News release: QEII Foundation announces $1-million donation from TD Bank Group to support Atlantic Canada’s first orthopaedic surgical robot and affiliated research

Robotics crew

Today, the QEII Foundation announced a $1-million donation from TD Bank Group (TD) to support Atlantic Canada’s first orthopaedic surgical robot at the QEII Health Sciences Centre. The Mako SmartRobotics system — a robotic arm controlled by a surgeon during hip and knee surgeries — is revolutionizing orthopaedic surgeries and providing better patient outcomes. The funding from TD marks the Bank's largest single donation to date supporting health care in Atlantic Canada.

TD’s investment is a significant step toward the $2.5-million project, which will be fully donor-funded by the QEII Foundation and its We Are campaign. Support from TD for the Mako SmartRobotics system and affiliated research is in keeping with the Better Health area of focus of the TD Ready Commitment, the Bank’s corporate citizenship platform, to support innovative research, solutions and technology that are focused on helping to create more equitable health outcomes for all.

The Mako SmartRobotics system has been used in orthopaedic surgeries since last fall when it arrived at the QEII, making it home to the second surgical robot of its kind in Canada.

The robot allows for unique, case-by-case surgery, accounting for the patient's specific anatomy. It changes both the pre-surgery planning process, and the surgery itself. The robot allows for a joint implant to be positioned more precisely than with the human eye, making orthopaedic surgery more personalized and effective.

The customized approach to each surgery can positively impact patient outcomes. With the precision of the orthopaedic robot, patients can experience less bleeding, less pain, less soft tissue trauma and shorter recovery times.

A team of QEII, Nova Scotia Health and Dalhousie University experts are conducting critical research to validate the efficacy of robotics in hip and knee surgeries. The long-term goal is to broadly offer better, more personalized surgery for Nova Scotians and to lead innovations in robotic arthroplasty globally. This research is being led by Dr. Michael Dunbar, a QEII orthopaedic surgeon and professor of surgery at Dalhousie University, alongside fellow QEII orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Glen Richardson, and Dr. Janie Wilson, professor and director of the School of Biomedical Engineering at Dalhousie University.

In addition to donor funding, the acquisition of this groundbreaking technology was made possible through Nova Scotia Health’s Innovation Hub, collaborating with the organization’s orthopaedic surgeon leads and Stryker — an industry partner and one of the world’s leading medical technology companies — to secure the Mako System.

Quick facts

  • The $1-million donation from TD helps fund the orthopaedic surgical robot and affiliated research and will support the QEII Foundation’s $100-million We Are campaign to transform health care through the QEII.  
  • TD’s support to the QEII Foundation is the Bank’s largest single donation designated to health care in Atlantic Canada. Through the Better Health area of focus of the TD Ready Commitment, the Bank’s corporate citizenship platform, TD aspires to support innovative research, solutions and technology that are aimed at helping to create more equitable health outcomes for all. 
  • The QEII Foundation’s $100-million We Are campaign, which is Atlantic Canada’s largest healthcare fundraising campaign, marks a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address some of the biggest issues in health care. Better access to care, first-in the-world technologies, improving wait times and patient outcomes, with research and innovation intersecting every project.
    • QEII Foundation donors have already raised more than $54 million toward the $100-million campaign goal.
  • Since the arrival of the Mako SmartRobotics system in fall 2021, the robotics team has been phased into the QEII’s orthopaedic’s schedule. As of November 2022, dozens of surgeries have been performed using the ortho robot.
  • Mako SmartRobotics by Stryker is a system that combines CT-based 3D images with haptic technology to guide surgical cuts that are more precise than what the human hand can offer. Haptic technology acts as ‘guardrails’ during the procedure — the surgical cuts are pre-planned, and the system shuts off if the surgeon moves the robot beyond the planned cut.
  • Nova Scotia Health’s Innovation Hub acts as a catalyst to develop and showcase new products and services, like Mako SmartRobotics system has, that will revolutionize knee and hip surgeries for Nova Scotians, and result in better outcomes for patients, the clinicians who serve our population, and the environments in which these services are delivered.
  • Hip and knee replacement surgeries are some of the most developed surgeries in the world. Traditional surgery continues to be an excellent option for patients. The robotics technology is simply evolving these surgeries to the next level of excellence.
  • The QEII Health Sciences Centre is now home to four surgical robots, two of which are fully donor-funded by the QEII Foundation. The QEII is continuing to expand surgical robotics, building on its reputation for innovation and excellence and establishing it as a Canadian leader in innovative surgical robotics, research and care.


"At TD, we are committed to helping create a more inclusive and sustainable future where everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential and believe in themselves. By supporting the QEII Foundation, through the TD Ready Commitment, the Bank’s corporate citizenship platform, we are contributing to helping improve the lives of thousands of patients in Atlantic Canada who will be able to benefit from new technology in orthopaedic surgery."

  • Jennifer Auld, vice-president, TD Canada Trust – Atlantic Region

“It’s the generosity and vision of our donors that empowers the QEII Foundation to invest in the extraordinary so that surgeons, scientists and collaborative researchers can make major advances in how we deliver care. We are grateful to TD, whose investment is contributing to revolutionizing orthopaedic surgery at the QEII.”

  • Susan Mullin, president and CEO, QEII Foundation

“Support from the QEII Foundation and its donors like TD, along with our clinical, academic, research, innovation and business partners, is allowing Nova Scotia Health to spearhead world class innovation and research through the application of robotics technologies to optimize care and outcomes for patients and families. Nova Scotia Health is now a leader in surgical robotics. Having this innovative technology – and this innovative surgical team – is key to our ability as a province to be a magnet that attracts and retains bright minds and top talent.”

  • Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy, vice president of research, innovation and discovery, and chief nurse executive, Nova Scotia Health

“Having this piece of technology will revolutionize the way we provide orthopaedic care for Nova Scotians. For the first time, using this surgical robot, we're able to investigate and precisely replace a joint that is tailored to the patient, by being able to adapt the surgical plan based on their unique skeletal shape and soft tissue envelope. Paired with our research study, what we learn will benefit many people in the future. We are grateful to TD for their generosity and leadership in supporting orthopaedic surgical robotics.”

  • Dr. Michael Dunbar, MD, FRSCSC, PhD, FCAHS, QEII Foundation Endowed Chair Arthroplasty Outcomes, orthopaedic surgeon, QEII, professor of surgery (orthopaedics), Dalhousie University


Additional Resources

  • Photo of Dr. Dunbar, Dr. Wilson, Dr. Richardson and photo of ortho robot team during procedure available here.
  • Photos from gift announcement available upon request following announcement.

Media Inquiries

Fallon Bourgeois

Senior Communications Advisor, QEII Foundation

(902) 240-3857


Research team. Left to right; Richardson, Wilson, Dunbar