City Awards Regis and Joan Duffy with Key to City

Regis and Joan Duffy Awarded Key to the City
Posted on 05/29/2024

The City of Charlottetown was very proud to award Regis and Joan Duffy with a Key to the City on Tuesday, May 28 during a celebration at City Hall for their decades of public service and steadfast commitment to the community.

A Key to the City is presented to honoured visitors or residents that Mayor and Council wish to recognize and is one of the City's highest honors; only presented to those whose actions are consistent with the City's vision, mission and goals.

For their outstanding contribution to business, mentorship and philanthropy in the community, the City of Charlottetown is proud to present this award and thanks Regis and Joan for being trusted and respected friends of our community.


“I am deeply honoured to present this Key to the City to two very deserving recipients. The often-times selfless efforts of Regis and Joan have tremendously benefitted our residents, students, visitors and community as a whole for decades. We’re very happy to call them friends.”
– Mayor Philip Brown

“We live in Charlottetown, the birthplace of Canada. It has been a pleasure working with the city and being part of its well-being and growth. Thank you.” – Regis Duffy


Regis was UPEI’s first Dean of Science in 1969. The next year, he founded Diagnostic Chemicals Limited, DCL, initially started to create summer employment for his students. Soon DCL expanded throughout North America and its products served hospitals, labs and clinics around the world. From 1989 to 1997, Regis also served as a member of City Council and Chair of the Finance Committee.

In 2007, DCL sold its diagnostic division and began operating the chemical division under the name BioVectra Incorporated. The same year, Regis was named board chair emeritus for his contributions as a board member and chair.

Throughout his life, he has been awarded the Order of Canada, The Order of Prince Edward Island and the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Atlantic Lifetime Achievement Award. Most recently, he was inducted into the P.E.I. Business Hall of Fame. Additionally, Regis is the founding chair of P.E.I. BioAlliance and a member of the NRC Institute for Marine Biosciences-Institute for NutriSciences and Health Advisory Committee.

Joan Duffy was born and raised in Elmira as the oldest of six children. After high school, she taught nine grades in a one-room school for a year before pursuing education and a teaching career in Montreal.

Joan met Regis in 1973 when he was on a university-related tour in the area. He then introduced Joan to the world of science and to his fledgling company. They got married, settled in Charlottetown, raised three children and found the time and passion to become immersed with the community, the university and the school system.

In 2006, The Regis and Joan Duffy Research Centre opened at UPEI to honour the couple of their contributions to the university spanning more than three decades.

Since 2009, Regis and Joan have continued to generously support Holland College as well. Their investments have contributed to student aid, the establishment of the Florence Simmons Performance Hall and the revitalization of the Culinary Institute of Canada.

They also established the Joan and Regis Duffy Foundation, which supports a wide variety of organizations primarily in P.E.I. and focuses on education, health, culture and youth activities.

Since the City of Charlottetown amalgamated in 1995, the City has awarded keys to the following residents and organizations:

• Lori Kane, 1997
• David ‘Eli’ MacEachern, 1998
• Charlotte Town, 2000
• Brad Richards, 2004
• Brett Gallant Curling Rink, 2009
• Wally Hennessey, 2012
• The Guardian, 2012
• HMCS Charlottetown, 2015
• Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison and Team, 2020

Regis and Joan Duffy Receive Key to City
Mayor Philip Brown, right, presents Regis and Joan Duffy with a Key to the City on May 28 at City Hall. Regis and Joan were selected to receive the key for their decades of committed public service.