David Onley: Bio, Age, Height, Career, Cause Of Death And More
David Onley, who during and after his time as Ontario’s 28th lieutenant-governor became known as a staunch advocate for the rights of people with disabilities, passed away recently. He was 72.
David Onley: Cause of death
The news of his passing was announced in a statement released on Saturday evening by Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell, who is the current bearer of the viceregal office in Ontario and was Onley’s successor in the job.
She did not disclose any information on the circumstances surrounding his passing or the reason for his passing; however, she did say that he is survived by his wife Ruth Ann and three boys.
Dowdeswell, who referred to her predecessor as a “valued friend and colleague,” stated that Onley utilised his position as the first lieutenant-governor of the province to have a physical disability in order to raise awareness of the challenges that other disabled residents face and to assist in removing some of those challenges.
When Mr. Onley entered a room, people who were there were able to see beyond their physical constraints.
According to what Dowdeswell claimed in the statement, “They saw a person that they liked and admired.” Ontarians did not just hear the words when his trusted voice characterised accessibility as that “which helps people to fulfil their full potential” by allowing them to participate meaningfully in social, cultural, and economic life. ” They recognised the fundamental honesty that was embodied in the individual who made the statements.
Onley was given the role of lieutenant governor of Ontario in 2007 and served in that capacity for the subsequent seven years.
Accessibility difficulties, according to Dowdeswell, remained the “overarching theme of his mandate” despite the fact that he strove to expand existing reading and education programmes for Indigenous Peoples and underlined the necessity of reconciliation initiatives.
After getting polio as a youngster, Onley rode a motorised scooter for the rest of his life. He regularly drew on his lived experience when emphasising current accessibility barriers in all aspects of society and he did so by drawing on his own personal experiences.
According to Dowdeswell, his efforts to bring attention to issues like these predates his time in government and could be linked back to his years as a television reporter. He maintained this was the case.
David Onley: Early Career
“During the early stages of his career in the media, camera images frequently concentrated primarily on Mr. Onley’s upper body,” she added. “However, Mr. Onley requested that he be seen in his mobility device.” “He was not one to be satisfied with simply leading by example; rather, he was an active champion on disability problems, notably in the area of making the economic argument for increased access to employment for individuals with disabilities,”
After leaving office, according to Dowdeswell, he continued to work for the provincial government as a special consultant on accessibility issues.
But probably his most notable advocacy effort was done in March of 2019, when he finished an independent assessment of Ontario’s accessibility law. This review was the first of its kind to be presented anywhere in Canada.
Onley’s damning assessment on the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act was a damning critique of practically all areas of the law and came to the conclusion that the province was not even close to achieving its declared objective of establishing universal accessibility by the year 2025.
During the time that the report was being disseminated, he gave an interview to The Canadian Press in which he claimed that disabled residents of the province were prevented from enjoying full inclusion in the province at nearly every turn.
He compared some of the obstacles that disabled residents face to long-since-repealed Jim Crow laws that were responsible for the continuation of racial discrimination in the United States.
According to what he had to say, “this is a matter of civil rights, and individuals with disabilities are being discriminated against on a daily basis in a variety of ways.” We don’t like to use the word discrimination because it’s so overused, but what other word would you use to describe the situation? It is an example of discrimination.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance stated on Saturday that Canada could best honour Onley’s memory by taking bold action to implement his vision of a barrier-free society for people with disabilities.
The statement was made public by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance.
David Onley was a good friend, trusted advisor, and comrade in arms in the campaign of accessibility, according to David Lepofsky, chair of the non-partisan group which advocates for people with disabilities in Ontario. “David Onley was a comrade in arms in the fight for accessibility,” Lepofsky said.
“Only two months ago, he took it upon himself to put pressure on members of parliament in Ottawa to allow the AODA Alliance to give testimony at public hearings on the Trudeau government’s proposed Canada Disability Benefit Act, which is Bill C-22.”
On Sunday, the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, released a statement in which he expressed his “profound sorrow” at learning of Onley’s passing.
The statement says that “as Lieutenant Governor and throughout his life,” he worked relentlessly to increase public awareness about accessibility concerns and encouraged people to “see the ability, rather than the impairment.”
“His achievements to the state, as well as his unflinching dedication to public service, will be cherished and remembered for a very long time.”
Onley’s successor, Kathleen Wynne, who was Ontario’s premier for a significant portion of Onley’s term, expressed her sympathies on Twitter.
She commented that it made her feel “inexpressibly heartbroken to hear that our planet has lost David Onley.” “A lovely, clever, compassionate man. Sending lots of love to all of his loved ones.”
In addition, the Mayor of Toronto, John Tory, sent out a tweet stating that the flags at City Hall and municipal centres would be flying at half-mast until the details of Onley’s state funeral, which have not yet been published.
David Charles Onley CM OOnt was a Canadian broadcaster and novelist who served as the 28th lieutenant governor of the province of Ontario from 2007 to 2014. He was born on June 12, 1950, and passed away on January 14, 2023.
Before being appointed to the position of viceroy, Onley worked as a journalist for television. Before transitioning to covering topics on science and technology for Citytv, his primary role at the station was that of a weather reporter.
Later on, he served as a news anchor for the station that broadcasts round-the-clock news, CablePulse 24, and also hosted a weekly technology programme called Home Page.
He has written books and served as president of the Aerospace Heritage Foundation of Canada when it was first established.
His stint as Lieutenant Governor of Ontario lasted for seven years, making him the third longest-serving viceroy of the province since Confederation.
His successor, Elizabeth Dowdeswell (2014–present), and Albert Edward Matthews both hold the record for longest-serving viceroys of the province (1937–1946).
David Onley: Early Life
David Charles Onley was born in Midland, Ontario on June 12, 1950. He spent his childhood years in the West Hill neighbourhood of Scarborough, which is now a part of Toronto, on Orchard Park Drive.
He received his education at the University of Toronto Scarborough, where he also held the position of president of the student council.
David Onley: Education
He graduated from the university in 1975 with an honours Bachelor of Arts degree and a specialised diploma in political science.
Onley was first diagnosed with polio when he was three years old, which ultimately led to his partial paralysis.
He was able to regain the use of his hands and arms as well as a portion of the use of his legs as a consequence of the intense physical therapy he underwent. Leg braces, canes, crutches, and Onley’s electric scooter helped him travel around so that he didn’t have to rely solely on his wheelchair.
He could operate a vehicle that only had hand controls on it.
Onley began his professional life in the broadcasting industry by hosting a weekly science show for the Toronto radio station CFRB. He later moved on to become a member of the CKO network in the year 1983.
After that, in 1984, he became a weather specialist for Citytv, a role that he continued to play until 1989. In an interview conducted in 2004 by the employment agency Link Up in Toronto, which serves those living with impairments, Onley noted that
I can still hear myself saying to my mother at the time, “I’m not sure whether or not I should accept this position (at Citytv).
I have no idea whether or not they are hiring me because of my disability.” My mother advised me to “just take it,” telling me that I had been rejected due to my disability an adequate number of times.
When I realised that she was correct, I said to myself, “Damn it, she’s right,” and that was the beginning of my career at Citytv.
Between the years 1989 and 1995, he served as the first news anchor on the then-new morning show Breakfast Television, which was broadcast on Citytv. Between the years of 1994 and 1999, he worked as an education specialist for Citytv and CablePulse 24.
When CP24 first went on the air in 1999, Onley was hired to work as an anchor for the channel. Since then, she has also presented and produced the programme Home Page for CP24.