Ministry overview

Ministry’s vision

Ontario’s postsecondary system prepares students and job seekers with the high-quality education, skills and opportunities needed to get good jobs, providing Ontario’s businesses with the skilled workforce and talent they need to thrive and prosper. The postsecondary system is a critical part of the province's social and economic fabric, contributing to stronger and healthier communities.

The ministry provides operating funding to publicly assisted colleges, universities and Indigenous Institutes, manages capital funding programs in the postsecondary sector, establishes provincial objectives for the use of public funds and designs frameworks for achieving these objectives. In addition, private career colleges play an important role in Ontario’s postsecondary landscape, providing learners with the knowledge and skills they need to get a job in today’s workplace.

The ministry also ensures that high-quality postsecondary education is accessible to all qualified candidates through tuition regulation, student financial assistance, targeted funding (including funding for French-language and bilingual programs), accountability mechanisms, and digital and experiential learning opportunities.

Ontario’s science and research sector fuels the province’s economic growth and is a critical part of growing the province’s economy. The ministry funds world-class research in Ontario universities, colleges and academic hospitals. Ontario’s competitive research funding programs, and support for research institutes drive commercialization, innovation and help attract and retain world-class talent. The ministry’s focus on the Intellectual Property (IP) Action Plan prioritizes the generation, protection, management and commercialization of IP in the postsecondary and innovation sectors to maximize the value of Ontario-grown research and innovation.

Supporting postsecondary education, research and innovation helps Ontario compete and thrive in the global economy and are more important than ever as drivers of protecting people’s health and the economy.

Key performance indicators

Improved access to and uptake of high-quality virtual learning resources among Ontario postsecondary students

The ministry is committed to ensuring that high-quality education is accessible through digital opportunities. To do this, the ministry is focusing on improving access to and uptake of high-quality virtual learning resources among Ontario postsecondary students. The ministry is measuring its progress related to this through self-reported data collected from instructors who adopt Open Education Resource (OERs) made available through eCampusOntario’s Open Library on the number of learners impacted by adoptions.

eCampusOntario developed its Open Publishing Infrastructure in 2017–2018 and launched its Open Library website in March 2019. The data indicates that number of students impacted has been steadily increasing since tracking commenced in July 2019 with 19,923 learners impacted by the adoption of ministry funded OERs. By March 2023 this further increased to 170,476, generating approximately $16.8M in student savings since the launch. The ministry is targeting to positively impact 225,000 learners by March 2024.

Improving alignment between postsecondary systems and labour market needs

The ministry is also focused on ensuring that employers in Ontario have access to a skilled workforce. To do this the ministry is improving alignment between postsecondary systems and labour market needs. The ministry is measuring its progress related to this by tracking the proportion of college/university graduates employed full-time in a field related or partially-related to their studies.

In 2021–22, 74% of college graduates became employed in a field related or partially-related to their studies. The ministry is targeting to maintain at least 70% by 2022–23.

In 2021–22, 90% of university graduates became employed in a field related or partially-related to their studies. The ministry is targeting to maintain at least 88% in 2022–23.

Ministry programs

Ontario’s postsecondary education and research sectors play a critical role in making the province the economic engine of Canada with a highly educated workforce, a knowledge-intensive economy and world-class postsecondary institutions.

Ontario’s economic recovery and future prosperity is dependent on a workforce that can adapt and respond to an evolving labour market. People need to be able to quickly gain the skills and qualifications they need to get good jobs.

Supporting research in Ontario is foundational to commercialization, innovation and to attracting and retaining world-class talent. It also helps create highly skilled jobs and boosts global competitiveness for Ontario’s companies and research institutions.

By supporting research and innovation, Ontario can compete and thrive in the global economy making these sectors more important than ever in Ontario’s economic growth.

Helping students succeed

Extending tuition freeze

Building on Ontario’s historic 10% reduction in tuition in 2019–20, along with tuition freezes over the past three years, the province is continuing a general freeze on tuition for 2023–24 for most Ontario students to keep postsecondary education more affordable for students and their families. The ministry is allowing tuition increases in a limited number of programs for 2023–24. The government’s action to reduce and freeze tuition has provided students with tuition relief of about $450 million annually when compared to tuition costs in 2018–19.

Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)

OSAP continues to provide financial assistance to qualified students in postsecondary studies who need it most, including grant, loan, bursary, scholarship and other aid programs. Ontario has also expanded OSAP to students in eligible, independently delivered programs at Indigenous Institutes as well as students enrolled in more than 1,800 eligible micro-credentials programs at both public and private institutions.

Virtual Learning

Learning that combines the strengths of both in-person and virtual instruction continues to grow across Ontario’s postsecondary sector. Also known as hybrid learning, the province has taken significant steps to position itself as a global leader and has made significant investments to expand institutional capacity and supports for the delivery of virtual postsecondary education.

In 2020, the government launched Ontario’s Virtual Learning Strategy to support the needs of Ontario’s postsecondary institutions, learners, and educators. The strategy improves access to high-quality virtual postsecondary education and retraining opportunities that are market-responsive and globally competitive. The strategy and associated investment have resulted in over 450 projects from across the province and created more than 600 digital resources to support Ontario’s institutions, students, faculty, and staff as they teach and learn online.

The Virtual Learning Strategy builds on and leverages Ontario’s existing digital learning organizations — Contact North I Nord and eCampusOntario — which improve access and drive innovation in virtual teaching and learning.

College degree expansion

In April 2022, the government expanded degree granting at publicly assisted colleges. This included introducing three-year college degrees in applied areas of study and increasing degree cap limits at colleges to offer greater flexibility to design and deliver programs that will provide more options for students to meet labour market needs.

With a focus on key in‐demand sectors, these new, three-year applied degrees and additional four‐year degree programs support Ontario’s commitment to increasing choices and reducing barriers to high‐quality, local education for students.

Some examples of three‐year applied degree programs that are being considered or are under development include a Bachelor of Skilled Trades Business Management and a Bachelor of Computer Science.

Micro-credentials

Micro-credentials help prepare workers for in-demand jobs through rapid training at Ontario’s public and private colleges, universities and Indigenous Institutes. These short-duration programs are recognized by many employers and are convenient ways for people to retrain and upgrade their skills, giving them more opportunities in the job market. Not only does this help workers find new employment, but it also helps respond to regional labour market needs and the needs of specific employers.

Ontario’s Micro-credentials Strategy was announced in Fall 2020, with an investment of $59.5 million over three years to help people retrain and upgrade their skills to find new employment.

As announced in the 2023 Ontario Budget, the government is investing an additional $5 million to launch a second round of the Ontario Micro-credentials Challenge Fund to support the creation of more micro-credential projects. The first round helped create up to 250 new micro-credentials across the province.

There are about 1,800 micro-credentials that are currently eligible for funding through the Ontario Student Assistance Program at 34 publicly assisted postsecondary institutions across Ontario, with more being added regularly.

Support for the health care workforce

The government of Ontario is building a stronger health care workforce so that well-trained and well-supported doctors, nurses, personal support workers (PSWs) and other health care professionals are there to provide quality care to the people of Ontario.

Nursing education

In 2020, the Ontario government introduced a new pathway for nursing degree education, offering more choices for students.

In May 2021, the government of Ontario announced a $35 million investment to support the expansion of enrolment in nursing education programs at Ontario’s publicly assisted colleges and universities. This investment enabled Ontario’s publicly assisted colleges and universities to expand nursing enrolment spaces by approximately 1,200 in Practical Nursing (PN) programs as well as approximately 755 spaces in Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) programs for September 2021 and January 2022 intakes.

The 2021 Fall Economic Statement included investment of nearly $342 million over the next five years that will strengthen the health and long-term care workforce in Ontario. This investment enabled Ontario’s publicly assisted colleges and universities to expand nursing enrolment by approximately 1,000 BScN and 500 PN spaces.

Ontario is investing a total of $80 million over three years, starting in 2023–24, to further expand nursing education in universities and colleges by increasing enrolment by 2,000 BScN, 1,000 PN and 150 nurse practitioner spaces.

