This Strategic Mandate Agreement between the Ministry of Colleges and Universities and Lambton College is a key component of the Ontario government’s accountability framework for the postsecondary education system.

The Strategic Mandate Agreement (SMA):

  • outlines provincial government objectives and priority areas for the postsecondary education system
  • describes the elements of Ontario’s performance-based funding mechanism, including the college’s annual performance-based funding notional allocation for the five-year 2020 to 2025 Strategic Mandate Agreement (SMA3) period
  • establishes the corridor midpoint that will form the basis of enrolment-related funding over the five-year SMA3 period
  • supports transparency and accountability objectives
  • establishes allowable performance targets for 10 metrics upon which institutional performance will be assessed

This SMA is for the fiscal period from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2025.

Ontario’s objectives

SMAs are bilateral agreements between the ministry and the province’s publicly-assisted colleges and universities and are a key component of the Ontario government’s accountability framework for the postsecondary education system. This cycle of agreements is focused on promoting accountability through transparency and a focus on performance outcomes. The following objectives underline SMA3:

  • increasing trust and accountability through transparency and improved performance outcomes in Ontario’s postsecondary education system
  • reducing red tape by striking an appropriate balance between accountability and reporting through streamlined processes and a reduced number of metrics
  • incentivizing colleges and universities to redirect resources and invest in initiatives that result in positive economic outcomes
  • encouraging alignment of postsecondary education with labour market outcomes
  • incentivizing differentiation and specialization to support increased efficiencies

Institutional profile

The ministry recognizes the importance of supporting a differentiated system, and recognizing institutional specializations, as a means of enhancing efficiencies in the postsecondary education sector. The institutional profile is intended to describe how the college’s institutional mission and strategic goals support the priority areas of the Ontario government, as identified in this agreement. Institutions may also wish to include narrative related to the post-COVID-19 context for the institution.

Performance-based funding

Notional annual allocation

For the SMA3 cycle, Lambton College’s annual allocation of performance-based funding has been calculated by the ministry in accordance with the college funding model and Ontario’s Performance-based Funding Technical Manual. Lambton College’s notional allocations will not be impacted by previous year performance, and will follow a graduated activation plan as follows:

Differentiation Envelope$4,618,250$6,435,830$8,308,728$10,117,460$11,021,827
Performance-based GrantN/AN/AN/A$2,525,618TBD


  1. Due to COVID-19 performance-based funding was delayed for 2020–21, 2021–22, and 2022–23.
  2. The planned system-wide proportion tied to funding (that is, Performance-based Grant) will be at 10% of system-wide total operating funding in Year 4 (2023–24) and 25% in Year 5 (2024–25).
  3. Prior to Year 4 (2023–24), the Performance-based Grant was capped at the system-average annual proportion determined for the Differentiation Envelope and residual funding above that cap remained part of the Differentiation Envelope.
  4. The Differentiation Envelope has continued to grow steadily towards the established initial level of 60% by Year 5 (2024–25).
  5. In Year 4 (2023–24), the 55% of operating funding assigned to the Differentiation Envelope is inclusive of the activated Performance-based Grant.
  6. Notional allocation represents the Performance-based Grant portion.
  7. The notional allocations presented above are based on 2021–22 operating grant totals.

Institutional weighting strategy

The performance-based funding mechanism in this SMA enables institutions to assign metric weightings to reflect institutional strengths and differentiated roles in the postsecondary education system. Assigned metric weightings will impact performance-based funding on a metric-by-metric basis per the table below. Metric details are described in the following section.

Institutional assigned metric weightings and notional performance-based funding allocations
Metric2020–21 weighting
max. 35%
min. 10%
notional funding allocation
max. 30% min. 5%
notional funding allocation
max. 25%
min. 5%
notional funding allocation
max. 25%
min. 5%
notional funding allocation
max. 25%
min. 5%
notional funding allocation
1. Graduate employment rate in a related field25%$1,154,56215%$965,37410%$830,87310%$252,56210%TBD
2. Institutional strength and focus20%$923,65015%$965,37415%$1,246,30915%$378,84315%TBD
3. Graduation rate25%$1,154,56220%$1,287,16615%$1,246,30915%$378,84315%TBD
4. Community and local impact of student enrolment10%$461,8255%$321,7915%$415,4365%$126,2815%TBD
5. Economic impact (institution-specific)20%$923,65020%$1,287,16620%$1,661,74620%$505,12420%TBD
6. Graduate employment earningsN/AN/A5%$321,7915%$415,4365%$126,2815%TBD
7. Experiential learningN/AN/A15%$965,37415%$1,246,30915%$378,84315%TBD
8. Revenue attracted from private sector sourcesN/AN/A5%$321,7915%$415,4365%$126,2815%TBD
9. Apprenticeship-related (institution-specific)N/AN/AN/AN/A5%$415,4365%$126,2815%TBD
10. Skills and competenciesN/AN/AN/AN/A5%$415,4365%$126,2815%TBD


  1. Colleges and universities have the opportunity to re-weight their metrics every year as part of the Annual Evaluation process throughout the SMA3 period. For metrics activated later than Year 1, a year shown in brackets indicates the first year of data available.
  2. The planned system-wide proportion tied to funding (that is, Performance-based Grant) will be at 10% of system-wide total operating funding in Year 4 (2023–24) and 25% in Year 5 (2024–25).

