at Deloitte LLP where he started an Infrastructure and Project Finance practice, and subsequently led their Government and Public Services practice for Canada.

About Dr. David Mowat

Dr. David Mowat has served as a public health physician at local, provincial, and national levels for almost 40 years. He has been Medical Officer of Health in Kingston and in the Region of Peel, and served twice as Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. He was also Deputy Chief Public Health Officer at the Public Health Agency of Canada. At Health Canada he directed the Pan-Canadian Network for Health Surveillance and worked on web-based surveillance systems. Dr. Mowat has worked on emergencies such as SARS, H1N1 influenza and Ebola.


“Mr. Saad Rafi is already at work developing our post-COVID plan and working with Dr. David Mowat who is guiding the health strategy. In these two individuals we have the best one-two punch you could ever find. I’m confident Mr. Rafi will get this plan done at the wartime speed that we need. Starting Toronto back up safely and making sure we have a strong recovery will be no easy task but that is the plan I’ve asked Mr. Rafi to develop guided by the public health advice of Dr. Mowat.”
– Mayor John Tory

“I am pleased to take on this important role in helping Toronto begin to recover and rebuild from COVID-19. This unprecedented pandemic has had a devastating impact on the health of people the world over, including here in Toronto. The virus, of course, has also taken a tremendous toll on our way of life. Returning Toronto to the great city it is will require patience, determination and leadership. We will all have a role to play in recovery and rebuilding, and I look forward to working with the Mayor, City Council and the City administration in helping make that happen.”
– Saad Rafi

“The people of Toronto have worked together to protect lives and support the healthcare system during this first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now we must create a path towards a more normal way of life and economic recovery. The City will continue to put the health of Toronto’s residents first in its plan for recovery. I am pleased to take on the role of consulting a wide range of experts to ensure that the plan is supported by the best available evidence on protecting health.”
– Dr. David Mowat

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