The ministry is also supporting the modernization of clinical education for practical nursing PN and BScN students by investing an additional $124.2 million over three years, starting in 2022–23 ($41.4 million annually). This investment will enable publicly assisted colleges and universities to expand laboratory capacity supports and hands-on learning for nursing students, supporting opportunities for learners to demonstrate their knowledge of theories and principles in practical setting.

In March 2022, the government announced it was investing $34 million over four years to Indigenous Institutes to increase enrolment in nursing and personal support worker programs, which will facilitate the education and training of approximately 340 practical nurses, 60 registered nurses, and 400 personal support workers over 2021–2025.

Medical education

Ontario needs more doctors. This is why Ontario continues to expand undergraduate and postgraduate medical training seats across the province. The government of Ontario is more than doubling the previous investment of $42.5 million over two years, with an additional $100.8 million over the next three years to expand and accelerate the rollout of undergraduate and postgraduate seats. This will result in an additional 160 undergraduate positions and 295 more postgraduate positions by 2028.

The Ministry of Colleges and Universities works closely with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Long-Term Care to deliver nursing and medical education in Ontario.

Ontario is also investing an additional $33 million over three years to add 100 undergraduate seats beginning in 2023, as well as 154 postgraduate medical training seats to prioritize Ontario residents trained at home and abroad beginning in 2024 and going forward. Ontario residents will also continue to be prioritized for undergraduate spots at medical schools in the province. These investments will bring the total number of undergraduate seats to 1,212 and postgraduate training seats to 1,637 in Ontario by 2028.

Veterinary program

To improve access to veterinary care across Ontario, the government is investing $14.7 million over two years, starting in 2024–25, to launch a new collaborative Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program with the University of Guelph and Lakehead University. This new program will increase enrolment by 20 new students per year, resulting in up to 80 new Doctor of Veterinary Medicine seats over four years, to better support the livestock agri-food sector, when and where farmers need it most. The ministry will collaborate with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to create the joint program.

Ontario Learn and Stay Grant

As part of the government’s plan to connect people to care closer to home, the province is expanding the Ontario Learn and Stay Grant to add more health care professionals in underserved and growing communities. The grant provides full, upfront funding for tuition, books and other direct educational costs to students in return for working and caring for people in the region where they studied for a term of service after they graduate.

In addition to nursing programs, the grant will now include paramedic and medical lab technologist programs in priority communities. Grant applications will open on Spring 2023 for the 2023–24 academic year, targeting up to 2,500 postsecondary students who enroll in the following programs and regions:

  • nursing programs in Northern, Eastern and Southwestern Ontario
  • medical laboratory technologist/medical laboratory sciences programs in Northern and Southwestern Ontario
  • paramedic programs in Northern Ontario

Strengthening postsecondary education

Ontario is committed to supporting the quality, accessibility and sustainability of the postsecondary education system now and into the future, so learners continue to get the skills and education needed to get good jobs and meet labour market needs.

Financial sustainability in the postsecondary education sector

In Spring 2023, the ministry created a blue-ribbon panel, to provide advice and recommendations for keeping the postsecondary education sector financially strong and focused on providing the best student experience. Their work will be guided by the following principles:

  • enhancing student experience and access
  • rewarding excellence and financial sustainability
  • improving labour market alignment
  • promoting economic growth and prosperity
  • keeping education affordable for lower and middle-income families

The panel is expected to deliver its recommendations to the Minister of Colleges and Universities in Summer 2023.

Strategic Mandate Agreements and performance-based funding

The Ontario government is ensuring the province’s publicly assisted postsecondary institutions have a clear mandate focused on meeting the needs of students and equipping them to succeed in rewarding careers. That is why the government introduced a new, historic, made-in-Ontario performance-based funding model that links a larger portion of provincial postsecondary operating funding to student and economic outcomes, making the province a national leader in performance-based funding.

Through the pandemic, to provide stability and predictability to Ontario’s publicly assisted colleges and universities, the government delayed the activation of performance-based funding for three years (2020–21, 2021–22 and 2022–23).

In Year 4 (2023–24), the ministry will be activating performance-based funding at 10% of total operating funding and linking funding to metric performance. Pending outcomes of the blue-ribbon panel, the ministry will make an assessment about the appropriate activation level for Year 5 (2024–25).

Financial accountability framework

In November 2022, the ministry announced a new financial accountability framework for universities, to be implemented in April 2023. The framework is informed by the recommendations of a third-party and the Council of Ontario Universities and supports the sector’s ongoing commitment to the transparency of financial information and the ministry’s commitment to proactively monitor institutional financial health.

The framework uses publicly available financial information to measure the financial health risk of universities to determine the appropriate course of action for the ministry and universities. The results of the health risk assessment will inform the ministry on whether it should communicate to the university the need for an action plan to fix identified financial concerns.

Capital funding

In the 2022 Ontario Budget, the Ontario government announced an investment in critical maintenance, repairs, upgrades and renewal of $596.6 million over three years, starting in 2022–23, for Ontario’s universities and colleges. In the 2022 budget, the government also announced the Indigenous Institutes Facilities Renewal Program, the first program of its kind which provides the nine Indigenous Institutes in Ontario with $1.5 million per year over three years (starting in 2022–23), vital funding to support safe and accessible facilities for Indigenous learners.

The Ontario government is also investing $90 million over three years, starting in 2021–22, to help colleges and universities renew and purchase modern, state-of-the-art equipment that increases students’ virtual access to postsecondary education programs and prepares students with skills for the in-demand jobs of today and tomorrow.

The government’s capital investments allow institutions to address their deferred maintenance backlog, undertake critical repairs, modernize classrooms, upgrade technology and improve their environmental sustainability, while continuing to deliver a safe experience for students.

Supporting access to college and university education in french

Eleven colleges and universities currently offer French-language and bilingual programs to more than 32,000 students. Ontario provides special purpose funding to support the additional costs of offering these programs and recently supported the establishment of Université de l’Ontario français and the transition of Université de Hearst as autonomous, francophone universities.

Of the $106.8 million provided to French-language postsecondary institutions in 2021–22, $69.5 million was contributed by the province and $37.3 million was contributed by the federal government, through the Canada-Ontario Agreement for Minority-Language Education and Second Language Instruction (2020–2023).

In collaboration with the Ministry of Education, the ministry is implementing Ontario’s French Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy, a four-year, multi-pronged strategy that aims to address the French language and French as a second language teacher shortage in both the French and English school systems. Multiple projects are underway to increase the number of French teachers available and ready to support Ontario students and families.

The ministry also collaborates with the Ministry of Francophone Affairs to support and monitor institutions designated under the French Language Services Act, and to support government priorities related to francophone education and economic development.

Research and innovation

Supporting research continues to be a priority for Ontario. The province recognizes that it is foundational to commercialization and innovation and to attracting and retaining world-class talent in the province. That is why the government will continue to invest in research and ensure an innovative environment that builds capacity and creates jobs, opportunity and growth.

Mitacs

The Ontario government is investing an additional $32.4 million over the next three years to support about 6,500 high-quality research internships through Mitacs, an organization that builds research partnerships between postsecondary institutions and industry.

Through partnerships with Mitacs, the government is continuing to fund thousands of research internships for undergraduate and graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows to help them gain the skills they need for in-demand jobs after graduation.

These internships support high-quality research and range widely in discipline, with support for key provincial priorities like critical minerals, manufacturing and health care.

Expansion of the McMaster Nuclear Reactor

The Ontario government is investing $6.8 million over three years to support the expansion of the McMaster Nuclear Reactor (MNR). The MNR is the largest research reactor in Canada. Scientists use the MNR for research and development in medical isotopes, radiopharmaceuticals, advanced materials and more. The MNR supports Ontario industries including nuclear medicine, nuclear fuel production, natural resource exploration and chemical manufacturing through significant commercial contracts.

This investment will help to increase the operations of the reactor to 24 hours per day, five days a week at five megawatts to increase the amount and diversity of isotopes produced.

This added capacity will enable more research in strategic areas including advanced materials, clean energy and Small Modular Reactors and create important opportunities for expanded research and development, create quality jobs in southern Ontario while positioning Ontario as a leader in the global nuclear medicine market.

Supporting the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory

The Ontario government is investing $14 million over two years starting in 2024–25 to continue to support and expand the operations of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNOLAB), an underground science laboratory located in Sudbury. This investment will ensure the province remains a leader in advanced science, technology and innovation, and continues to be a jurisdiction of choice for scientific research in the field of fundamental physics.

