Top honour for research leadership

News Archive
Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, announced on December 29, 2017 the appointment of our esteemed Toronto Rehab Research leader, Dr. Geoff Fernie, to the Order of Canada.

This honour recognizes Dr. Fernie’s advancements in the field of rehabilitation engineering, notably in the development of therapies and products designed to assist individuals with limited mobility.

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 the top rehabilitation research centre in the world. His scope encompasses two broad objectives: the prevention of injury and disease; and helping individuals and their family caregivers continue to live in their own homes as they age.

Dr. Fernie has maintained a focus on the reduction of falls through the development of innovative mobility products, non-slip winter footwear and improvements to accessibility and building codes. He has made significant advances in preventing hospital acquired infections by improving hand hygiene. His recent involvement in the development of a disposable instrument for home diagnosis of sleep apnea has the potential to significantly reduce the prevalence of cardiovascular complications resulting from untreated sleep apnea.

He has been responsible for many products that assist people's independence, including innovative wheelchairs and bathroom aids. Many of his inventions have reduced the physical burden of caring for people, including the prevention of back and shoulder injuries in professional nurses and family caregivers caused by lifting and moving people.

Created in 1967, the Order of Canada, one of our country’s highest civilian honours, recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. The contributions of recipients are varied, yet they have all enriched the lives of others and have taken to heart the motto of the Order: DESIDERANTES MELIOREM PATRIAM (“They desire a better country”).

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Fernie on this most deserved appointment.

In photo: Dr. Geoff Fernie at the Toronto Rehab Foundation’s Guinness World Records-setting Rocket Ride For Rehab on October 14, 2017.