2024 INDUCTEE Sir Thomas Roddick, MD Building our health organizations and systems


July 30, 1846

(Harbour Grace, Newfoundland)


February 20, 1923


MD, McGill University (1868)

Awards & Honours:

1914: Knighthood conferred by King George V in recognition of medical contributions to Canada

1914: Membership, Royal Society of Canada

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Transformed Canadian medicine by standardizing education and care

Thomas Roddick Sketch

A visionary in establishing national standards in medicine

The Late Sir Thomas Roddick, MD was a physician, educator and Member of Parliament who changed the face of Canadian medicine. He is best known as one of the earliest promoters of antisepsis as common practice in Canada. Dr. Roddick saved countless lives by advancing awareness of this discovery at a time when high post-operative infection rates were standard. Moreover, he was among the first to use these antiseptic methods to treat wounded soldiers. Dr. Roddick’s greatest achievement, however, was a political legacy - one that united the provinces in offering better medical care. His concern for patient safety in light of unstandardized medical education and practice led him to advocate for a uniform system that would encourage consistent care. After 18 years of tireless work, the Canada Medical Act, also known as “The Roddick Bill,” was enacted and the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) was established. His many honours included recognition as ‘honorary president for life’ of the Canadian Medical Association, honorary fellowship in the Royal College of Surgeons of England and membership in the Royal Society of Canada.

Note: Dr. Roddick's accomplishments were meritorious, however his record of service during a time when the Canadian Government breached terms of treaties with Indigenous communities must also be noted. Dr. Roddick was called to serve as part of Canada’s first military medical corps during the North-West Resistance as a field surgeon and was charged with both surgical and administrative duties. The CMHF acknowledges this fact in Dr. Roddick’s career, understanding that we must learn from history and recognize this battle that had lasting and traumatic effects on Indigenous communities, especially our Métis colleagues.

Key Facts

Helped to develop and pass the Canada Medical Act (often known as “the Roddick Bill”), which established universal standards for medical practice in Canada

A highly regarded surgeon and educator, also known for his role in promoting antisepsis as common practice in Canada

Served as the first chief surgeon of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal

Founder and first president of the Medical Council of Canada

Received many honours during his career including “honorary president for life” of the Canadian Medical Association, honorary degrees and a knighthood

The Roddick Gates were formally opened at McGill University in 1925

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

While his clinical work included important contributions like greater awareness of antiseptic methods, Dr. Roddick’s crowning achievement was his work toward establishing a uniform standard of medical education and practice across Canada. He spent almost 20 years promoting the Canada Medical Act, more popularly known as “the Roddick Bill,” which established a national medical council for registering and licensing physicians with representation from all provinces. The result of this work was the Medical Council of Canada, which continues to ensure a safe standard of care for Canadians today.

Roddick pic 2



To few medical men is given to be so widely and so generally respected, and to have been able in so many ways to render great service to his country.