Incredible leader passes the torch

News Archive
After over two decades of dynamic and visionary leadership, Dr. Gaétan Tardif is retiring from his role as Program Medical Director for Toronto Rehab and Physiatrist in Chief for University Health Network.

Dr. Tardif was recruited from Ottawa in 1998 to become the first Chief Medical Officer of the newly-formed Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (having merged from four hospitals into one). Toronto Rehab then promised to provide unique, multi-specialty care to patients. Since that time, Dr. Tardif has helped grow Toronto Rehab into one of North America’s leading rehabilitation sciences centres.

“Gaétan’s robust and charismatic leadership has inspired and elevated our fundraising efforts,” says Cindy Yelle, President and CEO of Toronto Rehab Foundation.

His outstanding work in the field of leadership was recognized in 2016 when he was awarded with the Canadian Society of Physician Leaders (CSPL)'s highest honour: The Excellence in Medical Leadership (Chris Carruthers) Award.

He has also been instrumental in building the Paralympic movement in Canada. Having first organized medical services for the 2002 Paralympic Games in Salt Lake City, he went on to serve a number of roles including President of the Paralympic Committee, and attended a total of 10 Games, including Athens, Torino, Beijing, Vancouver, London, Toronto, and Rio.

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Fundamental in building Toronto Rehab’s unparalleled brain and spinal cord rehab program, clinician scientist Dr. Mark Bayley has been selected to succeed Dr. Tardif. It was Dr. Tardif who recruited Dr. Bayley to establish Toronto Rehab’s Neuro Rehab program in 1999.

Dr. Bayley’s position has since expanded to Medical Director of the Brain and Spinal Cord Rehab Program where he is passionate about integrating  research into day-to-day practice by establishing clinics such as Toronto Rehab’s Hull-Ellis Concussion and Research Clinic, The Rocket Family Upper Extremity Clinic and LIFEspan (Living Independently Fully Engaged). In 2014, he was named the Saunderson Family Chair in Acquired Brain Injury Research at Toronto Rehab.

Dr. Bayley is interested in improving health care systems through rapid access to care and rehabilitation and is excited by the opportunity to integrate with all of UHNs programs and services to optimize the role of rehabilitation in helping patients return to the community safely with enhanced function.

Congratulations to Drs. Tardif and Bayley as they begin these new chapters in their lives and thank you to them both for their vital leadership that has helped Toronto Rehab to be Where Incredible Happens.

In photo: Dr. Gaétan Tardif as a torchbearer during the 2015 Parapan Am Games in Toronto