At two kilometers below surface, SNOLAB is the deepest underground lab in North America, providing ideal conditions for physicists studying dark matter and neutrinos. Ontario's investment in SNOLAB will:

  • Open the door to new discoveries in fundamental science
  • Provide a unique training environment to attract, develop and retain the next generation of scientists and engineers
  • Help maintain Ontario's leadership in this field and attract international research and investment partnerships
  • Support technology development and promote mobilization of knowledge and transfer of technology to society
Creating a Centre for Analytics at the Ontario Brain Institute

The Ontario government is investing $5 million in operating funding over three years to create a Centre for Analytics at the Ontario Brain Institute to transform the science discovered in labs into insights that will improve the practice of medicine and the lives of those affected by brain disorders in Ontario and around the world.

The Centre for Analytics will democratize data across research networks and the international community to create strong data foundations, first-in-class platforms, and scalable Artificial Intelligence (AI) products to gain more value out of the data.

Intellectual Property and Intellectual Property Ontario (IPON)

The Ontario Intellectual Property (IP) Action Plan aims to enhance the generation, protection, and management of intellectual property. The pillars of the IP Action Plan include:

  • Intellectual Property Ontario (IPON) — the first agency in Canada devoted to working with innovators, businesses and researchers to increase the value of their intellectual property
  • Basic and advanced IP curricula
  • The Commercialization Mandate Policy Framework, and
  • A new governance framework for Regional Innovation Centres

IPON is a key pillar of the IP Action plan. As announced in the 2022 Ontario Budget, the province is supporting IPON with an investment of about $58 million over three years. This investment will support the province’s innovators, including researchers and entrepreneurs, to maximize the value of and protect their IP, gain a competitive advantage in the global market, and support long-term economic growth. IPON is a shared priority for the Ministry of Colleges and Universities and Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade and is jointly funded (50:50) by the two ministries. The Ministry of Colleges and Universities is the lead oversight ministry for the agency, working in close partnership with the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.

IPON is currently in its initial beta phase, which targeted the medical technology, automotive, artificial intelligence industries, and Ontario Research Fund — Research Excellence recipients. As the agency moves into its scale-up phase, IPON will expand its existing programs and establish new services to support a greater number of clients and continue to work to build capacity across the innovation ecosystem.

2023–24 strategic plan

The Ministry of Colleges and Universities promotes excellence and equity in higher education, life-long learning and research.

Ontario’s postsecondary system is a critical part of the economy, preparing students and job seekers with the high-quality education, skills and opportunities needed to get good jobs, and providing employers with a talented and skilled workforce to help them thrive and prosper.

Supporting research and innovation helps the province compete in the global economy and strengthens its intellectual property driving Ontario’s economic growth.

A plan for the future

Ontario’s plan for the future of higher education and advanced research will:

  • focus on meeting the needs of all students and equipping them to succeed in rewarding careers
  • establish a tuition fee framework that keeps education affordable for lower and middle-income families
  • expanding work-integrated learning through partnerships with employers and industry and continue to focus on a bold Micro-Credentials Strategy that will be flexible, train people faster and rapidly meet labour market needs
  • build a financially sustainable postsecondary education and research sector that is transparent and accountable
  • invest in research, collaboration and innovation that will see Ontario expand the development and commercialization of intellectual property and economic prosperity
  • create an ecosystem that attracts and retains the world’s best researchers in Ontario and protect the value of their research for the benefit of Ontario

Table 1: Ministry Planned Expenditures 2023–24 ($M)

ItemAmount
$M
Operating11,475.94
Capital638.91
Total12,114.85

Note: Total amount includes statutory appropriations and consolidations. Operating and Capital Assets are not included.

Highlights of 2022–23 results

Sector financial sustainability

  • Launched a blue-ribbon panel to provide advice and recommendations for keeping the postsecondary education sector financially strong and focused on providing the best student experience possible.
  • Supported Laurentian University in successfully emerging from protection under the Companies’ Creditor Arrangers Act (CCAA).

Postsecondary institutions

  • Moved forward with the expansion of degree granting at publicly assisted colleges to offer greater flexibility to design and deliver programs that will provide more options for students to meet labour market needs.
  • Expanded OSAP eligibility to more than 1,800 ministry-approved, quality-assured micro-credentials at public and private postsecondary institutions.
  • With the support of key stakeholders, launched a pilot project with 10 Ontario postsecondary institutions to adopt MyCreds™, a digital credentialing platform that enables learners to access, control and securely share their earned micro-credentials.
  • Reduced administrative burden for private career colleges so they can continue to deliver valuable training by modernizing requirements for online or hybrid learning to give more flexibility to the sector in designing and delivering programs and making it easier for private career colleges to welcome international students to Ontario.
  • Released an updated directive that ensures colleges are creating innovative partnerships with private providers in a sustainable and responsible way.
  • Invested $209 million in postsecondary infrastructure to support critical maintenance, repairs, upgrades and renewal at Ontario’s universities and colleges.
  • On April 1, 2022, made l’Université de Hearst a second university governed by — and for — francophones.

Students

  • Recognized college graduates for contributing to the growth of the province’s economy and improving lives through the Minister’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the Premier’s Awards for College Graduates.
  • Extended the current tuition freeze for colleges and universities by an additional year, providing more financial relief and predictability for families and students seeking access to affordable postsecondary education.
  • Provided financial assistance through OSAP to more than 410,000 full-time students.
  • Supported over 450 virtual learning projects from across the province that resulted in more than 600 digital resources that support Ontario’s institutions, students, faculty and staff as they teach and learn online.
  • Supported the launch of laptop and internet loaner programs to make 1,500 laptops and more than 500 modems available to learners in rural, northern, Indigenous and francophone.
  • Passed legislation that further protects students by providing measures for postsecondary institutions to address faculty and staff sexual misconduct toward students and allows institutions to better address complaints when they arise.
  • Invested a total of $24.5 million in mental health, wellness, and trauma-related supports for postsecondary students at colleges, universities, and Indigenous Institutes, including a call for proposals to support the mental health of international students.
  • Provided over $10 million to Mitacs — an organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada by solving business challenges with research solutions from academic institutions — to support 2,700 paid internships for postsecondary students.
  • Invested about $55 million to support publicly assisted colleges, universities and Indigenous Institutes to provide academic accommodations to students with disabilities.
  • Created a $1.9 million Ontario-Ukraine Solidarity Scholarship to support students attending Ontario’s publicly assisted colleges and universities. Each $10,000 scholarship was awarded to individual students based on merit and financial need.
  • Invested $1 million over two years in a scholarship to provide financial assistance to high-achieving postsecondary students in programs related to video-gaming and the eSports industry. The funding is split equally among the 18 participating institutions.

Indigenous Institutes

  • Invested $26.4 million in the Indigenous Institutes Operating Grant to support the nine Indigenous Institutes in the province that provide access for more than 1,500 postsecondary education learners.
  • For the first time in Ontario, $1.5 million was invested in the Indigenous Institutes Facilities Renewal Program to ensure students attending Indigenous Institutes have the facilities needed to support their learning.

Health Human Resources

  • Prepared for the launch of the new Ontario Learn and Stay Grant in spring 2023 to support about 2,500 eligible students who enrol in a high-priority program in a high-priority community and commit to work in an underserved community after graduating.
  • Supported the clinical education component in nursing education programs through an investment of $124.2 million over three years ($41.4 million annually).
  • Worked collaboratively with the Ministry of Health to extend personal support worker (PSW) training initiatives in 2022 with a $58 million investment to support a second round of accelerated PSW training at Ontario’s publicly assisted colleges (supporting over 6,000 PSW students).
  • Launched a second round of the PSW Challenge Fund with an investment of approximately $85 million to support up to 7,200 new PSW students at private career colleges in Ontario. At the end of February 2023, more than 6,700 students have confirmed their enrolment in the program.
  • Increased enrolment in nursing and personal support worker programs at six Indigenous Institutes by investing $34 million over four years to support culturally responsive education and training pathways.
  • Established Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) University as an independent, degree-granting institution on April 1, 2022.

