About Rowena Santos

Rowena is a proud Bramptonian inspired by community and driven by a passion to change the culture of politics to move our city forward. She was elected in 2018 to Brampton City Council for Wards 1 & 5. She is the first Filipino and one of few women on Council.

Rowena holds a H.B.B.A. degree from the Schulich School of Business, and a Masters in Sustainable Development and Environmental Planning from the London School of Economics. Prior to being elected, she worked at the Ontario legislature for over a decade, most recently as a director, and has mentored countless youth to be politically active across the Greater Toronto Area. Before politics, Rowena worked in several top-tier corporations including Magna, R.B.C, and General Mills. She was also the Program Manager of Corporate Citizenship with Imagine Canada, and Executive Director of Emagine, working with venture capitalists and entrepreneurs at the Centre for Social Innovation.

During her first term of Council, Rowena fought to keep taxes low, supporting a city property tax freeze that lasted four consecutive years, while making record contributions to the City’s financial reserves.

She has taken a progressive approach to housing developments in Brampton. She believes that smart growth and redevelopment are vital to increasing supply to address the ongoing housing crisis. The keystone of this plan was abolishing the minimum parking requirements for new builds to eliminate obstacles to building in Brampton. 

Rowena led through the Covid-19 pandemic and co-chaired the Covid-19 Social Support Task Force to coordinate a response to homelessness and food insecurity for Brampton’s vulnerable communities.

Rowena has always been an advocate, serving on the board of directors for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (F.C.M.).

Her advocacy resulted in the approval of the Rogers Cyber Secure Catalyst and the announcement of a new medical school. The City of Brampton is also in negotiations for the relocation of the University of Guelph-Humber to Brampton. 

Brampton is Canada’s fastest growing big city and has lagged significantly in healthcare access as measured by beds per capita (less than half of the provincial average). Rowena championed the declaration of a healthcare emergency months prior to the global pandemic to bring attention to the need in the city. This effort helped secure the provincial announcement of a second full-scale hospital at the Peel Memorial site in Brampton. She continues to advocate for a third hospital.

Rowena is committed to defending women’s rights, including working with community stakeholders to end gender-based violence and break the silence. 

Rowena is a champion for affordable transit, active transportation, and road safety, with a track record of accomplishments:

  • Brampton is on track to become the first municipality to have a fully electric bus system,
  • Approved a free transit for seniors’ program,
  • Advocated for traffic calming and stop signs to reduce speeding,
  • Supported the implementation of Canada’s largest automated speed enforcement camera program, and
  • Championed the implementation of bike lanes across the city during the pandemic.

Rowena was raised in Brampton and is raising her son in Wards 1 & 5. As a supporter of the arts, she also enjoys playing with her local band Point of Order. She believes in living a healthy and active lifestyle, regularly running, and biking the Etobicoke Creek Trail, working out at the local Y.M.C.A. and daily on the Peloton.