Mark Saunders has dedicated his life to serving and protecting the people of Toronto of every ward and every neighbourhood of the city. For 38 years, he served as a police officer and led the Toronto Police Service as its first Black Chief of Police.
For too long, the status quo politicians have failed Torontonians. Mark is ready to bring a new approach to City Hall that is focused on building a safer, more affordable, and livable Toronto.
Mark believes public safety is a fundamental human right, and the government’s most basic responsibility is to ensure residents are safe and secure. Every day, he felt the responsibility of putting his life on the line to protect the public and get the bad guys off the streets. While other people ran from danger, Mark ran towards it.
Mark joined the Toronto Police Service right after graduating high school. He worked his way up the ranks, serving in the Intelligence Services for specialized investigations against organized crime, the Professional Standards Unit, the Emergency Task Force responding to high-risk emergency situations, the Community Safety Command, and the Urban Street Gang Unit. He was Unit Commander of the Homicide Squad before attaining the rank of Deputy Chief.
Mark served as the Co-Chair of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police Organized Crime Committee and was responsible for establishing the Toronto Police Service’s cybercrime unit. Mark also participated as a mentor for the Black Community Consultative Committee.
Over his career, Mark received several awards including the Order of Merit of the Police Forces, the Police Exemplary Service Medal, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and the Harry Jerome Award for Public Service.
In 2015, Mark was selected as Toronto's Chief of Police. As leader of Canada’s largest municipal police force and the third largest police force in the country, Mark was responsible for a team at the Toronto Police Service (TPS) of over 7,400 officers and civilians and managing annual budgets of more than $1 billion.
Throughout his career, Mark showed a passion for fair, impartial and evidence-based policing and it was important for him to ensure no ward or neighbourhood was forgotten or left behind. As Chief, Mark's priority was to modernize policing in Toronto and work with all levels of government to keep people safe.
Mark is the son of Jamaican immigrants and one of six siblings. His parents arrived in Canada in 1969 and Mark became a Canadian citizen at the age of 5. Mark's parents instilled in their children the core value that no matter how much or how little you have, you always have something to give your community.
He grew up in Milton, where he had a strong sense of leadership and community instilled from a young age. He attended Milton District High School, where he was elected as student council president and also served as Mayor for a Day.
Mark was born with only one kidney that never functioned very well, but he never let that stop him. When he had to go on dialysis for 15 months in 2016-17, his wife Stacey came forward and was found to be a perfect match for a transplant. The couple continue to share their experience to raise awareness and advocate for the gift of life by encouraging others to register as organ and tissue donors.
Mark and Stacey are the proud parents of four children. Mark, Stacey and their dog Copper live in North York.