Gary Malkowski

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Gary Malkowski
Ontario MPP
In office
Preceded byChristine Hart
Succeeded byJohn Parker
ConstituencyYork East
Personal details
Born (1958-07-26) July 26, 1958 (age 65)
Hamilton, Ontario
Political partyNew Democrat

Gary Malkowski (born July 26, 1958) is a former Canadian provincial politician. He represented the riding of York East in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1990 to 1995, as a member of the Ontario New Democratic Party (NDP). He was Canada's first deaf parliamentarian, and the first deaf parliamentarian in the world to address a legislature in a sign language, specifically American Sign Language.[1] He was formerly a table tennis player who went onto represent Canada at the Deaflympics in 1977 and 1985.[2]


Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Malkowski went to E. C. Drury School for the Deaf, in Milton, Ontario. He was further educated at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and social work, and a Master of Arts degree in rehabilitation counselling.[3] He was cited in Who's Who in American Universities and Colleges for his work in advancing student rights.[4]

After graduating, he worked as a vocational rehabilitation counsellor and deaf culture instructor for the Canadian Hearing Society, and taught continuing education courses in politics and culture for deaf adults at George Brown College.[5] In 1989, he was presented with a Community Action Award by the Ontario government. On May 13, 2011, he received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Gallaudet University; he also delivered the commencement address that day.[6]


The NDP won a majority government in the 1990 provincial election, and Malkowski defeated Liberal incumbent Christine Hart by 789 votes in the Toronto area riding of York East.[7] When Bob Rae's government took office following the election, the very first law passed was to permit Malkowski's sign language interpreters to stand on the floor of the legislature. Malkowski was named parliamentary assistant to Elaine Ziemba, Minister of Citizenship on October 1, 1990. Ziemba was also the minister responsible for human rights, the disabled, seniors and race relations.[8]

In 1993, Malkowski became parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Education and Training.[9] In 1994, he introduced the Rae government's Ontarians with Disabilities bill, which aimed to improve service accessibility for people with disabilities.[10] Although the bill did not pass, it helped form the basis for the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act which was passed in 2005.[6]

In the 1995 election, the governing NDP were reduced to 17 seats, and Malkowski lost to Progressive Conservative John Parker by 3,263 votes.[11]

After politics[edit]

He is now a special advisor to the president of the Canadian Hearing Society.[12] In this role, Malkowski opposed disabilities legislation proposed by the Mike Harris government in 1998 as ineffective.

In 2004, Malkowski began a campaign to have major theatre companies install closed-captioning services for deaf patrons. This led to a human rights complaint which was resolved in 2007 when then major theatre companies agreed to install the deaf patron services in their theatres.[13]


Author Richard Medugno has published a biography, Deaf Politician: The Gary Malkowski Story and a play, Bigger Dreams, about Malkowski.


  1. ^ "Deaflympics 2017 Samsun". (in Turkish). Retrieved 2018-02-11.
  2. ^ "Gary Malkowski | Deaflympics". Archived from the original on 2018-02-11. Retrieved 2018-02-11.
  3. ^ Hall, Joseph (September 17, 1990). "Sign language to make legislative debut". Toronto Star. p. A10.
  4. ^ "Deaf Person of the Month". Retrieved 2018-02-11.
  5. ^ Canadian Press (March 4, 1989). "Deaf principal is role model for kids". Toronto Star. p. H2.
  6. ^ a b "Gallaudet celebrates 142nd Commencement". Gallaudet University. May 2011. Archived from the original on December 6, 2014. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  7. ^ "Ontario election: Riding-by-riding voting results". The Globe and Mail. September 7, 1990. p. A12.
  8. ^ Armstrong, Jane (November 26, 1990). "Deaf MPP makes history". Toronto Star. p. A10.
  9. ^ Fitz-Gerald, Tony (October 23, 1993). "Super training agency to unite 48 skills programs in province". The Hamilton Spectator. p. C3.
  10. ^ Henderson, Helen (June 4, 1994). "First steps taken toward rights bill". Toronto Star. p. K9.
  11. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots by Candidate". Elections Ontario. June 8, 1995. Archived from the original on 2014-03-06. Retrieved 2014-03-02.
  12. ^ "Canadian Hearing Society: Board of Directors". Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  13. ^ Canada NewsWire (July 24, 2007). "Human Rights Commission settles claim with respect to the exhibition of closed captioned movies". p. 1.

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