Jason Thorne speaking at a city council meeting in November 2022 Credit: Joey Coleman

The City of Hamilton’s General Manager of Planning and Economic Development Jason Thorne is leaving the City of Hamilton for a new opportunity.

Thorne announced his resignation on the morning of March 12. That afternoon, he took to X (formerly Twitter) to publicly share that he is leaving for an “exciting new role” in the private sector.

It’s a day of very mixed emotions for me. Today I announced that I am going to be leaving the City of Hamilton to take on an exciting new role. Thank you, Hamilton, for letting me be part of the City’s amazing renaissance over the past 10 years!”

Thorne was hired in 2014 and has overseen several major initiatives during his decade at City Hall

During his time as General Manager, his department had its share of successes.

City planning processes have been streamlined, major zoning reforms have been implemented, including new city-wide commercial mixed-use zoning, transit-oriented community zoning along the planning B-Line light rail transit line, and soon-to-be-implemented city-wide residential zoning reform.

Failures in bylaw enforcement, especially regarding property standards, were one of the areas of recent controversy during Thorne’s tenure. In 2023, bylaw managers’ failure to prepare anti-renoviction measures for Council approval resulted in a rare apology from staff to the Council.

Thorne is one of the few senior City staff who live in Hamilton. He was engaged in community events, organized public talks, bicycled across the city, and was always willing to explain his decisions.

In 2023, when City Manager Janette Smith departed before the end of her contract, Thorne was appointed Interim City Manager.

During this period, he masterfully navigated council-staff relationships, ensured reports were delivered on time, and quietly completed tasks.

His last day will be March 26.

The City of Hamilton has yet to announce the recruitment process to find the next general manager.


Mike Kirkopoulos, the CAO of the Town of Lincoln, was one of the first to comment publicly on the news, writing that Thorne is a “consummate professional who always brought a private sector and senior government perspective to Hamilton’s public service.”

Maureen Wilson, Ward 1 City Councillor, writes that Thorne is “so incredibly smart and immensely talented. Curious, creative, and perhaps Hamilton’s biggest champion.”

Toon Dreessen, a former president of the Ontario Association of Architects, wrote: “Congrats @JasonThorne_RPP; you’ve been a force for change, for good and a strong vocal supporter of the role design can play in transformative outcomes. Wherever you land will benefit from your wisdom and experience.”

Gregg Lintern, a former Toronto Chief Planner, wrote: “Influential impact on Hamilton and its future Jason! All the very best in your next endeavour!

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Published: March 12, 2024
Last edited: March 12, 2024
Author: Joey Coleman
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