Hey everyone and welcome to February and if we think about it? Just but a few more weeks before spring marches in eh?
Well, today I am pleased to share our President’s editorial with you and for this week Donna J. Jodhan pays tribute to the late Honourable past Ontario Lieutenant Governor David Onley!
I’m Scott Savoy wishing you a great weekend.
Remembering the late Honourable Ontario Lieutenant Governor David Onley
By Donna J. Jodhan
Remembering the late Honourable Ontario Lieutenant Governor David Onley
I had the privilege and honour of having met this fine and remarkable gentleman when we both appeared in front of the Senate Standing Committee who at that time was conducting hearings on the preparation for the enactment of the Accessible Canada Act.
I can only describe this momentous rainy day as one that truly touched me as I sat talking to this man in the room before the virtual meeting started. The Honourable David Onley was so very interested to hear my views on the state of advocacy in Canada while I at the same time wanted to learn as much as I could about him.
This soft spoken man was so very attentive, kind, and receptive and after our session I told myself that I was very fortunate and privileged to have met him.
R.I.P Honourable David Onley.
Please see the article below
Just my thoughts for today.
Image = Former lieutenant-governor David Onley arriving for his last day in office in Toronto in 2014. David sits, smiling, in a black mobile scooter on a red carpet as he is saluted for his service.
A champion of accessibility.
Former lieutenant-governor dies at 72
Kelly Skjerven Toronto Star With files from The Canadian Press
David Onley, Ontario’s former lieutenant-governor, has died at age 72.
“It is with great sadness that I have learned of the death of the Honourable David C. Onley. On behalf of the people of Ontario, I convey my deep condolences to his wife Ruth Ann, to their children Jonathan, Robert, and Michael, and to their extended families,” Lt.-Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell wrote in a statement.
Onley served as the province’s 28th lieutenant-governor from 2007 until 2014. He was also named to the Order of Canada in 2017.
“His smiling face and exceptional skills as a communicator were already familiar to the many Ontarians who had followed his career in television journalism, which included a focus on science and technology reporting,” Dowdeswell wrote.
Onley, who used a motorized scooter after having polio as a child, was the first visibly disabled person to hold the lieutenant-governor position when he was appointed to the role in 2007.
At the time of Onley’s appointment, former prime minister Stephen Harper described Onley as a “respected author, broadcaster and tireless champion for persons with disabilities.”
Raised in Scarborough, Onley had a long career as a television newscaster, starting with Citytv in 1984 where he was a science and weather specialist.
Onley was also a newscaster for Cable Pulse 24.
Dowdeswell said as a broadcaster Onley insisted he be shown in his mobility device on camera.
“Not content to simply lead by example, he was an active advocate on disability issues, particularly in the area of making the economic case for improved access to employment for people with disabilities,” Dowdeswell wrote.
Before being appointed lieutenant-governor, Onley also served as the chair of the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council and was also a member of the Rogers Centre and Air Canada Centre’s accessibility councils.
“Whenever Mr. Onley entered a room, those present saw beyond physical limitations. They saw a person they liked and admired,” Dowdeswell said in the statement.
“So when his trusted voice defined accessibility as that ‘which enables people to achieve their full potential’ by allowing them to participate meaningfully in social, cultural, and economic life, Ontarians not only heard the words.
They saw the essential truth in the embodiment of the person who said them.”
Dowdeswell said he worked to expand existing literacy and education programs for Indigenous Peoples and emphasized the importance of reconciliation efforts,
but said accessibility issues remained the “overarching theme of his mandate.”
Dowdeswell said he continued to serve as a special adviser on accessibility within the provincial government after leaving office.
But perhaps his most prominent advocacy work came in March 2019 when he completed an independent review of Ontario’s accessibility law, the first of its kind tabled in Canada.
Onley’s scathing report on the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act offered a withering indictment of nearly all aspects of the law and concluded the province was nowhere near its stated goal of ensuring universal accessibility by 2025.
At the time the report was released, he told The Canadian Press that disabled residents were barred from full inclusion in the province at nearly every turn, likening some of the barriers they face to long-abolished Jim Crow laws that perpetuated racial discrimination in the United States.
“This is a matter of civil rights, and people with disabilities are being discriminated against on a daily basis in multiple ways,” he said. “We don’t
like to use the word discrimination because it gets tossed around, but what other word describes the situation? It is discrimination.”
Condolences poured in over social media on Saturday evening after the news of Onley’s passing.
Former Premier Kathleen Wynne tweeted that she was “inexpressibly sad” to hear of Onley’s passing. She described him as “a gentle, intelligent, (and) compassionate man.”
Toronto Mayor John Tory expressed gratitude for Onley’s “legacy of championing disability issues and fighting for accessibility for everyone.”
“Starting with his time as a respected broadcaster he remained down to earth and as such maintained the respect and affection of people everywhere,” Tory wrote.
Vaughan Mayor and former Ontario Liberal party leader Steven Del Duca shared his condolences and said flags at City of Vaughan facilities will be lowered to half-mast.
“(Onley) was a public servant for all the right reasons and dedicated much of his life to making our province a better place to live,” Del Duca wrote.
Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner remembered Onley as “a remarkable person and a real champion for people with disabilities.”
In a social media post, University of Toronto president Meric Gertler wrote the community was mourning the loss of a “true gentleman” and “a lifelong champion of accessibility.”
With files from The Canadian Press
To learn more about me as an award winning sight loss coach and advocate visit www.donnajodhan.com
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