Tracey Cook will retire from the Toronto Public Service in May

Tracey CookThe City of Toronto bureaucrat who spearheaded controversial files including encampment clearances and Uber and Airbnb regulations for more than 11 years is leaving city hall, the Star has learned.

Cook announced that she plans to retire from public service on May 19.

The former Toronto police detective was hired as executive director of licensing and standards in 2012. She rose to deputy city manager and, for five months last year, served as acting city manager until the highest position is filled.

Cook had an unusual public profile, including being named 13th most influential Torontonian by Toronto Life in 2016, through a series of headline-grabbing engagements that produced results hailed by some and criticized by others.

Known as jovial but tough, she handled her early duties, including helping the city council legalize and regulate Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing services.

Cook then supervised the settlement officers raiding illegal cannabis stores that proliferated throughout the city before national legalization. Other duties included negotiating with provincial authorities on city terms for the redevelopment of Ontario Place, enforcing pandemic restrictions, and working on Mayor John Tory’s project. truncated SmartTrack transit map.

Most controversial, Cook oversaw the city sometimes violent clearings of homeless camps city ​​parks from summer 2021.

Toronto Homeless Advocates and at least one city councilor, called the actions of the city heartless and unnecessarily confrontational.

Tory, however, fully supported Cook. When she was promoted to deputy city manager last year, he praised her “passion for Toronto and her dedication to serving its many diverse communities.”

In an email Tuesday, Cook said her husband has been retired for nearly 14 years. “I’m eligible to retire, and it’s a great time for family,” she said.

She said it made sense to leave at the start of a new term on council, adding that she had not applied for the post of city manager as she was already planning to end her full-time job. She said she could do consulting or sit on boards.

“I would really like to stay engaged in building the city to some degree,” Cook said.

David Rider is Star’s City Hall Bureau Chief and a reporter covering City Hall and municipal politics. Follow him on Twitter: @dmrider


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