The NDP has made some changes to Bill 63 and a national group representing professors said the province is still stepping on academic freedoms.

Initially, the bill said only the minister of education could sign-off on new programs, or changes and cancellation of programs at Manitoba universities.

University of Winnipeg

Turk said the association of teachers will fight the bill. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

Jim Turk of The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) said the education ministers in other provinces aren’t given such power.

"This is just unacceptable,” he said. “It just tilts the balance that has to be maintained for universities to protect their integrity."

On Thursday, Education Minister James Allum said he never intended for the amendments to strip rights from Manitoba universities to govern their own affairs. The changes to Bill 63 were meant to allow the minister to be more actively involved in the post-secondary system, Allum said.

The original wording in the bill amendments would have allowed the minister to set mandates for universities. However, on Thursday revisions were made that effectively reduced the role of the minister to that of an adviser who could help universities in determining their own mandates.

Regardless, Turk said his association will fight the bill.

Allum introduced the bill this spring. The changes to the bill were meant to help reduce the amount of red-tape and to monitor whether public money was being spent properly, Allum said.