Dr. Justin Maloney, a long-time Ottawa doctor who was instrumental in getting 911 service and advanced care paramedicine in the capital, has died after a battle with cancer.

The Ottawa Paramedic Association called Maloney a remarkable man with an impressive legacy, who always pursued what was right.

“Dr. Justin Maloney has done so much for patients, paramedics and 9-1-1,” the Association wrote. “This man brought greatness to what paramedics do and how we do it. He will forever be in our thoughts.”

Maloney led the campaign to expand paramedicine in the capital, including introducing 911 as an emergency number locally more than 30 years ago, and bringing advanced care paramedics to the city. 

“You are the symbol of what a ‘Great Canadian’ stands for,” said Dr. Richard Dionne, Medical Director of Regional Paramedic Program of Eastern Ontario in a letter to colleagues, obtained by CTV News.

“All of us here are proud to be your colleagues, family, and friends! We also know you well enough that, as you did on Earth, you will mentor the other ‘Angels’, and change Heaven to be an even better place for all of us, when we join you… Until then, we will miss you Justin!”

In addition to bringing Ottawa its 911 service, Maloney was also a proponent of teaching CPR. He co-founded the Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation, which has taught CPR to millions of high school students across Canada.

“Justin has done more for emergency medicine and response times than anyone in the entire city,” Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said Wednesday. “Justin Maloney literally saved thousands of lives as a result of his good work.”

Ottawa Paramedic Chief Pierre Poirier said Maloney was a leader and a mentor to paramedics in the city and had a passion for teaching first aid.

“We feel a great loss that he’s no longer with us. He’s in our hearts and minds,” Poirier told CTV News. “He was a mentor for so many paramedics. He really encouraged the education and the passion to provide good health care to our community.”

Poirier said Maloney understood the need to bring better emergency care to the capital.

“In many respects, I think Ottawa and Ontario was behind the rest of the country in getting 911 and he understood the importance of it and what it meant to the community in terms of getting the appropriate care to the people who needed it,” he said. “A seven-digit number was ineffective and not appropriate. 911 was the best way to go.”

Ottawa paramedics now respond to hundreds of thousands of 911 calls every year, Poirier said.

Maloney graduated from the University of Ottawa in 1971 and spent years as a physician in the capital.

Dr. Michael Austin, an emergency physician at the Ottawa Hospital, told CTVNewsOttawa.ca that he met Maloney in 2010. He called Maloney a visionary when it came to improving health care not only in the city but also across Canada. Despite that grand vision, however, Austin said Maloney never lost sight of the patient.

Justin Maloney and Michael Austin

“He was very compassionate. He was the kind of doctor who would sit down with you and listen to your story,” Austin said. “Even if it was busy, he wasn’t the kind of doctor who would be in and out. He would give you the time you needed.”

He was also a “bit of a jokester,” Austin said.

“At conferences, he’d be the one telling a joke or making a funny face in pictures, he’d keep it light,” he said. “But in meetings, he’d be sitting quietly, taking notes—his strategy in meetings was incredible and I learned a lot from him.”

Dr. Justin Maloney

Maloney also loved the cottage, and Austin said he has many memories of spending time with Maloney and his family.

“Justin was my mentor. He leaves a large hole but this will be filled by all he leaves behind and amazing memories. I am honoured to continue his work and build upon his legacy,” Austin said in an email.

Ottawa's Ron Crook was a close friend who knew Maloney for 45 years.

“He was a renaissance man,” Crook said. “He was interested in so many things and good at them all. He was an avid photographer and interested in music and would make CDs for friends.”

Maloney was awarded the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Cross in 2017 for his work with the ACT High School CPR program.

Maloney was 74.