Research programs

  • Invested $128.8 million in 2022–23 to support groundbreaking work at leading research institutes and universities across the province including: Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), Ontario Brain Institute (OBI), Clinical Trials Ontario (CTO), Perimeter Institute, Fields Institute, Ontario Genomics, Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CAHBI), Compute Ontario, SNOLAB and Advanced Research Computing (ARC) facilties.
  • Invested more than $30.5 million in research projects at colleges, universities and research hospitals through the Ontario Research Fund and Early Researcher Awards to support 163 research projects.
  • Opened Intellectual Property Ontario, a new board-governed agency that will serve as a go-to resource for intellectual property (IP) expertise to help researchers and companies maximize the value of their IP, strengthen their capacity to grow and compete in the global market and enhance research and commercialization outcomes.
  • Established a joint working group between government, university, college, industry and innovation sector representatives to develop a consistent understanding and approach to the measurement of commercialization outcomes, including shared definitions of success in the areas of research, applied research and innovation.
  • Invested $2 million in 2022–23 to support the Ontario Collaborative Innovation Platform, a new online portal that matches industry professionals with equipment, facilities and experts at postsecondary institutions.
  • Recognized leading researchers in the province for their contributions in the fields of chemistry, economic science, physics and physiology/medicine with annual John Charles Polanyi Prizes.

Detailed financial information

Table 2: Combined operating and capital summary by vote

Operating Expense
Votes/ProgramsEstimates
2023–24
$
Change from Estimates
2022–23
$
%Estimates
2022–23footnote 1
$
Interim Actuals
2022–23footnote 1
$
Actuals
2021–22footnote 1
$
Ministry Administration15,012,000(9,000)(0.1)15,021,00015,021,00015,404,198
Postsecondary Education6,631,704,000153,791,5002.46,477,912,5006,317,251,4006,102,039,959
Research206,897,100(3,791,800)(1.8)210,688,900194,782,600163,482,281
Total Operating Expense to be Voted6,853,613,100149,990,7002.26,703,622,4006,527,055,0006,280,926,438
Statutory Appropriations56,506,0141,400,0002.555,106,01456,506,01457,767,700
Ministry Total Operating Expense6,910,119,114151,390,7002.26,758,728,4146,583,561,0146,338,694,138
Consolidation & Other Adjustments — Colleges4,627,116,4001,136,489,70032.63,490,626,7004,235,019,7003,798,265,975
Operating Expense Adjustment — Student Assistance Interest Expense Reclassification(48,979,900)00.0(48,979,900)(48,979,900)(18,140,954)
Consolidation Adjustment — Children Aid Societies(1,050,000)(1,050,000)N/A0(1,050,000)0
Consolidation & Other Adjustments — Hospitals(10,591,200)(1,798,900)N/A(8,792,300)(4,000,000)(9,149,160)
Consolidation & Other Adjustments — General Real Estate Portfolio(676,800)(19,900)N/A(656,900)(740,600)(700,360)
Total Including Consolidation & Other Adjustments11,475,937,6141,285,011,60012.610,190,926,01410,763,810,21410,108,969,639

Note: any amounts that are within brackets are considered negative.

Operating Assets
Votes/ProgramsEstimates
2023–24
$
Change from Estimates
2022–23
$
%Estimates
2022–23footnote 1
$
Interim Actuals
2022–23footnote 1
$
Actuals
2021–22footnote 1
$
Postsecondary Education331,000,000(21,500,000)(6.1)352,500,000287,500,000243,739,008
Total Operating Assets to be Voted331,000,000(21,500,000)(6.1)352,500,000287,500,000243,739,008
Ministry Total Operating Assets331,000,000(21,500,000)(6.1)352,500,000287,500,000243,739,008

Note: any amounts that are within brackets are considered negative.

Capital Expense
Votes/ProgramsEstimates
2023–24
$
Change from Estimates
2022–23
$
%Estimates
2022–23footnote 1
$
Interim Actuals
2022–23footnote 1
$
Actuals
2021–22footnote 1
$
Postsecondary Education204,847,700(7,474,700)(3.5)212,322,400220,162,400178,410,358
Research110,642,0009,456,8009.3101,185,20069,285,20041,277,145
Total Capital Expense to be Voted315,489,7001,982,1000.6313,507,600289,447,600219,687,503
Statutory Appropriations870,900(5,829,200)(87.0)6,700,1006,700,1006,769,383
Ministry Total Capital Expense316,360,600(3,847,100)(1.2)320,207,700296,147,700226,456,886
Consolidation & Other Adjustments — Colleges342,315,90029,525,9009.4312,790,000294,497,400287,155,683
Consolidation & Other Adjustments — Hospitals(19,766,200)3,570,200N/A(23,336,400)(9,500,000)(12,443,275)
Total Including Consolidation & Other Adjustments638,910,30029,249,0004.8609,661,300581,145,100501,169,294

Note: any amounts that are within brackets are considered negative.

Capital Expense
Votes/ProgramsEstimates
2023–24
$
Change from Estimates
2022–23
$
%Estimates
2022–23footnote 1
$
Interim Actuals
2022–23footnote 1
$
Actuals
2021–22footnote 1
$
Postsecondary Education1,000001,0001,0001,000
Total Capital Assets to be Voted1,000001,0001,0001,000
Ministry Total Capital Assets1,000001,0001,0001,000
Ministry Total Operating and Capital Including Consolidation and Other Adjustments (not including Assets)12,114,847,9141,314,260,60012.210,800,587,31411,344,955,31410,610,138,933

Note: any amounts that are within brackets are considered negative.

Historic trend table

Historic Trend Analysis DataActuals
2020–21footnote 1
$
Actuals
2021–22footnote 1
$
Estimates
2022–23footnote 1
$
Estimates
2023–24footnote 1
$
Ministry Total Operating and Capital Including Consolidation and Other Adjustments (not including Assets)9,825,722,36710,610,138,93310,800,587,31412,114,847,914
Percentage Change (%)N/A8%2%12%

Note: any amounts that are within brackets are considered negative.

Actuals 2020–2021 vs. actuals 2021–22

  • Increase primarily due to higher college sector spending from increased on-campus activities after the easing of restrictions and closures due to COVID‑19, as well as higher spending on student financial assistance.

Actuals 2021–2022 vs. estimates 2022–23

  • Increase primarily due to the expectation of returning to pre-pandemic levels in student financial assistance and research programs.

Estimates 2022–2023 vs. estimates 2023–24

  • Increase primarily due to projected increases in on-campus college activities following the easing of public health restrictions as well as investments in health human resources.

Agencies, boards and commissions (ABCs)

Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO)

Through research and evaluation, HEQCO assists the Minister in improving all aspects of the postsecondary education sector, including improving the quality of education provided in the sector, access to postsecondary education and accountability of postsecondary educational institutions.

2023–24
Expenditure Estimates
($)
2023–24
Revenue Estimates
($)
2022–23
Expenditure Interim Actuals 
($)
2022–23
Revenue Interim Actuals
($)
2021–22
Expenditure Actuals
($)
2021–22
Revenue Actuals
($)
4,100,00077,5004,100,000N/A3,575,000N/A

Postsecondary Education Quality Assessment Board (PEQAB)

Makes recommendations to the Minister on applications for the Minister’s consent to offer degree programs and/or use the term “university” from new and existing private Ontario degree-granting institutions, out-of-province institutions, Ontario colleges and all others not authorized to award degrees by an Ontario statute.

2023–24
Expenditure Estimates
$
2023–24
Revenue Estimates
$
2022–23
Expenditure Interim Actuals 
$
2022–23
Revenue Interim Actuals
$
2021–22
Expenditure Actuals
$
2021–22
Revenue Actuals
$
900,000150,000900,000150,0001,002,39980,000

Intellectual Property Ontario (IPON)

Intellectual Property Ontario provides expert IP advice and access to IP resources to help researchers and companies to maximize the value of IP, strengthen their capacity to grow, compete in the market, and enhance research and commercialization outcomes.

Funding is also provided by the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade.

