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Julia Hanigsberg - Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. Toronto, ON, CA

Julia Hanigsberg Julia Hanigsberg

President and CEO | Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

Toronto, ON, CANADA

Champion for children and youth with disabilities & healthcare CEO. Expert speaker and leader on diversity, innovation and inclusion.





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Closing Remarks at PACE Forum




Julia Hanigsberg joined Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital as its President and CEO on January 12, 2015. Holland Bloorview is Canada’s largest paediatric rehabilitation hospital and each year serves over 8,000 children and youth with disabilities and complex medical needs. Holland Bloorview is an academic hospital fully affiliated with the University of Toronto. It carries out its academic mission through its research institute, the Bloorview Research Institute, and the Teaching and Learning Institute.

Prior to joining Holland Bloorview, Julia spent nine years at Ryerson University, first as General Counsel and Secretary of the Board of Governors and then as Vice-President, Administration and Finance. She was also interim Dean of the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education.

Her previous positions included numerous roles with the Ontario government including: Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General; Counsel and Special Advisor to two Secretaries of Cabinet; and Chief of Staff to the Attorney General of Ontario. Julia also led the project teams responsible for two transitions of provincial government leadership.

A lawyer by training, Julia has law degrees from McGill University (where she was Editor in Chief of the McGill Law Journal) and Columbia Law School. Following graduation from law school, she clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada. She has held Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Fulbright Fellowships.

Julia has served on numerous volunteer boards. Currently, Julia is a member of the boards of the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation, the Canadian Association of Pediatric Heath Centres, and Canadian Business SenseAbility. She is on the Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario, the CEO Committee of the Toronto Academic Health Science Network, the Executive Advisory Board of FIRST Robotics Canada, the Girls in STEM Council, and McGill University’s Women, Leadership and Philanthropy committee.

Industry Expertise (1)

Health Care - Services

Areas of Expertise (18)

Children's Health


Patient Centred Care


Women in Leadership

Diversity & Inclusion

Girls in STEM

Women in STEM

Women in Science

Patient Engagement


Health Policy

Social Media for CEOs

Governance & Board Relations

Women on Boards

Childhood Disabilities

Hospital & Health Care

Non - Profit Organization

Accomplishments (6)

Top 100 Most Powerful Women 2021 (professional)

Inducted into the 2021 Hall of Fame for winning the Top 100 Award for the fourth time

Top 100 Most Powerful Women 2020 (professional)

Named as a WXN Canada's top 100 most powerful women in the Canada's Most Powerful CEOs category.

Top 100 Most Powerful Women 2019 (professional)

Named as a WXN Canada's top 100 most powerful women in the public sector category.

Top 100 Most Powerful Women 2018 (professional)

Named as a WXN Canada's top 100 most powerful women in the broader public sector category.

Viola Desmond Award (Ryerson University) (professional)

In recognition of fostering a culture of equity and inclusion for Black faculty, staff and students at Ryerson University.

Women of Influence Diversity Champion (professional)

In honour of championing diversity, equity and inclusion.

Education (4)

Rotman School, University of Toronto: Certificate, Not For Profit Governance 2007

Columbia Law School: LL.M., Law 1995

McGill University Faculty of Law: B.C.L./LL.B., Law 1991

McGill University: B.A., Philosophy 1987

Affiliations (7)

  • Canadian Business SenseAbility Board of Directors
  • Children's Healthcare Canada
  • Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario
  • FIRST Robotics Executive Advisory Board
  • International Women's Forum
  • Kids Health Alliance
  • Toronto Academic Health Science Network

Media Appearances (17)

Do vaccine mandates really put health care systems at risk?

Global National  tv


Julia Hanigsberg speaks to why it was important and necessary to have a mandatory vaccination policy and clarifies that it has not affected its ability to care for its patients.

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Julia Hanigsberg - ON Point with Alex Pierson

Global News Radio  radio


Alex talks with Julia Hanigsberg, President and CEO of Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Member of the Children’s Health Coalition about the school closures in Toronto, and how it is negatively effecting the children and not helping to stop the spread of COVID-19

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10-year-old girl encourages others to wear masks

CTV News Toronto  tv


In response to the mandatory masking bylaw in Toronto and surrounding areas, Pauline Chan speaks with Holland Bloorview ambassador, Gavi, and her parents about the importance of wearing masks to protect those that may not be able to due to a disability or medical complexity. Julia Hanigsberg also comments on the topic – asking everyone to show some “COVID kindness” by either wearing a mask or accepting those that can’t.

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Julia Hanigsberg: Odd One Out

Accidental Intellectual  online


Discussion about her unique career trajectory, the positive impact that shared personal experiences can have on health care, the importance of representation in media, blurring the line between professional and personal content on social media, family partnership in health care, and much more.

