Williams HR Law LLP

Bill 166 Public Hearings Announced

April 2, 2024

On February 26, 2024, the Ontario government proposed the Strengthening Accountability and Student Supports Act, 2024 [Bill 166]. Bill 166 is aimed at improving inclusivity, safety, and transparency with respect to education costs and would introduce several requirements for colleges and universities.

New Policy Requirements

If passed, Bill 166 would require every college and university to:

  • have a student mental health policy that describes the programs, policies, services and supports available at the college or university in respect of student mental health (the “Mental Health Policy”);
  • have policies and rules to address and combat racism and hate, including but not limited to anti-Indigenous racism, anti-Black racism, antisemitism and Islamophobia (the “Policies and Rules Addressing Racism”);
  • publish the Mental Health Policy and the Policies and Rules Addressing Racism on its website and make them available to anyone who requests them; and
  • review the Mental Health Policy and the Policies and Rules Addressing Racism at least once every five years and amend them as appropriate.

Ministerial Directives

Additionally, Bill 166 would authorize the Minister of Colleges and Universities to issue directives:

  • in relation to the information to be provided about the costs associated with attendance at the college or university;
  • setting out topics to be addressed within a Mental Health Policy or the Policies and Rules Addressing Racism; and
  • related to the manner in which universities’ and colleges’ Policies and Rules Addressing Racism address and combat racism and hate.

Public Hearings

The Standing Committee on Social Policy announced public hearings to consider Bill 166 in Toronto on April 15 and 16, 2024. While the deadline to register for oral presentations has passed, those interested can still submit written comments on the proposed legislation by April 16, 2024, at 7:00 pm.

As Bill 166 is yet to receive Royal Assent, we will continue to monitor legal developments to help employers stay up to date.


This bulletin is provided as an information service and summary of workplace legal issues.

This information is not intended as legal advice.