Expanding Access to Postsecondary Education in Brampton and Milton

Guidelines for the Request for Expressions of Interest (REOI)

January 2017


Guidelines for the Request for Expressions of Interest in PDF


The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development is launching a formal selection process to determine the interest of postsecondary institutions in developing new and innovative infrastructure proposals for postsecondary sites in the city of Brampton and in the town of Milton. Brampton and Milton are two of the fastest growing communities in Canada, located in the Greater Golden Horseshoe along Ontario’s Innovation SuperCorridor, where there are dense pockets of start-ups, research institutions, and world-class talent.

The purpose of the new sites is to provide more access to postsecondary education closer to home, to help develop Ontario's highly skilled workforce by increasing experiential learning opportunities, to assist students in acquiring the essential skills and competencies for the knowledge economy, and to encourage partnerships in high-demand fields.

Emerging digital technologies and new approaches to engaging students and instilling 21st century skills all invite innovation at these sites, both in terms of what is taught and how programs are delivered. This is an opportunity for Ontario to model sites that are transformative and responsive to the changing needs of students and the global economy.


Ontario’s postsecondary institutions play an important role in equipping students with the skills, knowledge, and global competencies required to succeed in a world of rapidly changing social, economic, technological, and environmental landscapes. Fundamental to meeting these needs is a solid educational experience that leverages new technology, provides real-world learning opportunities, builds thinking and working skills, and instils an appetite for lifelong learning.

According to Sean Conway, Chair of the Premier’s Highly Skilled Workforce Expert Panel, “preparing our workforce for success will require that employers, educators, labour, communities and governments at all levels rethink what it means to learn, understand how the workplace is changing, and how respective roles and responsibilities must adapt so that our people and our economy can reach their full potential.” With that understanding, graduates will be better prepared to meet new challenges and grasp emerging opportunities.

Better-prepared graduates will in turn create a more highly skilled workforce that will help Ontario’s industries adapt to profoundly disruptive changes in the nature of work that are expected to increase in the coming years.

This Request for Expressions of Interest will help in the selection of postsecondary education proposals in Brampton and Milton to expand Ontario’s capacity to:

  • build a highly skilled workforce that attracts and supports the growth of a diverse range of businesses;
  • innovate and respond to changing economic, demographic, and social needs;
  • provide postsecondary education opportunities in fast-growing communities that lack sufficient capacity.

For this reason, the key considerations of this Request for Expressions of Interest include:

  • building stronger partnerships among educators, industry and communities;
  • expanding opportunities for learning by experience;
  • closing skills gaps and preparing students for high demand fields;
  • promoting both traditional and non-traditional career paths;
  • using teaching approaches that adopt new digital and other emerging technologies.

Formal Selection Process and Timelines

This selection process follows the province’s October 26, 2016 announcement on expanding access to postsecondary education in Brampton and Milton. Please visit the news release at Ontario’s Newsroom for more details.

This selection process comprises two stages:

  • A Request for Expressions of Interest (described in this document): During this stage, institutions will provide the ministry with summary proposals for projects that will increase postsecondary capacity in the two communities and be aligned with strategic provincial priorities. This document explains the three steps in the evaluation process and criteria to be used.
  • An Invitational Call for Proposals: After evaluating responses to the Request for Expressions of Interest, the ministry will invite a small number of postsecondary institutions, likely two or three at the most, to provide fully developed proposals for final selection. More information on Stage 2 will be provided at a later date.




 March 6, 2017   

Deadline for Responses to the Request for Expressions of Interest

 March to April 2017

Evaluation of the Expressions of Interest, including follow-up discussions between the government and institutions

 May 2017

Release of the Invitational Call for Proposals to selected proponents

 July 2017

Deadline for the Invitational Call for Proposals

 Fall 2017

Announcement(s) of successful proponent(s)


How to Respond to This Request for Expressions of Interest

Please ensure that your proposal(s) meets the eligibility requirements as outlined below in Section A. If it does, complete the REOI Template. Information on completing the template is provided in Section B.

Completed templates must be sent to MAESDCapital@ontario.ca and received no later than 11:59 p.m. on March 6, 2017.

The ministry will proceed to the second stage of the selection process after evaluating all completed templates received by the deadline. Late responses will not be considered.

A. Eligibility for the Brampton and Milton selection process

Eligible institutions

Only Ontario universities may submit responses to this Request for Expressions of Interest. If a proposed partnership includes more than one Ontario university, the response must indicate which university is leading the proposal.

Other entities (such as colleges and municipalities) that are interested in participating in this initiative must work in partnership with an Ontario university. Municipalities, however, may want to consider the support (e.g., financial, land-use planning) they could provide to more than one proponent who may be successful in this process.

Eligible location(s)

Respondents must specify in the template whether their proposal is for Brampton or Milton. If one institution is leading proposals for both municipalities, it must complete a separate template for each.

Eligible projected enrolment

The proposed project should accommodate approximately 1,000 net new domestic full-time students in the short-term with potential long-term increases in enrolment, in addition to any part-time students expected to attend. These students must be net new to the institution(s) and associated with the new site.

Eligible program mix

The new sites will concentrate on science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) programming and be predominantly undergraduate-focused. Proposals will be expected to demonstrate strength in these disciplines (e.g., they should provide key performance indicators and labour market demand for new programs). Proposals should describe what new programs are anticipated, subject to the ministry’s regular program funding approvals process. Acceptance of the Expression of Interest does not imply program funding approval.

