Toronto Catholic School Board Pro-Gay Harassment Policy Threatens Priests

The new "Discrimination and Harassment in the Workplace" policy, recently released by the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB), bans discrimination due to "same-sex partner status" and "sexual orientation". The document, a copy of which has been obtained by, also indicates that teachers and even parish priests could potentially be penalized for what would normally be considered remaining faithful to Catholic teaching on homosexuality.

The Policy preface states, "The harassment and discrimination policy of the Toronto Catholic District School Board is deeply rooted in Catholic teaching." Nevertheless, the policy protects "same sex partner status", defining discrimination as "unfair treatment" based on "race, sex, color, ancestry, place of origin, ethnic origin, marital status, same sex partner status, sexual orientation, age, disability, citizenship, family status, record of offences or religion (creed)."

Harassment is defined as "any vexatious behavior that threatens, intimidates, demeans, humiliates, or embarrasses a person or a group, and that a reasonable person should have known would be unwelcome. It includes actions, comments, or displays. It normally involves a course of conduct but a single act of a serious nature may constitute harassment." The long list of offenses includes, "suggestive remarks" and "the use of stereotypical images or language."

The document indicates that a staff member could use the ambiguity of many of these examples, such as behavior that "embarrasses a person," to push a pro-homosexual or other agenda that contradicts Catholic teaching.

Other examples of harassment are listed as, "differential treatment, and the avoidance or exclusion of any group or individual, for example the refusal to converse or work with an employee because of his/her racial or ethnic background." These examples also suggest that a school principle could be convicted for not hiring an active homosexual who wanted to be a youth counselor or kindergarten teacher.

The Policy also indicates that the regulations apply to everyone involved in the Catholic schools, including the "parish priest." It states, "Every member of this community — student, parent/guardian, employee, contracted service provider, trustee, parish priest or others while on Board property and at Board sponsored events shares in the responsibility for creating an environment that is safe and respectful."

The Policy will be enforced "within offices, staff rooms, classrooms, cafeterias/lunch rooms and other Board property events associated with and including co-instructional and extra-curricular activities situations outside of Board operated premises e.g. field trips, external work assignments, work-related conferences, training sessions, travel or social gatherings activities."

The penalties for committing an offense are swift and severe and could lead to the offender being fired. The Policy states, "Any employee found to have engaged in any type of harassment will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal." The Director of Education will "ensure that corrective measures are taken and disciplinary measures are imposed quickly and without undue delay when a complaint is substantiated, regardless of the seniority of the offender."

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

  • Guest

    One must wonder whether or not there is political or economic pressure behind making a policy decision that so stunningly contradicts the teachings of the Catholic Church.

    Does the Diocese have any input or authority in changing this policy?

    Thank You! for bringing these policies to light! Every Catholic should be aware that such decisions may be made for their schools and demand that the School Boards adhere to the teachings of the Church.

  • Guest

    I do not see how the Diocese could let this stand. If the bishop does permit enforcement, I would expect an immediate appeal to Rome.

    If it's been adopted so that the TCDSB remains eligible for government grants, then my essay on why accepting money from the state is so bad for the Church is being proven correct.

  • Guest

    There is most certainly political pressure behind that statement. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if this objective given in the Board's document wasn't the main reason for the document "Alert and educate employees, volunteers and elected officials of the Board to the fact that harassment is prohibited under the laws of the Province of Ontario …."

    The Ontario province has a Human Rights Code, which covers all employers in the province, which prohibits discrimination using the same language. In fact much of the language of the Board's statements comes directly from the Provincial documents (in particular the problematic phrases about same-sex partners and orientation and a defination of harassment that is quite …. inclusive). There has already been a ruling by a provincial judge, where a Catholic highschool was not allowed to bar a student's same-sex partner from the prom (the school was even prohibited from cancelling the prom).

    In Ontario the Catholic school system is fully funded by the government, due to historical factors from back when the British conquered French Canada, and yes this can and does add problems, but given the wording of the Ontario Human Rights Code, the way it has been interpreted and the fact that it covers all organizations, I'm not sure that being a private school would give much protection in Ontario.

    The board is doing what little it can to mitigate a serious problem when it states TWICE in the document that "The Toronto Catholic District School Board recognizes that its school
    system, consistent with the protection afforded in the Constitution Act
    1867 and confirmed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,
    gives pre-eminence to the tenets of Roman Catholicism. Subsection 19
    (1) of the Ontario Human Rights Code provides that “This Act shall not
    be construed to adversely affect any right or privilege respecting
    separate schools enjoyed by separate school boards or their supporters
    under the Constitution Act, 1867 and the Education Act”. The Board
    does not relinquish these rights."

    quotes from



  • Guest

    Since when does a school board have the right to interfere with the priest?!?!?!?!