2023–24
Expenditure Estimates
($)
2023–24
Revenue Estimates
($)
2022–23
Expenditure Interim Actuals 
($)
2022–23
Revenue Interim Actuals
($)
2021–22
Expenditure Actuals
($)
2021–22
Revenue Actuals
($)
7,682,300N/A2,341,800N/A0N/A

Ontario Research Fund Advisory Board (ORFAB)

Reviews research proposals submitted to the Ontario Research Fund and Early Researcher Award program that have been assessed by a Review Panel and makes funding recommendations to the Minister. The board also provides strategic advice to the Minister on the research agenda to keep Ontario competitive and prosperous.

2023–24
Expenditure Estimates
($)
2023–24
Revenue Estimates
($)
2022–23
Expenditure Interim Actuals 
($)
2022–23
Revenue Interim Actuals
($)
2021–22
Expenditure Actuals
($)
2021–22
Revenue Actuals
($)
2,500N/A0N/A0N/A

Ministry organization chart

  • Minister: Jill Dunlop
    • Parliamentary Assistant: Natalie Pierre
    • Deputy Minister: Shannon Fuller
      • Executive Assistant: Sarah Robb
      • Communication — Director: Arielle Paech (A)
      • Laurentian University/Blue Ribbon Secretariat — Executive Lead: Paddy Buckley (A)
      • Data, Research and Innovation Division — Assistant Deputy Minister: Rachel Simeon
        • Executive Assistant: Isabella Di Cristofaro
        • Information Management and Data  Kayla VanWyck (A)
        • Science and Research — Director: Colleen Hogan
      • Advanced Education Learner Supports Division — Assistant Deputy Minister: Anna Boyden (A)
        • Executive Assistant: Alyx Ivany (A)
        • Private Career Colleges — Director: Charlotte Smaglinski (A)
        • Student Financial Assistance — Director: Travis Coulter
        • Digital Learning Policy — Vacant
      • Postsecondary Education Division — Assistant Deputy Minister: Kelly Shields
        • Executive Assistant: Angela Walwyn (A)
        • Postsecondary Education Policy — Director: Ivonne Mellozzi (A)
        • Postsecondary Accountability — Director: Seetha Kumaresh (A)
        • Indigenous Education — Director: Hilary Blain
        • Postsecondary Education Quality Assessment Board Secretariat — Director: James Brown
        • Postsecondary Finance & Information Management — Director: Lindsey Harrold
      • Corporate Management  Services Division — Assistant Deputy Minister: Jason Arandjelovic
        • Executive Assistant: Douglas Ngira-Batware
        • Corporate Finance   Services — Director: Konrad Stypka
        • Strategic Human Resources (Reports to Ministry of Education and Ministry of Colleges and Universities) — Director: Nadine Ramdial
        • Corporate Coordination (Reports to Ministry of Education and Ministry of Colleges and Universities) — Director: Shirley Carder (A)
        • Legal Services (Reports to Ministry of Education and Ministry of Colleges and Universities) — Director: Amyn Hadibhai (A)
        • Ontario Internal Audit Education Audit Team (Reports to Ministry of Education and Ministry of Colleges and Universities) — Director: Anne Piattella (A)
      • French Language Teaching, Learning & Achievement Division (Reports to Ministry of Education and Ministry of Colleges and Universities) — Assistant Deputy Minister: Denys Giguère
        • Executive Assistant: Alain Daoust (A)
        • MCU French-Language Priorities — Director: Elizabeth Hoerath
      • Community Services I&IT Cluster (Reports to Ministry of Education, Colleges and Universities, Municipal Affairs and Housing, Tourism, Culture and Sport) — Chief Information Officer/ Assistant Deputy Minister: Rocco Passero
        • Executive Assistant: Marie Dearlove
        • Case & Grant Management Solutions (Reports to Ministry of Education and Ministry of Colleges and Universities) — Director: Sanaul Haque
        • Strategic Planning and Business Relationship Management (Reports to Ministry of Education and Ministry of Colleges and Universities) — Director: Shulin Dave
        • Data Collection and Decision Support Solution — Director: Carm Scarfo
        • iACCESS Solution — Director: Farshad Mahlooji

Appendix: annual report

2022–2023 results

Postsecondary education is a critical part of preparing Ontario students for the future. Ontario’s internationally acclaimed postsecondary sector plays a critical role in creating a pipeline of talented workers, making sure people get the skills and education they need so they are qualified and ready to fill jobs and address the skills gap.

Supporting research in Ontario is foundational to commercialization and innovation and to attract and retain world-class talent in the province. This activity creates highly skilled jobs and enhances the global competitiveness for Ontario’s companies and research institutions. That is why the government will continue to work with research institutions, research organizations and academic hospitals to ensure an innovative environment that builds capacity and creates jobs, opportunity and growth.

Key initiatives and results

In 2022–23, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities delivered on many key government priorities that support driving Ontario’s economic growth and prosperity.

The postsecondary education and research sectors play a critical role in building a better and brighter future for families, workers and businesses in Ontario.

That is why the Ministry of Colleges and Universities has worked this past year to:

  • ensure the strength of the postsecondary sector by building capacity and supporting financial sustainability and accountability to achieve outcomes that benefit students and help build Ontario’s economy
  • ensure publicly assisted colleges, universities, Indigenous Institutes and private career colleges in Ontario are forward-looking and ready for the future by responding to both student and labour market needs
  • encourage digital transformation through investments in virtual learning to support hybrid teaching and learning
  • support postsecondary student access to and success in postsecondary education through targeted supports including financial aid and mental health services
  • protect the health care system through programs that accelerate and expand education and training for health care professionals to ensure we build the health care workforce needed to serve the people of Ontario
  • protect intellectual property by making sure that Ontario made ideas benefit the people of Ontario
  • strengthen Ontario’s research sector, supporting discovery and innovation
  • ensure sound financial management of government resources and a commitment to continuous improvement to increase efficiency and effectiveness of programs

Financial sustainability of the postsecondary education sector

Ontario is committed to supporting the quality, accessibility and sustainability of the postsecondary education system now and into the future, so learners continue to get the skills and education needed to get good jobs and meet labour market needs.

Blue-ribbon panel

In March 2023, the ministry created a blue-ribbon panel to provide advice and recommendations for keeping the postsecondary education sector financially strong and focused on providing the best student experience. Their work will be guided by the following principles:

  • enhancing student experience and access
  • rewarding excellence and financial sustainability
  • improving labour market alignment
  • promoting economic growth and prosperity
  • keeping education affordable for lower and middle-income families

The panel is expected to deliver its recommendations to the Minister of Colleges and Universities by Summer 2023.

Strategic Mandate Agreements and performance-based funding

The Ontario government is ensuring that the province’s publicly assisted postsecondary institutions have a clear mandate that is focused on meeting the needs of students and equipping them to succeed in rewarding careers. That is why the government introduced a new, historic, ‘made-in-Ontario’ performance-based funding model that links a larger portion of provincial college and university operating funding to student and economic outcomes, making the province a national leader in performance-based funding.

To provide stability and predictability to Ontario’s publicly assisted colleges and universities, the government implemented a three-year delay in activating the 2020–25 Strategic Mandate Agreements (SMA3) performance-based funding, to recognize sector-wide challenges due to COVID‑19 impacts, sustainability and economic trends.

Starting in Year 4 (2023–24), the ministry will be activating performance-based funding at 10% of total operating funding and linking funding to metric performance. Pending outcomes of the blue-ribbon panel, the ministry will make an assessment about the appropriate activation level for Year 5 (2024–25).

Performance-based funding activation will better position institutions to prepare students with the education and experience they need to get jobs in a related field, while also supporting postsecondary education sustainability.

Financial accountability framework

In November 2022, the ministry announced a new financial accountability framework for universities, to be implemented in April 2023.

This framework is informed by the recommendations of a third party and the Council of Ontario Universities and supports the sector’s ongoing commitment to the transparency of financial information and the ministry’s commitment to proactively monitor institutional financial health.

It uses publicly available financial information to measure the financial health risk of universities to determine the appropriate course of action for the ministry and universities. The results of the health risk assessment will inform the ministry on whether it should communicate to the university the need for an action plan to fix identified financial concerns.

Support for the health care workforce

The COVID‑19 pandemic has highlighted how vital health care professionals are to the health and long-term care of people in Ontario. The government is building up the health care workforce to strengthen the health care system and ensure Ontarians have access to the high-quality care they need and deserve.

