Ontario is ensuring that its high-quality postsecondary education system is accountable, accessible, affordable and aligned to meeting the needs of Ontario’s labour market now and in the future. The Strategic Mandate Agreement 3 process is supporting this by aligning operating funding with performance under a number of measures, including metrics related to graduate employment, experiential learning and local community impact.

Proposals for major capacity expansion projects need to be considered within this context. Institutions need to clearly identify need and community support for proposed projects. Strong student outcomes must also be demonstrated, including experiential and work-integrated learning opportunities.

Before submitting the proposal to the ministry, the proponent must ensure that the proposal aligns with land-use plans of the municipality or nearby institutions and does not conflict with expansion plans of other public institutions. Institutions will also need to outline their enrolment management strategy for their campus expansion, including their plans to attract and retain domestic full-time students.

Given the current fiscal situation, proponents are encouraged to bring forward proposals that do not require provincial capital funding and do not require operating funding in the near term.

Evaluation framework for major capacity expansion

The ministry will use the following framework to evaluate campus expansion proposals:


The campuses will need to represent significant enrolment growth including domestic and international students in the medium and long-term.

  • Accommodates growth of domestic and international full-time postsecondary students.
  • Demonstrates potential to accommodate long-term growth of domestic and international students over the next 10 to 20 years.


Rented, mixed-use and jointly-used spaces between regional and private partners are encouraged to maximize the use of assets, as well as reduce ancillary costs and fees to students. There should be a plan for how the local community/region will support the institution and students once the campus is operational. The proposal should also outline an asset management plan to maintain facilities.

  • Leverage use of existing and planned infrastructure including mixed use spaces between regional and industry partners.
  • Asset management plans from the institution and municipality that demonstrate alignment with planning commitments and local needs.

Jobs and economy

In order to prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow, institutions should align programming to meet local labour market needs and provide work-integrated learning opportunities. Institutions will need to provide letters of support from the respective municipalities, as well as industry partners and local employers. As appropriate, institutions can also seek advice from Local Employment Planning Council (LEPC) in developing their programming.

Proponents must meet a demonstrated need and any duplication of programming within the local area will require justification as to why this location/region requires additional capacity in these fields.

  • Offers academic programs that meet local labour market needs and provides experiential learning and work integrated learning opportunities for students.
  • Support from municipality industry partners and local employers to work collaboratively with the institution and students.

Student access

Institutions must indicate how they intend to offer ancillary services and supports for the primary use of students that support education and training activities. There should be a transportation plan for the proposed location.

  • Significantly improves local student access to postsecondary education filling local gaps.
  • Ability to offer ancillary services and supports for education and training, including housing, and access to transportation.

Detailed proposal requirements

Campus expansion proposals need to include the following information:

  1. Business case

    for the proposed campus expansion including:

    • sources and amounts of capital funding, operating costs and anticipated revenue
    • key project milestones including lease/construction start date, substantial completion and occupancy date
    • projected enrolment of domestic and international students as well as overall institutional enrolment, taking into account enrolment-based funding as part of the institution’s corridor
    • proposed academic programming that ties to local labour market needs and offer experiential learning and work-integrated opportunities, in collaboration with the municipality, industry and/or local employers
    • proposed ancillary and support services for use of students and faculty
    • existing/proposed surrounding land use as well as official plan designations, and zoning provisions that apply to the campus location
    • a transportation plan and services to support students and faculty
    • demographic information in the local area, including current and anticipated growth for the 18 to 25 year-old population and migration/immigration patterns
    • impact analysis of the campus expansion on the local labour market as well as the municipal, regional and provincial economy
    • consideration of potential partnerships with other institutions, as well as any overlap with/impact to programs offered by other nearby institutions
  2. Asset management plans

    from the institution and municipal government that demonstrate alignment with governance models and planning commitments (short-term and long-term).

    The asset management plans must include an assessment of local needs and resource allocation required to mitigate concerns over duplication or strains on resources and services.

  3. Letters of support

    from the municipality, industry partners and local employers that demonstrate a commitment to work collaboratively with the institution and students as well as the ability to offer experiential learning and work-integrated learning opportunities.

Contact us

Institutions that are planning to submit a major capacity expansion proposal may email the Postsecondary Finance and Infrastructure Management Branch at the Ministry of Colleges and Universities with questions about process.