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Faculty member and former lieutenant-governor The Hon. David Onley receives Order of Canada

David Onley, pictured here with Rick Hansen during a tour of the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, recently was invested as a member of the Order of Canada. (Photo by Ken Jones)

The Hon. David Onley, one of U of T Scarborough’s most distinguished alumni and a lecturer at the campus, has been officially invested as a member of the Order of Canada. 

Onley, who served for seven years as Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor, has been a passionate advocate for disability rights.

“Throughout his career, he has advanced the public’s understanding of people with disabilities, particularly during his tenure as Ontario’s lieutenant governor, where he made inclusion and accessibility the overarching themes of his mandate,” says a statement from the Order of Canada website.  “He continues to work toward greater accessibility in his province as a special advisor to the Government of Ontario.”

He was officially invested on Friday during a morning ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.

Since 2014, Onley has taught classes at U of T Scarborough, bringing a unique perspective from his years at Queen’s Park. He also works with students on research projects, using papers from his term in office and works with staff of the UTSC Library to archive his papers. In 2015, Onley served as the University's Special Ambassador for the 2015 Pan Am & Parapan American Games. 

Onley, who graduated from U of T Scarborough in 1975, served as student council president at what was then known as Scarborough College. The early 1970s was a time of great student activism, and he remembers the administration reaching out to involve students—leadership that he considers enormously impressive.

Onley is a recipient of the Rick Hansen Award for Excellence and the Courage to Come Back Award, and holds 11 honorary degrees including an honorary Doctor of Laws from U of T, received in 2009.


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