When David C. Onley was appointed the Queen’s representative in Ontario, his concern for people with disabilities became front page news. And when he took office on September 5, 2007, Ontario’s 28th Lieutenant Governor became the nation’s most highly placed advocate for accessibility.
The Honourable David C. Onley has championed disability issues on many fronts and for many years. Having lived with polio and post-polio syndrome since the age of three, he has broken through social barriers and become a role model.
In his 22-year career with Citytv, he was Canada’s first senior newscaster with a visible disability. A popular news anchor, host/ producer, science and technology specialist, and weatherman, he showed that ability outshines disability.
His Honour has worked tirelessly to improve accessibility for all. He has chaired the Government of Ontario’s Accessibility Standards Advisory Council, and served on the SkyDome Accessibility Council and the Air Canada Centre Accessibility Committee. He has assisted the Muki Baum Association for Multiple Disabilities, the Ontario March of Dimes, Variety Village, the Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons, and the Centre for Independent Living in Toronto.
For his public service, His Honour has been awarded the King Clancy Award for Disabled Persons, the Courage to Come Back Award, and the Positive Impact Award. He was inducted into the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame and the Scarborough Walk of Fame, and has received nine honorary degrees.
His best-selling novel Shuttle was nominated as Book of the Year in 1982 by the Periodical Distributor’s Association, and he has contributed to television, radio and publications, often with a focus on science, technology, and faith. He co-founded and was president of the Aerospace Heritage Foundation.
Born on 12 June 1950 in Midland, Ontario, His Honour attended local schools then graduated from the University of Toronto in 1975 with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. He worked as an intern at Queen’s Park and attended the University of Windsor Law School.
Achievements and honours
- Citytv: Science and weather specialist, 1984–1989
- Citytv: Anchor, Breakfast Television, 1989–1995
- Citytv: Education specialist, 1994–1999
- CP24: Anchor, 1999–2007
- CP24: Host and producer, Home Page, 1999–2007
- Accessibility Standards Advisory Council (Ontario): Chair, 2005–2007
- Knight of Justice of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem
- Member of the Order of Ontario (postnominal letters: OOnt)
- 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal
- Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
- Viceregal Badge
Honorary academic achievements
- University of Windsor: Doctor of Laws honoris causa, 2008
- University of Guelph: Doctor of Laws honoris causa, 2008
- University of Western Ontario: Doctor of Laws jure dignitatis, 2008
- Nipissing University: Doctor of Education honoris causa, 2009
- University of Toronto: Doctor of Law, honoris causa, 2009
- York University: Doctor of Laws honoris causa, 2009
- Wycliffe College, University of Toronto: Doctorate of Sacred Letters, 2010
- Lakehead University (Orillia Campus): Doctor of Laws honoris causa, 2010
- Loyalist College: Honorary Diploma, 2010
- Carleton University: Doctor of Laws honoris causa, 2011