Ontario Learn and Stay Grant

On March 29, 2022, Ontario announced A Plan to Stay Open, a number of measures to recruit more doctors, nurses, and personal support workers to the province’s health care system, including a new Ontario Learn and Stay Grant program. An investment of $61 million over three years, the Ontario Learn and Stay Grant will provide upfront funding for tuition, books and other direct educational costs in exchange for a term of service after graduation. The commitment to the Ontario Learn and Stay Grant was re-iterated in the August 2022 Speech from the Throne, a January 2023 announcement by the Premier, and the 2023 Budget: Building A Strong Ontario.

Consistent with this commitment, starting in Spring 2023, applications will open for about 2,500 eligible students each year who enroll in a high-priority program in a high-priority community and commit to work in an underserved community after graduating.

In the 2023–24 academic year, the grant will focus on specific health human resource programs, including:

  • nursing programs in northern, eastern and southwestern Ontario
  • medical laboratory technologist/sciences programs in northern and southwestern Ontario
  • paramedic programs in northern Ontario

Nursing education

Maintaining excellence in nursing education continues to be a priority for Ontario, while also expanding choice for students and providing greater autonomy to institutions.

In 2020, the Ontario government introduced a new pathway for nursing degree education, offering more choices for students.

Ontario’s model of nursing degree education now includes stand-alone Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs offered at publicly assisted universities and colleges, in addition to university-college collaborative nursing partnerships. In 2022–23, 14 institutions offered stand-alone nursing programs. An additional four programs are approved to start in 2023 and eight universities and 10 colleges will continue their collaborative nursing programs in 2023.

Nursing degrees may also be offered by Indigenous Institutes. One Indigenous Institute offers a nursing degree program in partnership with a university.

Clinical education expansion

Starting in 2022, the government is investing $124.2 million over three years ($41.4 million annually) to support the clinical education component in nursing education programs. This investment is helping publicly assisted colleges and universities to expand lab capacity supports and hands-on learning for students providing opportunities for learners to demonstrate their knowledge in practical settings.

Personal support worker training

The government knows the important role personal support workers (PSWs) play in Ontario’s health care system.

Building on a $200 million investment by the government to train up to 16,200 PSWs in 2021, the government extended these successful PSW training initiatives in 2022:

  • In June 2022, the Ministry of Health invested over $58 million to support a second round of accelerated PSW training at Ontario’s publicly assisted colleges to support over 6,000 PSW students.
  • In 2022–23 the ministry collaborated with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Long-Term Care on the second round of the PSW Challenge Fund. This will result in an investment of approximately $85 million to support up to 7,200 new PSW students at private career colleges in Ontario.

The government continues to work closely with the Ministries of Health and Long-Term Care, and postsecondary institutions to ensure PSWs receive the skills and education needed for a high-quality PSW workforce in Ontario.

Enhancing personal support worker and nursing training at Indigenous Institutes

Announced in March 2022, Ontario is increasing enrolment in nursing and personal support worker programs at six Indigenous Institutes by investing $34 million over four years.

Funding is supporting Indigenous Institutes to provide culturally responsive education and training pathways for learners to prepare for careers as registered nurses (RNs), registered practical nurses  (RPNs) or PSWs. The investment is helping participating Indigenous Institutes expand existing programs or create new ones to support the training of about 340 RPNs, 60 RNs and 400 PSWs over four years.

Paramedicine

To assist with labour force shortages in the sector, the ministry has been working with the Ministry of Health and the postsecondary education ector to consider opportunities to support greater enrolment in primary care paramedicine programs across the province.

Medical schools

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) University was established as an independent, degree-granting institution on April 1, 2022. NOSM University is critical to ensuring the availability of health human resources in northern Ontario. The establishment of NOSM University as an independent institution demonstrates the government’s commitment to postsecondary education in the North and recognizes the important role the institution plays in providing students access to medical training.

Announced in March 2022, the Ontario government is expanding medical school education in the province, adding 160 undergraduate seats and 295 postgraduate positions over the next five years.

This expansion is supporting all six medical schools in Ontario, including the University of Toronto’s new Scarborough Academy of Medicine and Integrated Health, the Queen’s-Lakeridge Health Campus, NOSM University, Western University, McMaster University and the University of Ottawa. Medical seats will also be allotted to the new Toronto Metropolitan University School of Medicine in Brampton when it becomes operational.

The expansion aims to increase access to family and specialty physicians and other health care professionals in every corner of the province.

Making postsecondary education affordable, accessible and inclusive

Freezing tuition

The government is committed to ensuring that all qualified Ontario students have access to affordable, high-quality postsecondary education. Reducing tuition and increasing the affordability of college and university is part of the government’s plan to help people get the training they need to get well-paying jobs.

For the 2022–2023 academic year, tuition fees remained frozen at the 2019–2020 levels for Ontario residents, with the exception of an up to five percent tuition fee increase for domestic out-of-province students.

Ontario Student Assistance Program

The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) provided financial aid to more than 410,000 full-time students in 2022–2023 and about 160,000 students accessed repayment supports.

The postsecondary programs that OSAP supports have also expanded. Students in eligible, independently delivered programs at Indigenous Institutes were eligible to apply for OSAP for the first time in the 2020–2021 academic year, and students can also now apply for OSAP for more than 1,800 eligible micro-credentials programs at both public and private institutions.

College degree expansion

In April 2022, the government expanded degree granting at publicly assisted colleges. This included introducing three-year college degrees in applied areas of study and increasing degree cap limits at colleges to offer greater flexibility to design and deliver programs that will provide more options for students to meet labour market needs.

Virtual Learning

The government has committed over $70 million from 2020 to 2023 to support Ontario’s inaugural Virtual Learning Strategy (VLS). The strategy, informed by consultations with the postsecondary sector, emphasizes accessible and sustainable growth in virtual learning, supports digital transformation in teaching and learning at Ontario’s postsecondary institutions, and builds the digital-ready workforce needed to support Ontario’s economy.

The VLS leverages Ontario’s existing digital learning organizations — Contact North | Nord (CN) and eCampusOntario (eCO) which improve access and drive innovation in virtual teaching and learning.

Virtual learning can improve access to learning opportunities, in both French and English, through anytime, anywhere learning, providing all Ontarians a fair chance to compete in the labour market.

To date, the investment in the VLS has yielded:

  • Engagement and participation at every publicly funded college, university and Indigenous Institute in Ontario.
  • Over 450 projects across the province that resulted in more than 600 digital resources that support Ontario’s institutions, students, faculty and staff as they teach and learn online.
  • Laptop and internet loaner programs that make 1,500 laptops and more than 500 modems available for learners in rural, northern, Indigenous and francophone communities.
  • About 500 short courses/modules transitioned online, the creation of over 400 new short online courses/modules, and over 200 open educational resources developed at Indigenous Institutes.

Micro-credentials

Ontario’s first Micro-credentials Strategy was announced in Fall 2020, with an investment of $59.5 million over three years to help people retrain and upgrade their skills to find new employment.

In March 2022, the ministry launched its first phase to expand eligibility for OSAP for micro-credentials to private institutions (including private career colleges). Currently, there are more than 1,800 micro-credentials that are OSAP-eligible at both public and private institutions in Ontario.

The ministry also launched the Virtual Skills Passport through a pilot project in partnership with the Ontario Digital Service, the Association of Registrars of the Universities and Colleges of Canada (ARUCC) and eCampusOntario. The pilot project helped 10 Ontario postsecondary institutions adopt ARUCC’s MyCreds™ digital credentialing platform that enables learners to access, control and securely share their earned micro-credentials.

The ministry also provided support to eCampusOntario to carry out user research to better understand the needs, expectations and challenges of postsecondary learners related to digital credentialing.

Better supports for victims of sexual violence

In December 2022, the government passed legislation that further protects students by providing measures for postsecondary institutions to address faculty and staff sexual misconduct toward students and allows institutions to better address complaints when they arise. In particular, the amendments:

  • Strengthen the tools available to publicly assisted colleges and universities and private career colleges to address instances of faculty and staff sexual misconduct toward students (i.e., deeming sexual misconduct toward a student to be just cause for dismissal and preventing the rehiring of employees found to have committed sexual misconduct toward a student).
  • Prevent the use of non-disclosure agreements in situations where a student brings forward an allegation of sexual misconduct by an employee, unless the non-disclosure agreement is requested by the student.
  • Require institutions to have employee sexual misconduct policies that at a minimum, include the institution’s rules with respect to sexual behaviour involving employees and students of the institution and examples of disciplinary measures that may be imposed on employees who contravene the policy.

