Hamilton Chamber of Commerce names Paul Johnson and Dr. Elizabeth Richardson Hamilton’s 2021 RBC Royal Bank Citizens of the Year

· by c.dambrosio@hamiltonchamber.ca

May 20, 2021 – HAMILTON, ON: The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce Paul Johnson (General Manager of the Healthy and Safe Communities Department, City of Hamilton) and Dr. Elizabeth Richardson(Medical Officer of Health, City of Hamilton) as the recipients of the 2021 RBC Royal Bank Hamilton Citizens of the Year award. 

Mr. Johnson and Dr. Richardson were nominated for their dedication, commitment, and sacrifice during this unprecedented public health crisis and are accepting the award on behalf of Hamilton’s public servants and healthcare professionals that have served our community so admirably during the pandemic.

Hamiltonians have seen Johnson and Dr. Richardson as the key faces of COVID-19 communications; providing clear and concise updates, addressing questions and concerns, and speaking passionately about the importance of public health measures and their enforcement provincial orders. 

“In this year of pandemic, thousands of public servants and health care professionals in Hamilton have been stretched beyond what any citizen of Hamilton could have imagined in the time before COVID,” said Keanin Loomis, President and CEO of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. “Being able to perform their duties, physically and mentally, at that level for so long has been absolutely heroic. And the two people that have coordinated that effort and been most accountable to the community are Paul and Elizabeth. Thank you and congratulations!” 

The Hamilton Citizen of the Year award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to the Hamilton community and who have brought outstanding and remarkable attention to the Hamilton community beyond our municipal borders.

Johnson and Dr. Richardson will be honoured at the Hamilton Chamber’s virtual Outstanding Business Achievement Awards on June 1 at 3pm. Registration information is available here.


Paul Johnson is the General Manager of the City’s Healthy and Safe Communities Department. Paul is proud to lead the 4,300 people who work in this Department and deliver key services that Hamiltonians rely on each day. Those services include the work of our Public Health Unit, human services such as Child Care, Recreation, Ontario Works and Housing, our Fire Department, Paramedic Service, two Long-Term Care Facilities, the City’s work in neighbourhoods and leadership on various strategies. 

Born, raised and educated in Hamilton, Paul’s background includes work in the non-profit sector as Executive Director of Wesley Urban Ministries and in the private sector with Compaq Computer Limited. Outside of his work at the City, Paul is heavily involved in basketball officiating. Paul has been a basketball referee since 1990 and still works games at the high school, college and professional level. Paul is also a National Referee Coach and provides training and evaluation to officials across the country.

Dr. Elizabeth Richardson is the Medical Officer of Health for the City of Hamilton, a position she has held since 1998. She oversees Hamilton’s Public Health Services goals to protect and promote our community’s health, through programs such as communicable disease control, supporting local families and their children’s development, and working with community partners to ensure the safety of the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. A focus across all of our programs, and of the newly formed Healthy & Safe Communities Department, is improving equitable access to health and well being.

Dr. Richardson is a Public Health and Preventive Medicine specialist, and an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact at McMaster University. She has been the Program Director for the Public Health & Preventive Medicine Residency Program at McMaster, and served on various committees with the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, as well as the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Canada, with a focus on improving the quality of public health services in Hamilton, Ontario and Canada.

She alternates her time with her family at their home in Puslinch and farm in Simcoe, where you will often find her out with their dogs, practicing yoga or riding their horses.


Created in 1938 by the Hamilton Advertising and Sales Club, the Hamilton Citizen of the Year Award has been under the stewardship of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce since 1999. The award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to the Hamilton community and who have brought outstanding and remarkable attention to the Hamilton community beyond our municipal borders. Past notable winners include Ron Foxcroft and the Honourable Lincoln Alexander.

The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce would like to thank the Royal Bank of Canada for its continued support for this award.


Cassandra D’Ambrosio
Manager of Marketing & Communications