OPSEU/SEFPO President Criticizes Bill 166 As Serving Government Interests, Not Students


OPSEU/SEFPO President JP Hornick was joined by college and university sector leaders earlier last month to speak out against a new bill that authorizes new powers for the government over the internal affairs of colleges and universities. 

A legislative committee held hearings this week on Bill 166, Strengthening Accountability and Student Supports Act, which gives the government new powers over student mental health and anti-racism policies on campus. OPSEU/SEFPO was one of 20 organizations to give deputations on the bill.

“I’m here because students at our post-secondary institutions do need support but Bill 166 isn’t the answer,” said President Hornick, who was joined by College Support Full-Time Division chair Christine Kelsey, Universities Sector chair Kella Loschiavo and College Faculty Division chair Jonathan Singer.

Hornick called out the multi-generational, chronic underfunding of colleges and universities as the issue, not the lack of policy. Hornick also called on the government to focus on providing meaningful relief to students and their families struggling with the sky-high cost of living and to provide sustainable increases to the annual base funding that colleges and universities receive.

When it comes to policies to combat and address racism and hate, Hornick pointed out institutions already have these in place.

“We are deeply concerned that this bill signals the government’s intent to intervene and impose itself in the internal affairs of colleges and universities – in a very dangerous way,” said Hornick. “Government intervention will increase the threat of overreach by college and university administration or enforcement bodies. These policies should not be used to censor dissenting viewpoints, and governments should not play a hand in surveilling freedom of expression and dissent on campus.”

Hornick called on the provincial government to focus very seriously on what matters: providing sustainable funding solutions and protecting educational excellence.

The video of the full deputation is included below.