Human Rights Tribunal puts a lid on toxic whining

TORONTO – In a decision filed April 19,2023, Human Rights Tribunal (HRT) Adjudicator Denise Graham finally put a merciful end to the individual and collective drive-by smears targeting the Toronto Catholic District School Board and five of its trustees. 

In her analysis and decision, Adjudicator Graham, made it clear that “an application to the HRT must fall within the Tribunal’s jurisdiction”. She goes on to remind Applicants and Respondents that the Human Rights Code (HRC) only prohibits actions that discriminate against people based on their enumerated ground(s) within a relationship in a protected social area. This case, Iannuzzi v. TCDSB (and five trustees plus the Ministry of Education), file number 2020-43483-I, did not meet that elementary test. It has no merit.

For the better part of two years, the Applicant, Kyle Iannuzzi, alleged “discrimination on the basis of family status, gender expression, gender identity, marital status and sexual orientation…” On March 31, 2021, after several months of deliberation, the Tribunal sent him a Notice of Intent to Dismiss [his Application]. Iannuzzi continued to insist that he had been aggrieved. Finally, in August of 2022, the HRT issued a request for Additional Submissions and asked all parties to respond to jurisdictional issues. In plain language, the HRT went out of its way to accommodate the Applicant’s demands and claims – at significant organizational human resources cost.

Documents filed with the HRT, and obtained by the Corriere Canadese, suggest the Applicant was seeking $50,000 in compensation from each of the Respondents in return for dropping the case. Mr. Iannuzzi, whom the Adjudicator describes as a [self-identified] “queer man who is a former student of the [Catholic] Board” (ed’s note: some twenty years ago), was invited to delegate at a Board meeting by the Director Brendan Browne and Trustee Chair Joe Martino. That was in the Fall of 2020.

The topic was the need, or not, to review a previous Board Code of Conduct decision in respect of alleged discriminatory statements made, in debate, by one trustee regarding certain sexual orientations in a Catholic environment.

Mr. Iannuzzi claimed that he was heckled and experienced homophobic comments at the meeting. True or not, the Adjudicator found “that the subject matter of the Application is not conduct prohibited by the [HRC] Code…Accordingly, the Application does not fall within the Tribunal’s jurisdiction.”

Adjudicator Graham cites five “authorities” – precedents – in arriving at her conclusions and Decision. In common language, “the subject matter of the Application – Catholic values – is not conduct prohibited...” especially in a Catholic environment (emphasis added).

End of story. For the obstinate people in the audience, it is not illegal to be Catholic – it may be unethical and illegal to be Catholic-phobic.

There is and was no monetary cost to the Applicant. The Respondents are/were required to hire lawyers to defend themselves. Parent/taxpayer supporters of Catholic education may have to pick up the cost, thanks to decisions made by Brendan Browne and his enablers on the Board of Trustees who thought it was good idea to weaponize the Human Rights Code and the Tribunal.

In the pics above: Toronto Catholic District School Board headquarters and, in small photos, from the top: Kyle Iannuzzi (from his Twitter page – @HashtagKyle) and Brendan Browne (from his Twitter page – @TCDSBdirector)