Ontario Publishes the Third Generation of Strategic Management Agreements: Performance-Based Funding

On April 11, 2019 the government of Ontario announced its first full budget that brought changes to how Ontario’s Post-Secondary Education system is funded, announcing that up to 60% will be performance-based by the 2024–25 academic year. A change in ministers and the outbreak of a global pandemic later: November 26, 2020 the government of Ontario published all 21 universities’ 2020-25 Strategic Mandate Agreements (SMAs).

I intend to analyze all 21 university SMAs as the culminating project in my Masters of Education and will post more info on this blog.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, funding will not be linked to its performance until 2022–2023. MCU also added that all other aspects of the model, including data collection, evaluation and publication, will continue as planned and each SMA includes three years of historical data to support some of the performance data collection.

Ontario has now committed to a Performance-Based Funding system that mixes system-wide metrics and contractual institutional metrics in a way found nowhere else in the world. The use of a Community and Local impact of student enrolment metric and the negotiation of a per university Economic impact metric and measure is certainly uncommon. The metric that draws the least on other PBF programs is the Skills & Competencies metric that is based on results of the OECD’s Education and Skills Online Tool, for a random sample of undergraduate students (domestic and international). At this point, I do not know if the results refer to scores on the Education & Skills Online or simply the result of students completing it, but at least when it comes into effect in 2022-23 it is fixed at only 5% of each PBF (other metrics can otherwise be institutionally weighted between 5% and 25% in 2022-23).

I am interested in comparisons between the universities in support of the SMA’s original differentiation mandate. For now, here’s a reminder of the metrics and where to find the SMA3s.

SMA3 University Performance Metrics

Metric NameClasificationOperational DefinitionData SourceActivation
1. Graduate Employment Rate in a related fieldSkills & Jobs OutcomesProportion of graduates of bachelor or first professional degree programs employed full-time who consider their jobs either “closely” or “somewhat” related to the skills they developed in their university program, two years after graduationMTCU Ontario University Graduate Survey (OUGS)Year 1 (2020-21)
2. Institutional strength and focusSkills & Jobs OutcomesPoportion of enrolment (Fall, full-time equivalents (FFTEs), domestic and international, all terms for undergraduate students and Summer and Fall terms for graduate students) in an institution’s program area(s) of strengthProvided by institutions, validated by University Statistical Enrolment Report (USER)/Ministry of Colleges and UniversitiesYear 1 (2020-21)
3. Graduation rateSkills & Jobs OutcomesProportion of all new, full-time, year one undergraduate university students (domestic and international) of bachelors (first-entry), or first professional (second entry) degree programs who commenced their study in a given fall term and graduated from the same institution within 7 yearsUniversity Statistical Enrolment Report (USER) - Enrolment and Degrees Awarded data collectionsYear 1 (2020-21)
4. Community and local impact of student enrolmentEconomic & Community ImpactInstitutional enrolment share in the population of the city (cities)/town(s) in which the institution is locatedUniversity Statistical Enrolment Report (USER), Ministry of Colleges and Universities, Census Data, Statistics CanadaYear 1 (2020-21)
5. Economic impact (institution-specific)Economic & Community ImpactDefinition to be provided/confirmed with institutions during SMA3 bilateral discussions, dependent on metric proposalsInstitutionsYear 1 (2020-21)
6. Research funding and capacity: federal tri-agency funding securedEconomic & Community ImpactAmount and proportion of funding received by institution from federal research granting agencies (SSHRC, NSERC, CIHR) in total Tri-Agency funding received by Ontario universitiesResearch Support Program, The TriAgency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS)Year 1 (2020-21)
7. Experiential learningSkills & Jobs OutcomesNumber and proportion of graduates in undergraduate programs, who participated in at least one course with required Experiential Learning (EL) component(s)InstitutionsYear 2 (2021-22)
8. Research revenue attracted from private sector sourcesEconomic & Community ImpactResearch revenue attracted from private sector sourcesCouncil of Ontario Finance Officers (COFO)Year 2 (2021-22)
9. Graduate employment earningsSkills & Jobs OutcomesMedian employment earnings of university graduates, two years after graduationEducation and Labour Market Longitudinal Platform (ELMLP), Statistics CanadaYear 2 (2021-22)
10. Skills and competenciesSkills & Jobs OutcomesRandom sample of undergraduate students (domestic and international)Education and Skills Online Tool, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)Year 3 (2022-23)
Ontario's performance-based funding mechanism requires institutions to assign weightings to metrics to reflect institutional strengths and differentiated roles in the postsecondary education system based on negotiation targets. Assigned metric weightings will impact performance-based funding on a metric-by-metric basis per the table below. Because of COVID-19 institution’s funding will not be linked to its performance until 2022–2023.
Metric NameClasificationOperational DefinitionData SourceActivation
Faculty CompensationProductivity, Accountability & TransparencyTBDInstitutionsYear 3 (2022–23)
Faculty WorkloadProductivity, Accountability & TransparencyTBDInstitutionsYear 3 (2022–23)

Where to find each university’s SMA

UniversityMCUUniversity Copy
Algoma UniversityAlgoma University's SMA3, MCU CopyAlgoma University Version
Brock UniversityBrock University's SMA3, MCU CopyBrock University Version
Carleton UniversityCarleton University's SMA3, MCU CopyCarleton University Version [Not Posted]
Lakehead UniversityLakehead University's SMA3, MCU CopyLakehead University Version [Not Posted]
Laurentian UniversityLaurentian University's SMA3, MCU CopyLaurentian University Version [Not Posted]
McMaster UniversityMcMaster University's SMA3, MCU CopyMcMaster University Version
Nipissing UniversityNipissing University's SMA3, MCU CopyNipissing University Version [Not Posted]
OCADuOCADu's SMA3, MCU CopyOCADu Version
Queen's UniversityQueen's University's SMA3, MCU CopyQueen's University Version [Not Posted]
Ryerson UniversityRyerson University's SMA3, MCU CopyRyerson University Version [Not Posted]
Trent UniversityTrent University's SMA3, MCU CopyTrent University Version [Not Posted]
Université de HearstUniversité de Hearst's SMA3, MCU CopyUniversité de Hearst Version [Not Posted]
University of GuelphUniversity of Guelph's SMA3, MCU CopyUniversity of Guelph Version [Not Posted]
University of OttawaUniversity of Ottawa's SMA3, MCU CopyUniversity of Ottawa Version [Not Posted]
University of TorontoUniversity of Toronto's SMA3, MCU CopyUniversity of Toronto Version
University of WaterlooUniversity of Waterloo's SMA3, MCU CopyUniversity of Waterloo Version
University of WindsorUniversity of Windsor's SMA3, MCU CopyUniversity of Windsor Version
Western UniversityWestern University's SMA3, MCU CopyWestern University Version [Link to MCU]
Wilfrid Laurier UniversityWilfrid Laurier University's SMA3, MCU CopyWilfrid Laurier University Version [Not Posted]
York UniversityYork University's SMA3, MCU CopyYork University Version [Link to MCU]
Links to the MCU and some university copies of their SMA3s, as of Sunday, November 29, 2020.