"He will be missed": David Onley, former lieutenant general and broadcaster, dies at 72

Jan 15 2023, 9:30 pm

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.”

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.

Justin Trudeau stated that Onley “worked tirelessly to make the world a better and more equitable place.”

ZoomerMedia Founder and Citytv Co-Founder Moses Znaimer recalls hiring Onley for “an important, on-camera job” at Citytv.

Kathleen Wynne, former premier of Ontario, describes Onley as “a gentle, intelligent, compassionate man.”

Others consider Onley a role model.

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.”

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