David C. Onley, the 28th Lieutenant General of Ontario, passed away at the age of 72 this weekend, according to a January 14 release from the Lieutenant General’s office.
“It is with great sadness that I have learned of the death of the Honourable David C. Onley,” stated the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. “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.”
— Elizabeth Dowdeswell (@LGLizDowdeswell) January 15, 2023
Tributes poured in for the former broadcaster who, during his time in office from 2007 to 2014, served as the chair of the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council and a member of the accessibility councils for the Rogers Centre and the Air Canada Centre.
“As the first Lieutenant Governor of Ontario with a physical disability, I care passionately about accessibility,” he said in 2013. “Accessibility is a human right, and accessibility is right.”
According to Mayor John Tory, flags will be flown at half-mast until the date of the State Funeral.
So sad to hear former Ontario Lieutenant Governor David Onley has passed away. On behalf of all Toronto residents, I extend condolences to David’s family, friends, and colleagues. pic.twitter.com/tfHcBeucgF
— John Tory (@JohnTory) January 15, 2023
Justin Trudeau stated that Onley “worked tirelessly to make the world a better and more equitable place.”
The 28th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, an advocate for disability inclusion, and a man with endless compassion, David Onley worked tirelessly to make the world a better and more equitable place. My heart goes out to his family and all who are mourning his passing.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 15, 2023
ZoomerMedia Founder and Citytv Co-Founder Moses Znaimer recalls hiring Onley for “an important, on-camera job” at Citytv.
— Moses Znaimer (@MosesZnaimer) January 15, 2023
Kathleen Wynne, former premier of Ontario, describes Onley as “a gentle, intelligent, compassionate man.”
Inexpressibly sad to hear that our world has lost David Onley. A gentle, intelligent, compassionate man. Much love to his family and friends.
David Onley, former lieutenant-governor of Ontario, dead at 72 | CBC News https://t.co/rIMI6y8oM9
— Kathleen Wynne (@Kathleen_Wynne) January 15, 2023
Others consider Onley a role model.
David Onley to me is always first and foremost the City Pulse news journalist I grew up watching every day.
Well before my Dad’s disabilities in his 40s, David formed my first solid impressions of people with disabilities. I feel like i’ve lost a dear friend today😭 pic.twitter.com/QAXybiC1zF
— Mike Gibbs🏳️🌈🇺🇦 (@Mikeggibbs) January 15, 2023
It is with deep sadness that I learnt of the passing of David Onley, former lieutenant-governor. My sincere condolences to his wife Ruth & their family. I recall fondly seeing the Onleys @UTSC special occasions. He has served Ontario with grace and dignity.
— Mitzie Hunter (@MitzieHunter) January 15, 2023
After his time in politics, Onley became a special advisor on accessibility within the provincial government and was a senior lecturer at the University of Toronto Scarborough.
“Mr. Onley believed so deeply in the goodwill and firm practicality of Ontarians that he saw no reason why we could not lead the world in transforming society so that everyone is able to contribute something of value,” stated Dowdeswell. “And there is no doubt that his legacy has positively impacted the lives of people across Ontario.”