While the education landscape continuously shifts, the college sector continues to be affected by limited government funding—with the ongoing challenge of delivering effective education in an efficient manner to a varied student body.

As changes occur to the economy, technology and the workforce, so too must the program options that colleges deliver. This creates an ongoing reinvention of curriculum and methods of delivery, with corresponding changes to facilities, staffing needs and strategic partnerships. The increasing need to make education more accessible while accommodating the educational challenges of a diverse student body means greater focus is placed on the treatment of employees and students.  Harassment and violence issues have received renewed attention.

Our Colleges Group has helped our clients meet their human resources and student challenges since the firm’s inception more than 50 years ago.


 We act extensively  for:

  • colleges across the province of Ontario
  • the College Employer Council
  • Colleges Ontario


In addition to participating in collective bargaining negotiations and interpreting collective agreements for our clients, the range of services we offer to colleges includes advice and representation on:

  • grievance arbitrations
  • collective bargaining
  • human rights complaints and accommodation strategies related to age, physical and mental disabilities and family status
  • privacy and freedom of information issues including managing data loss incidents, recovering stolen information and achieving anti-spam compliance
  • academic matters such as academic freedom, workload distribution and staffing issues
  • certification and organization drives by part-time support and academic unions
  • employment issues including structuring termination and severance packages and responding to wrongful dismissal claims
  • pension, benefits and executive compensation including compliance with wage restraint legislation and the design, funding and governance of pension plans
  • workers’ compensation and occupational health and safety including work refusals, hazardous substances, accident investigation, due diligence, directors’ liability and acting for clients in litigation and prosecutions arising in this area

We also assist colleges with issues relating to student engagement including:

  • student conduct and discipline
  • human rights, including advising on issues of discrimination and accommodation
  • student appeals relating to grades and program exclusions
  • student governance
  • residence policies and practices
  • privacy and freedom of information including access to student records, managing Internet-related harms and use of social media

We represent colleges in a variety of forums, appearing before arbitrators, labour boards, human rights tribunals, courts of law, student appeals bodies and other internal committees.

The Hicks Morley Advantage

In addition to our comprehensive legal services offering, we have also developed a comprehensive database of all of the arbitration decisions that have ever been issued in the college sector. We edit and summarize these cases and make them available through the Council to all individual colleges on a password-protected basis.

We are strong believers in supporting the great work of both our college clients and their students. For the past 20 years, we have been one of the main sponsors of The Premier’s Awards Dinner that celebrates the success of college graduates.