Priority areas and performance metrics


To support improved performance in key areas aligned with the Ontario government’s priorities and objectives, the allowable performance targets will be set against metrics that measure institutions’ effectiveness in addressing the evolving needs of the labour market, enhancing the skills and competencies of our students, and supporting a postsecondary education system that strengthens Ontario’s economic competitiveness.

The combination of established targets and assigned metric weightings will be used for institutional assessment of performance through the SMA3 Annual Evaluation process.

Skills and job outcomes

This priority area seeks to measure and evaluate the college’s role in supporting student and graduate outcomes and alignment with Ontario’s economy. Metrics measure institutional commitment to areas of strength and specialization; students’ preparation with the skills essential for employment; experiential learning opportunities; graduation; and positive labour–market outcomes for graduates, through the following performance indicators:

  • graduate employment rate in a related field
  • institutional strength and focus
  • graduation rate
  • graduate employment earnings
  • experiential learning
  • skills and competencies

Economic and community impact

This priority area seeks to measure and evaluate the college’s role in supporting Ontario’s economy. Metrics measure funding from private sector sources; the positive economic impact on local economies brought by students at an institution; and the differentiated ways institutions demonstrate economic impact, through the following performance indicators:

  • community and local impact of student enrolment
  • economic impact (institution-specific)
  • revenue attracted from private sector sources
  • apprenticeship-related (institution-specific)

Productivity, accountability and transparency

Through further engagement with the sector on metric refinement, a decision was made to remove this reporting and data collection requirement for institutions for the duration of the SMA3 period, to reduce reporting burden and duplication with other government initiatives.

Skills and job outcomes

Performance metrics: narrative

Metrics will be initiated over three years as new data is collected and validated. For 2020–21, allowable performance targets are calculated using historical data as per the Performance-based Funding Technical Manual.

For the remainder of the SMA3 cycle, allowable performance targets will be calculated annually as per the Performance-based Funding Technical Manual using the most recent historical data available for Lambton College and included as part of the SMA3 Annual Evaluation process for performance-based funding. See appendix for details regarding historical data and annual allowable performance targets.

For the skills and competencies metric being initiated for performance-based funding in 2022–23, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities will apply a ‘participation weighting’ of five % of annual performance-based funding notional allocations for all institutions. Institutional targets will not be set for this metric in SMA3. Participation will be validated and included as part of the SMA3 Annual Evaluation process for performance-based funding.

Graduate employment rate in a related field
Definition: proportion of graduates employed full-time in a field related or partially related to their program six months after graduation
Source: College Graduate Outcomes Survey, Ministry of Colleges and Universities

Metric initiated: 2020–21

Institutional strength and focus
Name: Chemical Production and Engineering Technology, Health and Community Care
Definition: enrolment (full-time headcount, domestic and international) in an institution’s program area(s) of focus
Source: Provided by institutions, validated by College Statistical Enrolment Report (CSER), Ministry of Colleges and Universities

Metric initiated: 2020–21

Graduation rate
Definition: percentage of full-time students (domestic and international), who entered a program of instruction in a particular enrolment reporting period and graduated within a specific period of time (200% program completion timeframe for diploma and certificate programs and 175% for degrees)
Source: Graduate Rate Submission Process, College Graduation Rate Tool

Metric initiated: 2020–21

Graduate employment earnings
Definition: median employment earnings of college graduates in a given calendar year, two years after graduation
Source: Educational and Labour Market Longitudinal Platform, Statistics Canada

Metric initiated: 2021–22

Experiential learning
Definition: number and proportion of graduates in programs, who participated in at least one course with required Experiential Learning component(s)
Source: Ministry of Colleges and University’s Graduate Record File Data; File attached to College Graduate Outcomes Survey

Metric initiated: 2021–22

Skills and competencies
Name: Program Related Knowledge and Skills
Definition: Percentage of students who agree or strongly agree that their program has improved their ability to perform specific program-related knowledge and skills
Source: Ontario College Student Experience Survey

Metric initiated: 2022–23