The Benefits of Greater Differentiation of Ontario’s University Sector

Research Summary:

While several of Ontario’s 20 universities are internationally ranked, pressures on the postsecondary system are palpable. Increased enrollment is jeopardizing the range and quality of programs while a changing labour market demands postsecondary credentials. How can Ontario’s universities improve access, quality and international competitiveness while ensuring a system that is both sustainable and accountable?

A new report from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) says universities should set measureable goals based on their strengths, and the provincial government should base new funding on whether those goals are met. The results, according to  The Benefits of Greater Differentiation of Ontario’s University Sector , would produce a postsecondary system that is more cohesive, more fluid, more sustainable and higher quality.

HEQCO president and CEO Harvey Weingarten, with report co-author and HEQCO research director Fiona Deller, embraced the provincial government’s challenge to explore whether a more strongly differentiated set of universities would help improve the overall performance and sustainability of the system, and help Ontario compete internationally. With input​​​ from student groups and university and college leaders, the report builds on HEQCO’s research and best thinking on the postsecondary sector.​