Indigenous learning

Indigenous Institutes

Indigenous Institutes are a vital pillar of Ontario’s world-class postsecondary education system. Ontario supports a postsecondary system that is accessible, respectful and inclusive for Indigenous learners.

In 2022–2023, Ontario invested $26.4 million in the Indigenous Institutes Operating Grant to support the nine Indigenous Institutes in the province that provide access for more than 1,500 postsecondary education learners. This represents an increase of $1.6 million, or 6.3%, from 2021–2022 funding levels.

In 2022–2023, Ontario also invested in the following special purpose grants for the Indigenous Institutes:

  • $0.95 million for mental health services
  • $0.65 million to support accessibility for students with disabilities
  • $0.13 million for bursaries for Indigenous students
  • $1.1 million for the First Nations Technical Institute’s First Peoples’ Aviation Technology — Flight Program, the only Indigenous aviation program in Canada
  • $1.5 million for the Indigenous Institutes Facilities Renewal Program

In 2022–2023, the ministry also provided $2.1 million in funding to the Indigenous Advanced Education and Skills Council, which is recognized under the Indigenous Institutes Act, 2017 and has key legislated roles with respect to quality assurance and student protection in the Indigenous Institutes pillar.

Indigenous Student Bursary

The ministry continued to provide supports for Indigenous students in financial need, through the Indigenous Student Bursary grant to colleges, universities and Indigenous Institutes. Through this bursary, $1.5 million is disbursed to Indigenous learners each year:

  • $710,200 to universities
  • $660,300 to colleges
  • $129,500 to Indigenous Institutes

Indigenous Student Success Fund

The Indigenous Student Success Fund (ISSF) continues to provide $18.2 million in funding annually to colleges and universities. This funding helps institutions develop and deliver programs and services for Indigenous students,reducing barriers that prevent Indigenous people from accessing postsecondary education and increasing the involvement of the Indigenous community in institutional governance and program development.

French-language education

Ontario provides about $70 million annually to support more than 32,000 postsecondary students enrolled in French-language and bilingual programs in Ontario.

The Université de l’Ontario français (UOF), Ontario’s first French-language university that is governed by — and for — francophones, started its second academic year in Fall 2022, with an enrolment of about 100 students, up from 29 in Fall 2021. In January 2023, UOF launched a Bachelor of Education program on a part-time basis. Beginning in September 2023, UOF intends to offer the program on an accelerated full-time basis (16 months total).

Also, legislation that came into force on April 1, 2022, makes l’Université de Hearst the second university governed by — and for — francophones. Starting in Fall 2022, Université de Hearst began offering a graduate diploma in psychotherapy.

Students with disabilities

The government provides financial support to publicly assisted colleges, universities and Indigenous Institutes so they can ensure that all students have the tools and resources to achieve their full potential. Accessible education and training initiatives are important tools to address higher unemployment rates among persons with disabilities and improving overall labour market outcomes.

In 2022–2023, the ministry invested about $55 million to support publicly assisted colleges, universities and Indigenous Institutes in meeting their legal requirements to provide academic accommodations to students with disabilities.

Supporting mental health

Mental health and addictions support is a priority for the Ministry of Colleges and Universities. The ministry is a partner in the multi-year Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, Roadmap to Wellness, launched on March 3, 2020, and led by the Ministry of Health.

In 2022–23, the government invested a total of $24.5 million in mental health supports for postsecondary students. The funds helped to bolster mental health supports at institutions by supporting a range of pre-existing initiatives, including the Mental Health Services Grant, Mental Health Worker Grant and the Indigenous Institutes Mental Health Grant. The funds also supported the launch of a call for proposals to support the mental health of international students registered at publicly assisted colleges and universities.

International students

International students enrich the academic, social and cultural life of the province’s postsecondary institutions and communities. The government recognizes the critical role that international postsecondary education plays in fostering the talent, skills and future prosperity of the province.

International education also increases Ontario’s competitiveness and prosperity, with international students at all levels of education directly contributing about $12.3 billion to the provincial economy in 2018 (Canmac Economics Limited for Global Affairs Canada, 2020).

That is why the government works with Ontario’s postsecondary institutions and federal government partners to create conditions that make it easier for everyone to access a high-quality education in the province.

Special student scholarships

Remembrance Scholarship

In memory of the 57 Canadians who perished in the 2020 Ukrainian International Airline crash (Flight PS752) in Iran, the government renewed the scholarship fund created in their honour for another year. Many of the victims were part of Ontario’s postsecondary community. The fund disbursed additional scholarship funding of $10,000 to 57 students, one in memory of each victim, to support their studies during the 2022–23 academic year.

Ontario-Ukraine Solidarity Scholarship

In response to the Russian military invasion of Ukraine, on April 6, 2022, the province announced a $1.9 million Ontario-Ukraine Solidarity Scholarship to support students attending Ontario’s publicly assisted colleges and universities. Each $10,000 scholarship was awarded to individual students through their college or university based on merit and financial need in the 2022–23 academic year.

eSports scholarship

The government is investing $1 million over two years in a scholarship for postsecondary students in eSports and related programs. Video gaming is a rapidly growing industry in the province that contributed more than $5.5 billion to the Canadian economy in 2021.

The scholarship was made available through eligible publicly assisted colleges and universities and offers financial aid to students enrolled in programs related to the video-gaming industry that may lead to a career in the video-gaming or eSports fields. Students were awarded scholarships starting in Fall 2022.

Experiential/work-integrated learning

Experiential and work-integrated learning opportunities at Ontario’s postsecondary education institutions give students the experience they need to get in-demand jobs after graduating.

Through partnerships with eCampusOntario and Contact North | Nord — organizations that support the growth and delivery of digital learning in Ontario — the government has created opportunities for virtual or technology-enhanced experiential learning. The government is also supporting student internships to help businesses, start-ups and new entrepreneurial companies grow and protect “Ontario made” innovations, ideas and products.

Through a partnership with Mitacs — an organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada by solving business challenges with research solutions from academic institutions — the government provided more than $10 million to Mitacs to support 2,700 paid internships for postsecondary students which will help them gain the skills they need to secure in-demand jobs after graduating.

This support for hands-on learning, and the efforts of employers, students and postsecondary education institutions to expand opportunities, has made Ontario a national leader in experiential learning.

Ensuring a high-quality, sustainable postsecondary education sector

Private career colleges

Private career colleges play an important role in Ontario’s postsecondary landscape, providing learners with the knowledge and skills they need to get a job in today’s workplace, including in priority sectors such as health and long-term care.

One of the government’s priorities is to reduce the administrative burden for private career colleges and ensure that they can continue to deliver valuable training to students by cutting red tape. Examples of recent initiatives to cut red tape for the sector include:

These changes will allow private career colleges to concentrate on providing learners with the skills-focused education needed to enter Ontario’s workforce. The ministry will continue to work with the sector to identify ways to reduce burden while ensuring strong protection for students.

Private career colleges play a key role in supporting Ontario’s economic growth by offering short-term, flexible, career-focused training to prospective students to help them enter or re-enter the workforce, attracting international students who will also contribute to the province’s economic prosperity.

Public College — Private Partnership Policy review

The Public College-Private Partnerships Minister’s Binding Policy Directive allows colleges to create innovative partnerships with private providers, generating additional revenue and helping them to be more financially competitive. This allows them to invest in their campuses and communities.

In December 2021, the ministry announced the launch of a review of its public college — private partnership policy, two years after the policy was first launched in 2019.

The directive ensures a responsible and sustainable approach to growth that helps protect and enhance Ontario’s reputation as a postsecondary education leader and as a great place to live and work. In March 2023, an updated directive was released to ensure it continues to support student success, program quality and college financial health.

