Tom Clifford


Born on a farm outside of St. Marys, I was the third oldest of eleven children. After High School I attended George Brown College in Toronto, then lived in Calgary where I apprenticed in sheet metal. I attended Mohawk College to study refrigeration and returned to Stratford to complete my apprenticeships in refrigeration and gas fitting.

In my late twenties, I bought Brown Heating & Cooling which has successfully served Stratford for over 45 years. As President of the company, I have hired and managed hundreds of employees and have helped many individuals to apprentice in the trades as I did.

My wife, Heather, and I have two adult children who were involved in city sports programs which I helped to coach. We have been blessed with four grandchildren.

Involvement in my local church as a Board member, Treasurer, and my role as project manager of a major expansion have added to my managerial experience.

I was Director on the Festival Hydro Board as well as Chair and Vice-Chair for several years. I was also on the original Board of Stratford Perth Community Foundation.

I have served as Chair of Finance on Council for the past 12 years as well as chaired and been a member of several committees such as Infrastructure, Social Services, and Planning. I have also served as a City representative on the Chamber of Commerce, the Municipal Golf Course, and Stratfords of the World.

Each Candidate was asked to send a bio, photo and to respond to the ten questions below with a limit of 75 words per answer. We have identified any truncated content with “...[]” Please feel free to reach out to each candidate for more information.


1. Over the last five years, how have you contributed to the City of Stratford (volunteering, boards, etc.)?

Over the last five years I have served on City Council as Chair of Finance, been a committee member of Social Services as well as the Canada 150 Sesquicentennial Ad Hoc Committee. I have also represented Council on the Stratford & District Chamber of Commerce, Stratfords of the World, and the Board of Stratford’s Municipal Golf Course.

2. What do you believe your unique contribution will be to council (strengths)?

My business background as President of Brown Heating & Cooling for many years has enabled me to understand finances and has given me a valuable perspective on the City’s finances and budget deliberations. My numerous years of experience as a Councillor, being Chair of and/or Committee member on most sub-committees have allowed me to gain first-hand knowledge of Stratford’s needs and requirements. Over the years, I have worked diligently with countless individuals, listening to their...[]

3. What would you like to see achieved over the next four years (be specific)?

During the next four years I would like to see: Remediation of the Cooper interior and installation of roof and windows on the existing structure; With financial contributions from the Province and Federal Governments, building of the HUB initiated with facilities for the seniors completed; Long-term parking solution for City Centre; Tax increases as close to inflation as possible while we work to maintain infrastructure; Our long-term debt under control

4. What committees do you see yourself sitting on and what experience qualifies you for those committees?

I would be interested in serving on: Finance Sub-committee because of my previous business and Council experience; Infrastructure, Transportation & Safety Sub-committee due to my experience as a Contractor and Chair and committee member on that committee during previous terms; Social Services as previous committee member, familiar with challenges facing the underprivileged

5. What means of transportation are you using in the city, and/or in and out of town and what improvements do you recommend?

I drive a vehicle for business purposes and have a car for personal use. I also walk and ride my bike on the multi-use trails around our home. I believe we need to lobby the Province for a Go-Train connection to Stratford Instead of the proposed site of Baden. We also need an improved bus schedule to Kitchener in the meantime.

6. Describe what you believe the Cooper Site should look like in 10 years?

I believe the Cooper Site should include the HUB, a new YMCA, an expansion of the University of Waterloo Campus, a commercial component as well as residential housing.

7. What are your objectives with respect to housing and how do you expect to accomplish them?

I propose that in every new residential development we encourage geared- to - income housing be integrated into the proposed plans. For a long-term solution we must work with the Province and Ottawa to solve this housing shortage.

8. If elected, what three steps would you take to put our city on a firmer financial footing?

The three steps I would propose are: We must procure more land for industrial growth and encourage new commercial development within the City in order to increase our tax base. It is imperative that we be cautious about taking on new major capital expenditures which would adversely affect our long-term debt, thereby increasing our interest payments and limiting our future options. Taxes must be kept as close to inflation as possible in order to keep...[]

9. How will the new provincial legislation with respect to conflict of interest on municipal councils, coming into effect January 2019, hinder your effectiveness on council?

Under Bill 68, there will be even more accountability and transparency because the public and City Councillors will have access to an Integrity Commissioner who will investigate conflicts of interest and provide advice to Councillors. I personally do not believe it will greatly impact my effectiveness as a City Councillor since I have always strived to be open and accountable.

10. How will you encourage youth engagement, retention, re-attraction and skills development?

We as Council must encourage the continuous growth of post-secondary facilities in Stratford. There is also a need for us to facilitate new business and job opportunities for young graduates and entrepreneurs through new commercial business and industrial plants within the city. As a business owner in Stratford, I have encouraged and signed up many young people for apprenticeship programs and we as a City should also promote this.