Alumni Achievement Award nominee:
For School of Planning graduate Scott Thompson, the first step in what would be a 32-plus year career in public service began when he set foot on the University of Waterloo campus just over three decades ago. Since that time, the selfless public servant’s journey has seen him rise steadily through the ranks of government to his current lofty position as deputy minister of finance for the Province of Ontario.
When Scott leaves his home in the morning, nearly everyone he meets has been touched by the decisions he makes every day. Currently in the Ministry of Finance, he leads an organization of 2000-plus staff, all working together to craft the Province's fiscal plan, tax and pension policies, revenue collection, economic analysis and forecasting, as well as oversight of key government business enterprises. And for those keeping score, his office has developed and successfully delivered three provincial budgets. The 2017-18 budget presented a balanced fiscal plan with revenues and expenses of over $140 billion. As part of his current role, he also chairs the board of both the Ontario Financing Authority and the Ontario Electricity Financial Corporation.
At every stage of his career Scott has applied the lessons he learned at the School of Planning to his work. Fresh out of school in the mid-eighties, the talented planner got a job as a transportation policy planner before quickly moving on to Municipal Affairs and Housing. It was in roles that ranged from policy advisor to manager to executive assistant to eventually director, that he turned heads by putting his stamp on the way we live, move and work in Ontario.
At the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Scott spearheaded significant municipal reform initiatives, including restructuring of regional government, and the first comprehensive overhaul of the Municipal Act in over one hundred years. As a senior policy advisor a few years later, one of his responsibilities was drafting Ontario's first comprehensive growth and settlement guidelines. This statement of provincial interest was critical to ensuring that environmental issues and sensitive areas were appropriately prioritized as decisions were made on how communities should grow.
By 2012, he was the executive lead for the Commission on the Reform of Ontario's Public Services (the Drummond Commission), which reviewed the breadth of provincial public services and made recommendations on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of their delivery.
For his efforts, Scott has been the recipient of a number of public service achievement awards and other recognition, including the Deputy Minister's 'Stella' Award of Excellence and the Silver Medal for the IPAC Deloitte national Public Service Leadership Award in 2013.
Scott credits much of his success to his connection to the Faculty of Environment, which ensured a strong environmental discipline in his education from day one. That discipline has stayed with him throughout his career in different roles, many of which allowed him to build environmental sustainability into his work reviewing and commenting on municipal planning proposals.