January 31, 2023

Not every legal development or decision with relevance for 2SLBGTQI people in Canada makes the front page. To make it easier for community members and advocates to keep up with legal news in Canada and around the world, Egale will be publishing a monthly roundup of case law and news items related to 2SLGBTQI people and issues.

Case Law 

In two unrelated cases, a teacher and a school board trustee, respectively, at two different Catholic school boards in Ontario were each sanctioned for their public homophobia and transphobia. Egale welcomes these decisions, which confirm 2SLGBTQI students’ right to a safe learning environment. 

Ontario College of Teachers v Hall, Discipline Committee of the Ontario College of Teachers 

Heard November 9, 2022; decision dated December 14, 2022. 

  • Kennedy Donald Joseph Hall, a former teacher at a Catholic secondary school and member of the Ontario College of Teachers, was found to have engaged in acts of professional misconduct including psychological or emotional abuse of students. In 2018, he told a group of Grade 12 students at a graduation retreat that masculinity was being “squeezed out of young boys” who were pushed toward inappropriate feminine pursuits, that men should work in traditionally masculine occupations, and that men should be at the head of their households. Mr. Hall is the author of a book championing misogynistic gender roles, which he regularly promoted on social media. He regularly published homophobic, transphobic, racist, and misogynistic comments on social media. 
  • Students and parents complained to the College that Mr. Hall’s comments were degrading to women and 2SLGBTQI people. In February 2022, Mr. Hall resigned from his position, and in October 2022, he resigned his membership in the Ontario College of Teachers and signed an Undertaking not to teach in Ontario schools or seek reinstatement in the College. The panel agreed that Mr. Hall’s conduct was both disgraceful and unprofessional. In addition to the Undertaking, he received an in-person reprimand and a three-month suspension of membership. 

Del Grande v Toronto Catholic District School Board, Ontario Superior Court of Justice Divisional Court 

Heard October 19, 2022; decision dated January 13, 2023. 

  • During a public discussion in 2019 about expanding protected categories in the Toronto Catholic School Board’s Code of Conduct, Mr. Del Grande, a Board Trustee, suggested pedophilia, gerontophilia, bestiality and vampirism be included as additional grounds. His comments, which he characterized as “slippery slope” rhetoric, followed an LGBTQ+ member’s emotional disclosure of a gay friend’s recent suicide.
  • An initial investigation found Mr. Del Grande had not been in breach of the Code, prompting strong negative reactions from the Catholic community. The Board reconsidered and found Mr. Del Grande in breach. 
  • Mr. Del Grande sought a judicial review of the Board’s decision. In dismissing the application, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice held that, as a trustee, Mr. Del Grande had a duty to represent all citizens of the Catholic community. The Board’s determination that his “extreme, disrespectful and demeaning language” was in breach of the Trustees’ Code of Conduct was reasonable. 

Canadian News 

Gay man sues federal government, alleging unconstitutional sperm donation restrictions

  • A gay man, Aziz M., has filed a lawsuit with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice against the federal government, claiming that a Heath Canada directive is unconstitutional for prohibiting men who have sex with men (MSM) from donating sperm to a sperm bank unless they’ve been sexually inactive for three months, even if they are in a monogamous relationship. The directive also applies to trans and nonbinary donors who are not men but are categorized as such under the directive.
  • The lawsuit alleges that the policy “perpetuates…false assumptions about” gay and bisexual men’s “health, their sexual practices and their worthiness to participate in child conception”. Currently, all sperm bank donations are subject to screening, testing and a six-month quarantine before they can be used.
  • The plaintiff’s lawyer comments that the directive comes from the Ministry of Health itself, so it could be amended swiftly. During the fight to overturn the ban on MSM donating blood, the federal government claimed to have limited powers to intervene because a third party (e.g., Canadian Blood Services) was responsible for the regulation of blood donations.
  • Health Canada remarked that its regulations will reflect the latest progress in science and technology, and that it would consider whether the recent loosening of the blood donation criteria for MSM would apply in the context of sperm donation. 

Religious group’s attitude towards same-sex relationships hurts Winnipeg skate park

  • The Edge Skate Park in Winnipeg, a skateboarding program by the non-profit global Christian ministry Youth for Christ, refused to host a 2SLGBTQI skate session and requires employees and volunteers to agree to a ‘statement of faith’ that restricts them from living openly as 2SLGBTQI people. In the same Youth for Christ complex, a dance program was prohibited by Youth for Christ from hiring a lesbian staffer.
  • Over the last five years, Youth for Christ received over $1 million of funding from three levels of government, the bulk of which was from the federal government. These controversies could trigger a national debate: Should religious groups with openly homophobic and transphobic policies be funded by public money? 
  • Having declined to comment on specific cases, a spokesperson from the Government of Canada remarked that if a publicly funded organization is later found to violate the articles of agreement, the funding may be revoked. 

Ukrainian pride organization requests more housing help for Ukrainian LGBTQ refugees 

  • KyivPride, a Kyiv-based pride organization, is calling on Canadians to offer more housing accommodations to LGBTQ Ukrainian refugees.
  • An individual close to KyivPride says finding housing in the earlier days of the Russian invasion was comparatively easy, but after a year, this conflict is no longer at the top of people’s minds.
  • KyivPride says it is still actively relocating the most marginalized members of Ukraine’s LGBTQ community and more houses are needed for this purpose. 

Trans advocates shut down transphobic talk at McGill University 

  • A successful protest by supporters of trans rights led to the cancellation of a talk by Robert Wintemute, who is a trustee of the LGB Alliance, a British transphobic hate group, shortly after it began on January 10, 2023. The Canadian chapter of the LGB Alliance had lobbied against Bill C-4, which criminalized conversion therapy. 
  • Wintemute had intended to discuss his opposition to laws that make it easier for trans people to change their legal sex designation. He claimed that he was speaking on behalf of cis women, who he baselessly claimed are afraid to speak out against trans rights for fear of reprisal.

International News 

United States 

Lawsuit by LGBTQ students alleging discrimination at religious schools fails in court 

  • A federal judge in Oregon dismissed a lawsuit by LGBTQ current and former students at Christian colleges alleging the unconstitutionality of certain religious exemptions under Title IX, a cornerstone of anti-discrimination law in the US.
  • The exemptions allow schools that receive public funding to discriminate against students and staff “on the basis of sex,” which is generally understood to include sexual orientation and gender identity, for religious reasons. 
  • In dismissing the lawsuit, the federal judge held that the plaintiffs had not met their burden of proof in claiming the exemptions were designed to allow discrimination, and that the purpose of the exemptions was to accommodate religious beliefs.


LGBT victims of Nazi persecution commemorated in Germany 

  • On January 27, the 78th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, the German parliament commemorated the victims of the Nazi regime. For the first time, it emphasized those who were incarcerated and murdered based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. 
  • West Germany kept Nazi-era laws that criminalized male homosexuality in place until 1969, meaning that LGBTQ people continued to suffer long after the end of the war. 
  • The German parliament stressed the importance of continued commemoration of all victims of Nazi persecution and ongoing vigilance to discrimination and violence against minorities.