Cheri DiNovo Biography

Cheri DiNovo

Cheri DiNovo left JCI after Grade 10; Born c. 1951 is a United Church of Canada minister and former provincial politician in Ontario.  Awarded a CM (Companion of the Order of Canada).  She served at the Emmanuel-Howard Park congregation in Toronto before entering politics and since January 2018 has been the minister for Trinity-St. Paul’s Church, Bloor St.  DiNovo was a NDP member for Parkdale—High Park at Queen’s Park from 2006 to 2017.  She performed the first legal same-sex marriage registered in Canada in 2001.   She is the younger sister of Paul DiNovo.

From her website ( ):

Cheri is known for her 2006-2007 $10 minimum wage campaign, through which over a million Ontarians saw their income increase by 28% over three years, and as the “Queen of tri-party bills” for tabling the most bills in the Legislature that have all three parties’ support.  Cheri has also passed more Private Member’s Bills than any other MPP in Ontario’s record, and has passed more pro-LGBTQ legislation than anyone in Canadian history.

Cheri has been a 40+ year activist for LGBTQ issues.  She was the only woman in Canada to sign the ‘We Demand’ statement in 1971—the first demand for gay rights on Parliament Hill.  In 2012, Cheri succeeded in getting Toby’s Act passed, an amendment to the Ontario Humans Rights Code to include gender identity and gender expression–the first of its kind in North America.  She made history again in 2015 by successfully passing Bill 77, which prohibits “Conversion Therapy” for youth (therapy intended to prevent young people from identifying as LGBTQ [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual or queer]).  This ground-breaking legislation also de-listed “conversion therapy” from OHIP.  Following DiNovo’s introduction of the Bill, President Barack Obama called for a ban of the practice in the United States, and Manitoba tabled legislation to ban the practice as well.

Cheri successfully proposed a bill to fast-track benefits for workers suffering from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and the original Bill on inclusionary zoning, which gives municipalities the tools to address the affordable housing crisis.  Cheri has been an outspoken advocate for cyclists and cyclist safety, including her “1-metre rule”, which the government finally passed as part of their larger transportation bill in 2015.

Summarized from Wikipedia ( / ):

DiNovo grew up in a rooming house owned by her parents.  After family troubles, she dropped out of school at Grade 10 to live on the streets for four years.  During her time on the streets, she helped smuggle LSD into Canada from California inside hollowed-out bibles.  Her time spent at the Fred Victor Mission convinced her to earn her high school equivalency and enrol at York University.  It was during her time at York that she became involved with the student protest movement of the 1960s and joined the Young Socialists of Canada.  An openly bisexual woman, DiNovo was the only woman to sign Canada’s first gay liberation manifesto “We Demand” in 1971.

After university, DiNovo started the Abbott Group, a recruitment firm that specialized in placing women in high-profile jobs.  In 1988, she enrolled at Emmanuel College at UofT, earning her masters of divinity in 1995 and her doctorate in 2002.  She served a rural church in Brucefield, Ont. for two years before beginning her ministry at Emmanuel-Howard Park United on Roncesvalles Ave.  DiNovo began hosting a weekly radio show, The Radical Reverend, on Toronto’s CIUT-FM in 2000.

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