Ontario to begin differentiation negotiations with universities, colleges

September 18, 2013

The Ontario government has this week circulated a draft framework to its university and college leaders that will kick off negotiations with the province on how to further differentiate Ontario’s publicly-funded PSE institutions, according to the Globe and Mail. In the framework, institutions will be free to set their own differentiation courses, but the province can “steer behaviours” with measures such as funding, allocating extra student spaces, and approvals for new programs. To gauge an institution’s areas of strength, the draft framework proposes using several metrics: for example, using student satisfaction surveys and data on co-op placements to evaluate teaching and learning. Alberta and BC divide their PSE systems into research- and teaching-intensive institutions, but the Globe reports that “Ontario’s approach aims to be more organic, leaving a school’s place in the system to be defined at the negotiating table.” A final framework is expected in late October and the negotiations, which will be led by Deputy Minister Paul Genest, could begin before the end of 2013. Globe and Mail