The Queen in Ontario in 1959

 His Honour the Honourable David C. Onley

Upon his appointment as Lieutenant Governor, David Onley indicated that the overarching theme of his mandate would be accessibility. However, Mr. Onley—who experienced polio as a child and continues to live with post-polio syndrome—does not limit his focus to those with just visible disabilities. Rather, as he pointed out in his installation address: “Accessibility is that which enables people to achieve their full potential”.​​

Left: In 1959, a young David Onley (dressed in a blue blazer) greets Her Majesty as she visits the Ontario Society for Crippled Children in Toronto.​​​​​

The Honourable David C. Onley was appointed Ontario’s 28th Lieutenant Governor following a distinguished career as a broadcaster.

His Honour has championed disability issues for many years, having served as chair of the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council of the Government of Ontario and as an accessibility council member for the Rogers Centre and the Air Canada Centre.

As Ontario’s first Lieutenant Governor with a physical disability, Mr. Onley has adopted accessibility as the overarching theme of his mandate. He defines accessibility as “that which enables people to achieve their full potential”, and believes that true accessibility occurs when disabled people can fully participate in the social, cultural, and economic life of Ontario.

Because accessibility includes equal access to opportunities such as education, His Honour is expanding the Aboriginal Youth Literacy Initiative to include computer literacy programs.

Mr. Onley was born in Midland, Ontario, grew up in Scarborough, and has been inducted into the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame and the Scarborough Walk of Fame. He serves as Colonel of the Regiment of The Queen’s York Rangers (1st American Regiment) in his capacity of Lieutenant Governor, and personally as Honorary Colonel of 25 Field Ambulance. He is the recipient of the Rick Hansen Award of Excellence, the Courage to Come Back Award, and holds 11 honorary degrees.

Achievements and honours

Career highlights

  • 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

Honorary academic achievements

  • Centennial College: Honorary Fellow, 2006
  • Canada Christian College: Doctor of Laws honoris causa, 2006
  • 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
  • Law Society of Upper Canada: Doctor of Laws honoris causa, 2013
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