update deskSchools & Higher Education

Ontario passes bill requiring colleges to set guidelines against racism

“Institutions have struggled to enforce their own policies effectively, leading to a lack of accountability and loss of confidence in the system,” said Shimon Koffler Fogel of the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs.

Ontario Legislative Building at Queen's Park in Toronto, Canada, on Aug. 9, 2023. Credit: JHVEPhoto/Shutterstock.
Ontario Legislative Building at Queen's Park in Toronto, Canada, on Aug. 9, 2023. Credit: JHVEPhoto/Shutterstock.

Bill 166, the Strengthening Accountability and Student Supports Act, was approved in Ontario’s legislative assembly on May 14.

It states that colleges and universities in the Canadian province “shall have policies and rules that describe how the institution will address and combat racism and hate, including but not limited to anti-indigenous racism, anti-black racism, antisemitism and Islamophobia.”

The Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) praised the vote.

“Bill 166 addresses the shortcomings within the current framework on college and university campuses, where incidents of discrimination and hate often go unaddressed,” said Shimon Koffler Fogel, CIJA president and CEO, in a statement. “Institutions have struggled to enforce their own policies effectively, leading to a lack of accountability and loss of confidence in the system.”

Fogel said his organization “applauds the Government of Ontario’s passing of Bill 166. This legislative achievement reflects our persistent advocacy efforts, urging the government to address pressing concerns affecting minority students, including Jewish students.”

Describing the act as a “significant opportunity to improve the handling of hate incidents,” he said that CIJA “calls for specific directives to be implemented, including setting reasonable time frames for adjudicating hate complaints, establishing an impartial appeals process or ombudsperson for accountability, requiring the submission of transparent aggregate incident reports to inform anti-hate strategies province-wide and enforcement mechanisms including penalties for non-compliance.”

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