Dr. Geoff Fernie Receives David C. Onley Award

On Saturday, February 8th, over 500 people gathered at the Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons' (CFPDP) annual Great Valentine Gala.

In tribute to the 28th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the CFPDP introduced The Honourable David C. Onley Award in recognition of extraordinary service to Canadians who live with disability.  Toronto Rehab’s Dr. Geoff Fernie, Research Institute Director and Senior Scientist, was named the inaugural recipient.

With a passion for searching for practical solutions to common daily problems for an aging population and people who struggle with different forms of disability, Dr. Fernie has led the growth of Toronto Rehab’s research enterprise to become one of the most advanced rehabilitation programs in the world. His scope encompasses two broad objectives: the prevention of injury and disease; and helping people to live at home and pursue life of greater independence.

The Honourable Vim Kochhar, Chair Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons, presented Dr. Fernie with his award. “We were very impressed with Dr. Fernie’s work at iDAPT,” he says. “It’s amazing what he is doing to help prevent falls and injury and to promote the message of inclusion.”  

Toronto Rehab’s iDAPT Centre is a network of 15 state-of-the-art research labs, workshops and services credited with revolutionizing the science of rehabilitation. iDAPT provides cutting-edge technologies that allow researchers to recreate real-life conditions where they can study and produce practical new therapies and products to improve quality of life for all, regardless of age or disability.

“I have been working closely with His Honour on projects and his enthusiasm is infectious; I am very proud to be the recipient of the inaugural 2014 Honourable David C. Onley Award,” says Dr. Fernie. “It is wonderful that I am being recognized for something that I love doing – helping to prevent injuries and making it possible for people to live independently at home for as long as they can.”

Dr. Fernie has also developed helpful products that make it easier for people to be independent and live at home, including innovative wheelchairs and lifting devices. He is providing opportunities for individuals who live with disability and helping change the way people perceive disability.

"An engineer, an inventor and a visionary, Geoff Fernie sees the potential in everyone, and almost everything. He has helped re-define accessibility in Canada, and around the world. His kind of thinking is what we need to make our society truly accessible,” says the Hon. David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

Toronto Rehab Foundation congratulates Dr. Fernie on this much-deserved award.

Learn more about Toronto Rehab's rehabilitation research program.