Derek Giberson believes we can build a better Oshawa – and has been putting this belief into practice for over a decade and will continue to do so on Oshawa city council. Derek is consistently elevated into leadership roles by his peers for his ability to advance positive change and work effectively with the people he comes into contact with.
At City Hall
His familiarity with and involvement in Oshawa city politics, spanning back more than a decade without interruption, is unmatched for an individual who has never held public office here previously: over the last 3 years since its inception, he has been chairing the City’s Cultural Leadership Council, providing guidance as the Council, made up of cultural industry stakeholders, has contributed to the ongoing implementation of Oshawa’s Arts, Culture, and Heritage Plan launched in 2014.
He sat on the Pan Am Local Host Committee in 2015, and prior to that he sat for 6-year on the Oshawa Accessibility Advisory Committee, elected and re-elected by his committee colleagues for 4 consecutive years to committee chairperson, leading the OAAC through a vital period as the City underwent a major shift in its practices and policies in accommodating people with disabilities.
This familiarity – with how the city is run, with the roles and interactions of different departments, with how the decisions that are made affect residents – means he can hit the ground running as your councillor for Ward 4.
In The Community
As a board member and current board president of the Back Door Mission For The Relief Of Poverty, one of the main front-line organizations in downtown Oshawa helping the socio-economically marginalized, he has led initiatives to improve the health and safety of the drop-in programs, wrote and received a national grant from the Rick Hansen Foundation to make the facility more accessible, steered the doubling of the Mission’s drop-in hours for clients, and supported other positive changes to better serve those in need in the area.
His relationship with the Mission began when he brought his professional background in the Canadian music industry together with his care for those with less in the community: in 2014 he founded the Professors Of Funk Friends & Family Christmas Special, an annual concert fundraiser which, besides now being the largest single source of the Mission’s revenues raising over $32,000 since the first year, has led to significant new community support and awareness of both the Mission and the general needs of people living in urban poverty in downtown Oshawa. From humble beginnings with just over 100 attending the first year, in it’s 4th year in 2017, numbers had skyrocketed to 650 in enthusiastic attendance.
With the ever-growing need for affordable housing, Derek brings his valuable experience as current vice-president of Parkview Place Senior Housing Residence in Oshawa into the picture. Combined with his role at Back Door Mission, he adds to Oshawa Council a unique and strong knowledge based on active work in finding ways forward to solve issues of housing affordability and social inequity.
He is continuously at work building the cultural sector in the community: he is the recent founder of the Crossing Point Festival, sits on the board of directors of the Durham Region International Film Festival, and has been a mentor to youths since 2012 through the School Alliance of Student Songwriters, an extracurricular program in schools around Durham. Keeping a pulse on the development of post-secondary education in the community, he sits on the Dean’s External Advisory Council for the Faculty Of Social Sciences & Humanities at UOIT.
Awarded for his community contributions by the Region Of Durham in 2014 and 2017 and by Oshawa’s MP in 2017, he is a parent, a Durham College alumnus, a 15-year professional in the Canadian music industry, a resident of downtown Oshawa, and a neighbour who believes Oshawa is a city where everyone should thrive – and he will be a strong voice and advocate for the residents of Ward 4.