Daryl Rock


Daryl Rock is a philanthropist, social entrepreneur, business owner and former federal public servant. Daryl began his public service career serving in the Canadian Armed Forces. After sustaining a spinal cord injury (non-military related), Daryl returned to university graduating with a BA and Political Science and an MA in Public Administration. After graduation Daryl joined the federal public service where, over the next 20 years, he worked in increasingly senior positions designing and leading social, labour market and research funding programs in the departments of the Secretary of State, Human Resources Development Canada and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Daryl’s commitment to community service extends beyond the workplace and includes many national, provincial, and local organizations. Over the past 30 years he has not only participated in but helped design and lead many charities and not-for-profit groups including Freedom at Death Canada, the Healthy Aboriginal Network, the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation, the West Wind Association, and the Ontario Commandery of the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem.

Daryl and his wife Melanie moved to Vancouver in 2006. In 2010 he became the founding chairman of the Rick Hansen Institute and in 2012 led the creation of the Global Accessibility Map. Moving back to Ottawa in 2017, he now commits his energy to philanthropic activities, volunteering, investing, and travel. Daryl is currently a member the National Capital Commission’s Accessibility Advisory Committee, founding director of West Wind Association and co-founder and chair of Freedom at Depth Canada. With the goal of helping develop young leaders with disabilities, in 2019 Daryl and Melanie established four four-year scholarships at Carleton University to support students with physical disabilities achieve an undergraduate degree in any of the STEM disciplines.

His activities are guided by four core principles: the belief that we can achieve more by working collaboratively than we can by working alone; a desire to actively engage in community initiatives to make life better for everyone; the importance of lifelong learning; and finally, a commitment to work/family life balance.

Daryl is an avid scuba, diver, enjoys fishing, committed to physical fitness, has visited more than 60 countries across six continents and enjoys good wine, spirited conversations and politics.

In recognition of his community service, Daryl was awarded the Canada 125 Medal in 1992, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 and the Order of St. John in 2013. He has also received the Rick Hansen Foundation ‘Difference Maker’ Award for his contributions to society.

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