Chairman Mark McQueen's remarks for 2010 Annual Meeting

Toronto Port Authority 2010 Annual Meeting
12 July 2010
Chairman’s Remarks
Mark McQueen

Good morning and welcome to the Toronto Port Authority Annual Meeting.

My name is Mark McQueen and it is my pleasure to be the chairman of the TPA. The purpose of today’s meeting is to update you on the substantial progress we’ve made over the past 12 months, and map out a vision to accelerate this progress as we play our role in helping make the waterfront an even better place to live, work and play.

We’re also looking forward to hearing your comments and questions.

First, I’d like to introduce you to our talented group of senior managers at the TPA.

  • Geoffrey Wilson, our President and CEO. For many years, Geoff was a senior manager and executive in the international shipping and transportation sectors before joining the TPA last December. We’re very lucky to have him on our team.
  • Alan Paul, our Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
  • Ken Lundy, the Director of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
  • Angus Armstrong, our Harbour Master and Chief of Security.
I want to take a moment to recognize the hard work, dedication and generosity of spirit of every TPA employee. They invest a tremendous amount of energy and skill in making sure our harbour transportation services – from the Port of Toronto to the Outer Harbour Marina to the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport run safely and smoothly.

Now I’d also like to introduce our board members, many of whom are here today:
  • Jeremy Adams
  • Mark Curry
  • David Gurin
  • Michele McCarthy
  • Sean Morley
  • Robert Poirier
  • Craig Rix
  • Colin Watson

This is my third Annual Meeting as the Chairman of the TPA’s Board of Directors. I’d like to offer my personal thanks to my fellow directors for their support, dedication and hard work.

In three years, the TPA has gone from a money-losing agency that was the target of public criticism, to a profitable and growing business supported by the majority of Torontonians.

This would be a dramatic transformation for any organization, but it is even more impressive that our advances took place during a difficult economic period – especially for the transportation industry.

In a few moments, I will turn the floor over to our President and CEO. Before I do, I would like to report on a few issues that our board dealt with in 2009.

In December, 2009, the TPA received and publicly released a report from Deloitte LLP detailing the results of a “Special Examination” audit – a five-year review covering the period of 2004-2008 – which is required to be conducted each half decade under the Canada Marine Act.

I am pleased to report that the independent auditors’ exhaustive examination of our operations and governance was positive. Their report concluded that no significant deficiencies were found in the systems and practices of the TPA, and that major positive strides had been made on the corporate governance front in 2009.

One of those positive strides was our decision to post the travel and entertainment expenses of board members and the President and CEO on the TPA website dating back to 2005. Although we are not required to do this, we felt it was one more example of the lengths we will take to maintain a high standard of transparency and accountability.

For those of you who might have seen the news of 2009, the TPA has been reviewed twice in the past 18 months by the Federal Conflict of Interest Commissioner, and once by the Privacy Commissioner. All of these reviews were requested by TPA detractors, who hurled many an accusation against the agency or those involved with it. None of these three reviews ended with a negative outcome against the TPA or the individuals involved.

One of the last two important milestones of 2009 involves the attraction of two additional commercial carriers to the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. An exciting development that Geoff will discuss shortly.

The other watershed event was the resolution of almost every major and minor issue between the TPA and the City of Toronto, some of which dated back to 1999. City Council approved the “Macro Settlement Agreement” by a vote of 36-0 last December. When I took the role as TPA Chairman over two years ago, I outlined our strong desire to “turn the page” with City Hall. This agreement made that desire a reality.

  • A path to commercial competition at the airport.
  • Sustained profitability.
  • A new working relationship with City Hall.

These were our Board’s three goals in March 2008. All of which have now been achieved.

In closing, I’m happy to report that the TPA is in much better shape – both as a business and as a publicly accountable body – than it was three years ago.

For some, it’ll never be enough. But for the majority of fair-minded Torontonians, 70% in fact, think we are on the right track as an organization, versus 14% who don’t. Those figures don’t define success in my mind, and they are encouraging, but there’s still plenty left for the organization to do.

And now it is my pleasure to introduce Geoffrey Wilson, our President and Chief Executive Officer, who will outline our plans for the years to come.