Title: Member of Provincial Parliament
Heritage: English Huddersfield, Yorkshire
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen he moved to Canada with his family at the age of 4, Michael grew up with humble means in Flemingdon Park; his mother cleaned buildings and his father was a maintenance worker. With every step he has taken in his professional life, his decision to go into politics was an easy one as his passion had always lain in the community – mainly the youth. With the right educational training once he completed university, Michael embarked on a journey that would lead to him becoming an MPP for the very area that moulded his upbringing – Don Valley East.
In 2003 he became a school board trustee for Don Valley East, where he had the opportunity to initiate projects that brought about the positive development needed in the area – namely the Community Use of Schools initiative. With this, upwards of 500 schools saw the necessary decrease in user fees for space, and community not-for-profit organizations were able to gain free access to space within schools to run various programs that would benefit their youth. He started a not-for-profit national adult literacy program called AlphaPlus – of which he was CEO and Executive Director – that provided all the tools necessary to service adult learners in a variety of literary streams through the use of technology. During his tenure as a school board trustee (he also ran and was successfully elected again in 2006 and 2010), he also brought awareness to student nutrition and hunger, by supporting healthy food programs. Ever passionate about the literary development of the youth, he was also Marketing Manager of ABC Canada Literacy Foundation where he managed the execution of Family Literacy Day which promotes literacy on a nation level.
While working as an assistant to the Minister of Industry, Mr Coteau did not hesitate jumping at the opportunity to spearhead more programs to help the community. These included Connecting Canadians – providing Canadians with the opportunity to explore their heritage using a Multicultural Newspaper website – and Computers for Schools – a federal government-led initiative that sees to funding and supporting the collection and refurbishing of computers to be distributed to schools, public libraries and not-for-profit learning organizations and Aboriginal communities throughout Canada.
On top of working as an ESL teacher for two years, Michael also worked as a community organizer in Malvern, responsible for organizing the Malvern Youth Cabinet, Law and Order Youth Group and the Malvern Photo Club – a club whose success was portrayed on CBC The National. Michael has also been heavily involved with United Way as chair of the Redemption Reintegration Services which provides services to youth in the criminal justice system.
Now as an MPP for Don Valley East since 2011, Michael hopes to continue to work with the youth of the community sharing his skills and knowledge, and even to someday work on an international level helping young people in mainly education and literacy. Now married with 2 children of his own, he has all the more reason to continue his endeavour talking to young people on all the challenges they may encounter and how to overcome them.
Education: BS Political Science and BA Canadian History at Carleton University (1997).