• Exploring Ontario Universities’ Strategic Mandate Agreements’ New Performance-Based Model in Relation to SMA’s Original Differentiation Goals

      Clare, Matt
      Efforts have been underway for over a decade to define and differentiate Ontario’s postsecondary education (PSE) system by creating differentiation clusters out of the 21 universities and 24 colleges, the primary tool being strategic mandate agreements (SMAs). In 2019 through 2020, the third iterations of SMAs (SMA3) were negotiated. This research discusses SMA3’s 10 new Performance-Based Funding (PBF) metrics that will govern up to 60% of provincial transfers. SMA3 also introduces an institutionally allocated metric weighing scheme. A summary of PBF literature and Ontario’s SMA policy is followed by descriptions of each metric accompanied by relevant experience with similar PBF programs in other jurisdictions, and a discussion of each metric’s implementation. Metrics created for SMA3 are justified only by their adherence to neoliberal new public management objectives; not PBF literature. SMA3 fails to incorporate established mitigations against access bias while introducing the risk of untested and ideologically motivated metrics.