William Blair began his career in policing as a beat officer in downtown Toronto. Throughout a career that spans more than three decades, he has worked in practically every area of policing, including drug enforcement, organized crime units and major criminal investigations. As a senior officer, his positions have included divisional commander, community policing programs and detective operations, responsible for all specialized investigative units including the homicide squad, hold-up squad, sex crimes unit, fraud squad and forensic identifications services.
He was appointed Chief of the Toronto Police Service, Canada’s largest municipal police service, in April 2005. Chief Blair has taken a leadership role in provincial, national and international policing. He has overseen the development of the Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS), through which rapid-response teams are deployed to at-risk neighbourhoods to support local policing initiatives.
Chief Blair has been instrumental in promoting Black officers to senior positions. These promotions include the first three Black deputy police chiefs, Keith Forde, Peter Sloly and Mark Saunders, and Sonia Thomas, the first Black female officer promoted to the senior position of inspector. The Toronto Police Force also has a number of Black unit commanders and managers.
Chief Blair’s credentials include a BA with dual disciplines of economics and criminology, and a certificate in law enforcement administration, from the University of Toronto. He also holds a certificate in criminal justice from the University of Virginia. He lectures at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business Management and he has taught courses at Seneca College on topics as diverse as drug investigation techniques and human resources management.
An active community volunteer, Chief Blair is currently on the board of directors of Covenant House, Toronto, and a member of the Honourary Advisory Committee for the Scadding Court Community.
Chief Blair’s many contributions to his profession have earned him several accolades, including both Officer and Commander of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces. He is also a member of the Most Venerable Order of St. John.