TORONTO -- Ontario has tabled legislation to end a five-week strike by college faculty, which could mean hundreds of thousands of students can return to class next week.

The Liberal government first attempted to introduce the legislation Thursday evening after restarted talks between the colleges and the union reached an impasse.

Because it was outside the normal period for introducing bills they needed all parties' unanimous consent to table it, and the NDP refused.

The bill could pass immediately today with consent of all three parties in the legislature, but the NDP say they will force debate and that's likely to go through the weekend.

Around 500,000 students have been out of class since the strike by 12,000 professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians began Oct. 15.

Ontario's colleges say once the back-to-work legislation is passed, classes could resume two days later.