Debbie Zimmerman

Debbie Zimmerman

Chief Executive Officer
Grape Growers of Ontario

Debbie Zimmerman is the Chief Executive Officer of the Grape Growers of Ontario since 2003. The Grape Growers of Ontario is the official organization that represents over 500 actively producing growers of 17,000 acres in the province's three viticulture areas: Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie North Shore and Prince Edward County.

Debbie was actively involved in local politics for 36 years that began in 1978 as a local alderman for the Town of Grimsby, and in 1989 was elected to Regional Council. In 1997, Debbie was elected as Regional Chair for the Regional Municipality of Niagara. In 2014, she decided to pursue other interests and did not seek re-election.

Debbie is the past Chair of the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation for the Province of Ontario and was assigned by the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, to the 2015/16 Provincial Review Panel for Ontario's Land Use Plans. She joined the Premier in November 2017 on the Provincial Trade Mission to China and Vietnam. Debbie currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Buffalo/Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority, McNally House and 2021 Canada Summer Games which will provide a lasting legacy for the Region, Ontario and Canada. Most recently, she was a member of the YMCA Board of Directors and a Co-Chair of the Pathstone "Mending Minds" fundraising campaign.

Debbie has been the recipient of many awards including the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce "Community Leadership Award" in 2013, the "Niagara Award" in 1998, the Niagara College "Board of Governors Award" in 2001 and the YWCA "Woman of Distinction" award in 2003. In 2015 Debbie was awarded the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation's "Local Food Champion" award for her commitment to local food and her years of service to Niagara, and in 2017 Debbie was named a "Friend of the Greenbelt" for her work on the Provincial Review Panel.