Stop Bill 166

Bill 166 claims to protect student safety and inclusion.  Instead, it demonstrates the Ford government’s continued failure to understand mental health and anti-racism, and its insistence on trying to control post-secondary institutions rather than fund them.  

Bill 166 gives unprecedented powers to the Minister of Colleges and Universities to direct the specific topics and elements of any post-secondary institution’s mental health and anti-racism policies, and to take unspecified action if the Minister thinks the institution has not complied.  This ignores decades of research and best practices on mental health and equity, and endangers the considerable work already being done in these areas on Ontario campuses.

It also constitutes a degree of political interference unheard of in Ontario post-secondary institutions.  The protection of universities from political interference is not only legally enshrined in the University Acts but also internationally recognized to be a cornerstone of democracy.  University autonomy safeguards academic freedom and the development of rigorous, critical, innovative research and education that academic freedom allows—including in the areas of mental health and anti-racism.  Historically, these fundamental democratic principles have been celebrated in Ontario by all parties, but this government has shown over and over that it thinks it can override them.    

The best things this government could do to support student mental health and anti-racism would be, first, to immediately restore adequate funding to post-secondary institutions so they can invest in culturally-responsive mental health supports and in their Equity offices—offices that are qualified, ready, and able to do this important work—and, second, to use the powers of the Anti-Racism Act, 2017 to re-establish the Anti-Racism Directorate’s subcommittees on Islamophobia, antisemitism, Anti-Black racism, and Anti-Indigenous racism, all of which this government disbanded.  

In short, instead of advancing student mental health and anti-racism on campuses, this bill stymies both and opens to the door to a degree of political interference that would shatter the integrity of Ontario’s postsecondary institutions.  

Tell your MPP to stop Bill 166 now!

  1. Enter your address in the form on this page and click 'Start writing'.  This will generate a draft letter with the text above that is ready to send to your MPP and other key legislators.  
  2. Edit the draft letter if there is anything you want to add.
  3. Press 'Send letter'!