Court Sides With Catholic School Board Against Anti-LGBTQ Trustee

Michael Del Grande

An Ontario court has ruled that the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) acted legally in censuring one of its trustees who was sanctioned by the Board for trying to disrupt a discussion of an inclusive gender identity policy, by raising an amendment to include fetishistic behavior.

In 2019, the TCDSB was debating whether to include gender identity and expression, family, and marital status as protected grounds for discrimination in its code of conduct, in alignment with new human rights legislation and direction from the provincial Ministry of Education. Although this new policy was supported by the Archdiocese of Toronto, Board Member Mike Del Grande protested the initiative by proposing to include vampirism, pedophilia, cannibalism, bestiality, and gerontophilia in the new code of conduct.

After the Board sanctioned him for disrespecting the LGBTQ community by putting administrative sanctions on him for three months.  The sanctions included requiring Del Grande issue a public apology and also undergo diversity and equity education.

Del Grande then sought judicial review of the Board’s sanctions. A three-member panel of the Superior Court of Justice Divisional Court rejected Del Grande’s complaint against the Board, reported the Toronto Star  

The amendment was not accepted, and Del Grande was subsequently censured by the board. He Del Grande argued that his comments were constitutionally protected and that the board’s decision to censure him was corrupted by political influences. However, the court ruled that the TCDSB had the legal authority to issue sanctions and that Del Grande’s actions had violated the code of conduct by “creating an unwelcoming and harmful environment for certain members of the Catholic school board community.”

Trustee Maria Rizzo responded to the court’s decision to the decision:

“What I’ve said all along is that all children are made in the image of God and deserve to be included in our school system so that when they walk into our schools, they know that they belong. In this case, Mike Del Grande was wrong and he will have to deal with sanctions that were given to him. They weren’t severe sanctions but under our rules… the board had the legal authority to (issue sanctions) and have now proven that in a court of law.

Trustee Markus de Domenico, who was instrumental in leading the Board’s opposition to Del Grande’s remarks, commented on the case:

“The Toronto Catholic school board continues to work very hard to build bridges with every marginalized community so that they feel included and not in any way lessened by our actions and our words.

“Words of a public official are very important. We have a platform to reach thousands and thousands of people so what we say is important. We have a long way to go but we are making great progress. Comments like trustee Del Grande’s were a setback.”

For Bondings 2.0’s previous reporting on this case, click here, here, and here.

–Bobby Nichols, New Ways Ministry, January 30, 2023

1 reply
  1. John Michael Lee
    John Michael Lee says:

    Congratulations to the TCDSB for censuring Mike Del Grande. He has been an irrational and obstructive presence to the Board for decades. I would think that the Board has reason to disqualify him for further membership on the Board.
    Fr. John M. Lee, C.P. (former teacher and chaplain within the TCDSB)


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