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Students from Japan visit Toronto children's rehab hospital

CTV News Toronto  tv


Holland Bloorview hosted a cultural exchange experience for nine Japanese students at its Spiral Garden through Support our Kids, a not-for-profit organization aimed at providing support to children who have survived the 2011 earthquake in Japan.

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New Priorities in Neurodevelopmental Disorders

TVO The Agenda  tv


Panel discussion on latest research findings, family experience and health system perspective.

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Transforming the care of children and youth with disabilities with Julia Hanigsberg, president and CEO, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada  online


Speaking candidly about leadership, driving change, disability stigma and the intersections of personal and professional life in HIROC's Healthcare Change Makers podcast.

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'I'll break the barriers': New ad campaign tries to end stigma plaguing youth with disabilities  online


The year-two launch of Holland Bloorview's Dear Everybody campaign, which is aimed at changing the way people look at children with disabilities.

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Capes for Kids continues mission to help children with disabilities  online


Capes for Kids raises awareness and funds for children and youth with disabilities. Julia Hanigsberg, campaign ambassador, Abby, and her mom Beth, speak to the initiative's importance.

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'Dear Everybody' campaign aims to end disability stigmas  online


Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital launches 'Dear Everybody' - a public awareness campaign dedicated to breaking down disability stereotypes.

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Robotics Programming Inspiring Young Minds at Holland Bloorview

CityTV  tv


Children with disabilities are getting a STEM education as well as learning about robotics thanks to a new program at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.

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The Mistake of Defining a Child by a Diagnosis

Huffington Post  online


If everyone could see what I see, I’m convinced Canadians would rethink their beliefs about childhood disability. Like any child, kids with disabilities experience happiness and fulfillment in a variety of different ways.

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Health Leaders Series: Interview with Julia Hanigsberg on Innovation and Children's Rehabilitation

Figure 1  online

What are some treatments, technologies, therapies, or programs Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital has pioneered? One of the amazing things about having a research institute at the hospital is that we develop innovative technologies that directly benefit kids with disabilities. Often our clients are the first to benefit from these innovations, but the goal is to benefit kids across Canada and the world.

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#CEOJulia (or how to be a Social CEO)

The Social C-Suite  online


Active on Twitter and LinkedIn and also a regular blogger, Julia caught The Social C-Suite’s attention and we decided to interview her for our Social CEO of the Week feature. As usual, the interview was conducted entirely via Twitter. We are the Social C-Suite after all!

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Why Women Executives Need to Get Social

Forbes  online


Women executives need to get on social media.

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Julia Hanigsberg Knows First Hand That Every Family is Unique

BLOOM  online


Interview with President and CEO of Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital who is also a mom of a daughter with a disability.

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What I Learned From My Wildly Busy Mentor

The Globe and Mail  print


Experience of job shadowing Julia Hanigsberg.

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Event Appearances (4)

Remaking Yourself as an Executive After Law

Women General Counsel National Conference  Toronto Board of Trade


Leading Culture Change in Patient and Family Centred Care

HealthAchieve (Ontario Hospital Association)  Metro Toronto Convention Centre


Diversity on Boards Panel

DiverseCity on Board Expansion  G Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education, Ryerson


Emerging Health Leaders Speed Mentoring

HealthAchieve (Ontario Hospital Association)  Metro Toronto Convention Centre


Articles (9)

OPINION: Grown-ups, we are failing our children

Toronto Sun

Julia Hanigsberg, Dr. Jeffrey Pernica, Kimberly Moran


Julia Hanigsberg co-authors an opinion piece with the chief of pediatric infectious diseases at McMaster’s Children’s Hospital and the CEO of Children’s Mental Health Ontario re: importance of keeping schools open during the pandemic.

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Today’s pediatric health-care crisis felt acutely by the most vulnerable


An opinion piece about the crisis in health care experienced by kids in Ontario, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic. The Children’s Health Coalition (Holland Bloorview is a member) is sounding the alarm and calling for $375 million to “clear the backlog and seal the current gap in surgeries and procedures, mental health support, child development and rehabilitation services, and home care solutions to those waiting.”

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Health care transformation - the view from the kids' table

Hospital News


Ontario's health care transformation and its implications for children.

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Disability often excluded from the drive for diversity

The Globe and Mail


In light of National Disability Awareness Month, sharing tips for employers to reflect on regarding inclusive hiring practices for youth with disabilities.

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Harnessing creativity and risk-taking for impact

Hospital News


Embracing an innovative mindset to bring about change in healthcare.

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A Future of Possibilities

Hospital News


What does a children's rehabilitation hospital do? Learn more.

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Connecting2care for children and families

Hospital News

Where we once saw “incurable,” we now see possibility. Kids and youth and their families actively partner with their care teams at the hospital to set their own goals and plan their transition to home and community.

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There is no such thing as work life balance

Globe and Mail


Women need to rethink work-life balance. Learn more.

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Put People First and Reap the Rewards

Globe and Mail


How you treat your team is the most important thing a leader can do.

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