Michael Coteau has lived a Canadian success story as an immigrant who worked hard to get ahead. He has focused his career in business, education and public service on giving back to his community.
Michael was born in Yorkshire, England in the early 1970s. His mother is English and his father is Grenadian, and they immigrated with their young family to Canada when Michael was a toddler. Growing up in a proud, hard-working but economically challenged neighbourhood taught Michael the value of community, the importance of education, but also the challenges facing working-class neighbourhoods across the province.
Michael was the first member of his family to graduate high-school and university. He became president of the Carleton Young Liberals, and graduated with degrees in history and political science.
After graduation, Michael worked as an English-as-a-Second-Language teacher. He started his own small business in web development and became executive director of a national literacy nonprofit. Michael also worked as a community organiser with a United Way affiliate.
He ran for school board trustee in 2003, and was re-elected to serve his ward two times. At the school board, Michael fought for better student nutrition programmes, after-school programming and the incorporation of digital technology in the classroom. He was elected by his colleagues as vice-chair of the board.
Michael was first elected Member of Provincial Parliament for Don Valley East in 2011. In government, Michael took on challenging files, including serving as Minister of Children and Youth Services tasked with reforming supports for autism, and Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, with responsibility for delivering a successful Pan and Parapan Am Games. He also served as Minister of Community and Social Services, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism. The Toronto Star called Michael “the busiest MPP—times three” because he ran three ministries at once in the former government.
In 2018, Michael defeated star Conservative candidate Denzil Minnan Wong, Toronto’s deputy mayor, to win his third election serving his North York constituency. He is one of the seven Liberal MPPs in the Legislature.
He and his wife, Lori, have two young daughters.