Laurentian University

There has been ongoing work to support the financial sustainability of Laurentian University in response to the unprecedented situation of a postsecondary institution entering the Companies’ Creditor Arrangers Act (CCAA) process. The ministry’s approach balances the importance of Laurentian to the local economy and postsecondary education in northern Ontario and the responsible use of public funds.

In Spring 2022, the government proposed a path forward that continues to support Laurentian University while ensuring greater financial oversight as the university restructures and positions itself for a financially sustainable future.

A key element is the government’s acquisition of real estate assets with a value of up to $53.5 million, subject to final government approvals, which would support Laurentian to finance a Plan of Arrangement.

In November 2022, Laurentian University successfully emerged from CCAA protection. The ministry will continue to work with the institution to support it on its path to sustainable operations.

Capital Renewal programs

In the 2022 Ontario Budget, the government announced an investment in critical maintenance, repairs, upgrades and renewal of $596.6 million over three years, starting in 2022–23, for Ontario’s universities and colleges.

Ontario invested a total of $209 million in postsecondary infrastructure in 2022–23. This investment included:

  • $179 million through the Facilities Renewal Program to help publicly assisted colleges and universities with the critical maintenance, repairs, upgrades and renewal of existing facilities
  • $20 million through the College Equipment and Renewal Fund to help colleges buy and renew instructional equipment and learning resources
  • $10 million through the Training Equipment and Renewal Fund to help universities renew and buy modern, state-of-the-art equipment

Part of this investment required colleges and universities to secure matching contributions from a private sector partner, which helps them deliver relevant, high-quality education and training to meet the evolving needs of employers.

Major Capacity Expansion

In 2020, the ministry announced an updated Major Capacity Expansion Policy Framework. The updated framework is applicable to all publicly funded postsecondary institutions for major campus expansions, considering both domestic and international students, academic programs tied to local labour market needs, leveraging existing and planned local infrastructure, community partnerships and alignment with government priorities.

Under the updated framework, the ministry announced support for the operations of the new Markham Campus for York University opening in Fall 2023 and a new Milton campus for Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College opening in Fall 2024.

Research and innovation

Ontario is creating an ecosystem that attracts and retains the world’s best researchers in the province and protects the value of their research for the benefit of Ontario. The province’s research programs are important to the advancement of technologies and practices within education and business. That’s why the government is working to make sure the social and economic opportunities that result from discoveries made in Ontario benefit Ontarians and the Ontario economy.

A thriving research sector is a central pillar of the province’s innovation system. By providing funding for research, the ministry is ensuring that Ontario’s research institutions have the tools they need to engage in world-class research, development and commercialization.

Ontario-funded research projects and research institutes help grow Ontario’s economy by developing talent and fostering discovery. They provide opportunities to train top students and research talent on leading-edge techniques and technologies, creating the in-demand workforce of the knowledge economy. They also support the generation of new knowledge and discovery that form the pipeline of innovations that will drive economic prosperity into the future.

As announced in the 2021 Ontario Budget, the government is investing over $500 million over the next 10 years to support additional high‐value research undertaken across Ontario’s universities, colleges, research institutes and research hospitals.

Research institutes

As a further demonstration of the Ontario government’s commitment to research excellence and commercialization, the ministry provides funding support to several research institutes. These institutes are internationally recognized centres of excellence, each with a unique mandate. Collectively, these organizations carry out research of strategic importance to the province, support research collaborations, focus on building talent, and on commercialization.

In 2022–23, the Ontario government invested $128.8 million to support ground-breaking work at leading research institutes and universities across the province. This investment included:

  • Clinical Trials Ontario ($2 million)
  • Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) ($72 million)
  • Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) ($20 million)
  • Perimeter Institute ($12 million)
  • The Fields Institutes ($2 million)
  • Ontario Genomics ($2.5 million)
  • Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI) ($4.7 million)
  • Compute Ontario ($1.6 million)
  • SNOLAB ($6 million)
  • Advanced Research Computing (ARC) facilities at 13 research institutions across the province ($6 million)

Ontario Research Fund and Early Researcher Awards

The Ontario government is committed to supporting researchers make discoveries that advance knowledge, drive progress and create jobs for the people of Ontario.

In 2022–23, the Ontario government invested $30.5 million in research projects at colleges, universities and research hospitals across the province. This funding is being delivered through the Ontario Research Fund (ORF) and Early Researcher Awards (ERA) and supports 163 research projects across the province. This included:

  • ORF-College Fund Round 9: $2.49 million for three projects
  • ERA Round 16: $7.5 million for 54 projects
  • Genome Applications Partnership Program (GAPP) Round 20: $1.6 million for two projects
  • ORF-Small Infrastructure Fund June 2021 Round: $9.4 million for 51 projects
  • ORF-Small Infrastructure Fund November 2021 Round: $9.5 million for 53 projects

These funds will be used to cover the costs of research operations and infrastructure, including building, renovating and equipping research facilities with the latest technology, and supporting researchers to attract and retain research talent.

Intellectual Property

In 2022–23, Ontario made significant progress to implement the Intellectual Property (IP) Action Plan.

Intellectual Property Ontario

As announced in the 2022 Ontario Budget, Ontario is supporting Intellectual Property Ontario (IPON) with an investment of about $58 million over three years.

IPON, the new board-governed agency established on January 4, 2022, serves as a go-to resource for Intellectual Property expertise to help researchers and companies maximize the value of their IP, strengthen their capacity to grow and compete in the global market and enhance research and commercialization outcomes.

IPON is now open for business and is offering its services to an initial cohort of clients. As part of the agency’s beta phase, IPON is serving four priority client groups, including innovators in the medical technologies, artificial intelligence and automotive technologies sectors, as well as recipients of the Ontario Research Fund-Research Excellence program. After the beta phase, IPON’s services will be scaled up to include clients in additional sectors.

Commercialization Mandate Policy Framework

On January 14, 2022, the ministry launched a Commercialization Mandate Policy Framework (CMPF) for all publicly assisted colleges and universities that will guide them in adopting and implementing policies that will improve commercialization outcomes. Alongside the launch of new IP supports and services through IPON, this framework will help position Ontario to harness the full value of the IP generated by the postsecondary sector to support researchers and innovators and ensure the benefits of commercialization remain in Ontario.

Based on the requirements in the CMPF, all publicly assisted colleges and universities were required to post their foundational commercialization policies on their websites by December 15, 2022, and then to report progress on implementing these policies by submitting their first annual commercialization plans to the ministry by March 15, 2023.

Joint Working Group on Commercialization Metrics

In March 2023, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, in collaboration with IPON established a Joint Working Group on Commercialization Metrics. The group is a collaboration between government (both the Ministry of Colleges and Universities and Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade), university, college, industry and innovation sector representatives that will support the development of a consistent understanding and approach to the measurement of commercialization outcomes, including shared definitions of success in the areas of research, applied research and innovation.

IPON, along with the ministry, will lead the process to identify metrics and reporting standards that will be included in future annual commercialization plans to help show the progress in implementing the CMPF, and improving outcomes across the postsecondary sector.

IP Curriculum

The ministry has also made significant progress in strengthening intellectual property literacy. Two updated foundational online IP courses are available in English and French through the University of Toronto and the Centre for International Governance Innovation. The ministry also worked with eCampusOntario to launch a call for proposals to develop an advanced IP curriculum designed to meet the complex learning needs for users wanting to sharpen their ability to generate, protect and leverage their IP in a global context. The advanced IP curriculum is currently being developed and will be available to the public in Spring 2023.

Ontario Collaborative Innovation Platform

Ontario is working to help businesses and innovators engage in world-class research, development and commercialization, and to provide Ontario postsecondary students with real-world, hands-on experience.

As part of this commitment, on December 8, 2022, the Ontario government announced an investment of $4 million to support greater collaboration between industry and the postsecondary education and research sectors, to create well-paying jobs in local communities and help build a resilient economy. This investment is supporting the Ontario Collaborative Innovation Platform, a new online portal that matches industry professionals with equipment, facilities and experts at postsecondary institutions.

Table 3: Ministry Interim Actual Expenditures 2022–23
ItemMinistry Interim Actual Expenditures ($M) 2022–23
COVID‑19 Approvals10.70
Other Operating10,753.11
Other Capital581.15
Staff Strength
Ontario Public Service Full-Time Equivalent positions
(as of March 31, 2023)
384.52