Online conference speaker

Sadhu A. Johnston

City Manager, City of Vancouver, Canada

Sadhu Johnston is responsible for the management of the City of Vancouver, supports the Council in making the City of Vancouver in BC, Canada, an even more vibrant and sustainable community, and oversees the over 1.5-billion-dollar annual budget and over 7,000 employees.

Under Sadhu’s leadership, the City has created more rental housing than Vancouver has seen in decades, successfully rolled out the first Empty Homes Tax in North America, which generated tens of millions of dollars to invest in affordable housing, and has served as a model for other cities. He has pursued innovative housing solutions, such as addressing the housing crisis with temporary modular housing, another model being emulated across the country.

With his guidance, major public space legacies were created like the Arbutus Greenway, the closure of Robson Street at the Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG) to create a major downtown plaza and many more pedestrian-friendly plazas.


Sadhu played a leadership role in supporting the City’s work to be a Canada’s first City of Reconciliation, hosting the first major Reconciliation walk attended by over 70,000 people and worked in partnership with the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, as the City continues to evolve.


During his time at the City of Vancouver, Sadhu helped to oversee the implementation of the Greenest City Action Plan (GCAP) with carbon emission reductions, major waste diversion programs, separated bike lanes, electric vehicle and car sharing proliferation across the city; and capital projects like the Burrard Bridge, Killarney Seniors Centre, new childcare projects being built on parking garages downtown and the replacement of the Evelyn Saller Centre and Roddan Lodge in the DTES. Sadhu is a founder and was co-chair (2009-2015) of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN), a network of municipal staff focused on greening their cities.


Prior to moving to Vancouver, Sadhu served as Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley’s Chief Environmental Officer and Commissioner of the Department of the Environment, where he was responsible for the oversight of City of Chicago environmental initiatives and oversaw the development and implementation of the Chicago Climate Action Plan.

Prior to moving to Chicago, Sadhu lived in Ohio City, Cleveland, where he helped to establish the Cleveland Green Building Coalition.