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Lieutenant Governor to speak on equity for persons with disabilities

CHAMPIONING ACCESSIBILITY: The Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, will speak at U of T Scarborough on March 11. (Photo by/par Philippe Landreville.)

by Allan Grant

When U of T Scarborough alumnus David 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 a highly-placed champion for accessibility.

His Honour will continue his mandate by delivering a speech at the University of Toronto Scarborough on Wednesday, March 11 at 4:00 p.m. in the Academic Resource Centre (ARC), AC 223.

“Accessibility is that which enables people to achieve their full potential. It is inclusion. Accessibility is a human right and accessibility is right,” Onley stated during his official installation as Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. "My dream is of a province where disability rights are advanced not only for those with classically defined physical disabilities, but also for those so-called invisible disabilities…We must not presume that disability is only represented by a white wheelchair symbol on a blue sign.”

AccessAbility Services at U of T Scarborough, in association with the Office of Student Affairs, the Office of the Vice-President and Principal, and the Department of Student Life, together present the Lieutenant Governor’s upcoming campus speech, which has been titled Championing Accessibility. The event will commence with remarks from representatives of the University regarding His Honour’s contribution to the community and province, followed by the Lieutenant Governor’s speech, and a reception to follow in The Meeting Place.

“It is our hope that this speech will encourage dialogue between students, staff, and faculty,” explains Tina Doyle, Director of AccessAbility Services at U of T Scarborough, “in order to help raise awareness of the barriers to participation for persons with disabilities in our community and society.” Through discussion, Doyle hopes that individuals will be inspired to take action toward a community that enables the full participation of all of its members - regardless of ability, race, ethnicity, aboriginal status, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.

His Honour’s speech on campus follows the recent announcement that he will be awarded an honorary degree by the University of Toronto in 2009. He is being recognized by his alma mater for his lifetime commitment to championing disability and accessibility issues and his pioneering efforts as a role model for those with physical disabilities.

"I am delighted the University of Toronto will have the opportunity to recognize The Honourable David Onley," said David Naylor, president of the University of Toronto. "All of our honorary degree recipients have made significant and far-reaching contributions to their fields and to their communities."

Admission to Championing Accessibility is free. However, seating is very limited. To reserve a spot, visit To ensure your full participation, if you have any accommodation needs, please contact AccessAbility Services at 416-287-7560 or via email at

© University of Toronto Scarborough