Eligible infrastructure for the proposed project(s)

The infrastructure for the proposed project could be provided in one of the following ways, alone or in combination:

  • by acquiring existing infrastructure
  • by leasing space
  • by creating a new building

For acquired or leased spaces, the project could involve renovations.

B. Completing the Template (notes on specific sections)

Proposed location (section 3)

For the proposed location, the institution should identify it by the closest major intersections, the street address, and/or the GPS coordinates.

Overview of the proposal (section 4)

This section provides the institution with the opportunity to make a compelling case for its proposal. The response may also briefly summarize information from elsewhere in the template and/or add any other relevant information.

Program information, flexible learning opportunities, and learning spaces (sections 6 and 7)

Proposed initiatives should support innovative, flexible design and the delivery of STEAM programming. They should also be predominantly undergraduate-focused. The template provides respondents with the opportunity to outline how initiatives would provide experiential learning, enhanced programming/delivery methods, innovative ways of teaching and engaging students, innovative learning spaces, and transdisciplinary connections across STEAM programming.

Supporting facilities and ancillary services (section 8)

The specific site might not directly provide all ancillary/support services (such as food services, recreation and athletics, counselling, and library services). In this case, the institution should indicate how the initiative would address students’ need for these services in an innovative way, and how surrounding assets and/or existing resources from other campuses or elsewhere would be used.

Partnerships (section 9)

Partnerships are valuable in helping to develop students’ critical and creative thinking skills through real-world experience, as well as in securing financial support for initiatives. The expectation is that proposals would include a college partner. The template asks institutions to clearly outline existing or planned partnerships. Partners could include, for example:

  • Ontario public sector and broader public sector entities, including colleges and other postsecondary institutions (e.g., crown corporations, schools);
  • local communities;
  • the private sector in Ontario and abroad;
  • not-for-profit and non-government organizations;
  • postsecondary institutions elsewhere in Canada and/or in other countries.

A key provincial priority is for institutions to develop partnerships that yield local community and regional economic benefits, including job creation and greater economic diversity.

Alignment with government priorities (section 10)

Eligible postsecondary institutions are encouraged to align their proposals with key government priorities. In particular, the template asks for details on alignment with:

  • Ontario’s Plan for a Highly Skilled Workforce – The province plans to build a highly skilled workforce that attracts and supports the growth of a diverse range of businesses and a knowledge-based economy. The government’s plan includes expanding experiential learning opportunities, helping students develop skills and competencies for jobs in high-demand knowledge economy fields, and encouraging partnerships between postsecondary institutions and employers.
  • Strategic Mandate Agreement – The template requires the lead institution (and any other Ontario partner postsecondary institutions involved in the proposal) to clearly outline how the proposal aligns with its Strategic Mandate Agreement with the ministry. Institutions will have an opportunity to discuss their proposal(s) and aspirations during the Strategic Mandate Agreement negotiation process.
  • Ontario’s Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe – Brampton and Milton are located in the rapidly growing Greater Golden Horseshoe region. To better manage growth in this region, the provincial government created the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2006. For more information, please refer to the Growth Plan. The Growth Plan supports the creation of complete and transit-supportive communities as a means of infrastructure investments. For postsecondary projects, this includes focusing their development in areas of urban intensification, while also leveraging public transit. The template asks postsecondary institutions to indicate whether they have contacted the applicable municipality to see how the proposed project aligns with the goals of its Official Plan, which must align with the Growth Plan. It also seeks information on transportation options to the site.
  • Other Ontario government priorities – Other key priorities include but are not limited to: the Climate Change Action Plan; the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, to ensure that buildings continue to be safe and accessible; and the government’s revised Building Code, to build Ontario up as a leader in energy efficiency, safety, and climate resistant and environmentally efficient construction.

Estimated sources of funding and project costs (section 11)

The template requires both a high-level summary of expected capital and operating costs, sources of funding for the proposal, and an explanation of how these were developed. Before inviting an institution to proceed to the second stage of the selection process, the ministry may require more detailed estimates and background documents validating the numbers.

The total provincial contribution for the two sites will be up to $180 million, which may not be distributed equally between the sites. The level of provincial contribution will depend on the scope of the selected proposal(s).

The expectation is that the proposals, as well as including institutional and other public funding, will reflect innovative partnerships that leverage the resources of colleges, businesses, international partners, and/or the municipalities that the proposal serves.

Institutions are expected to put forward proposals for the most cost-effective approaches to achieving the goals of their initiatives. For example, this might include innovative approaches to providing both infrastructure and ancillary and support services, possibly through partnership arrangements; novel and flexible provision of built and/or digital infrastructure; and/or on-line access to academic resources and/or services.


The ministry will evaluate the proposals according to the following three steps:

A. Mandatory Requirements; B. Evaluation Criteria; C. Affordability

Step A. Mandatory Requirements

The following requirements must be met in order to proceed to Step B:

  • proposal must be led by an Ontario university
  • site must be in Milton and/or Brampton
  • proposed initiative must accommodate 1,000 net new students to the institution(s)
  • program mix must be STEAM focused

Step B. Evaluation Criteria

The ministry will use the following criteria to evaluate the proposals:

  • Economic and community benefits: The proposal contributes to the local community and economy and complements the institution’s existing operations and supports.
  • Flexible learning opportunities: The proposal clearly outlines innovative and flexible learning opportunities for students, including non-traditional teaching methods.
  • Innovative learning spaces: The proposal demonstrates the creation of innovative and efficient learning spaces (e.g., it is multi-functional, makes optimal use of space).
  • Student experience and ancillary/support services: The proposal reflects students’ interests and expectations of a postsecondary education experience and provides access to a full suite of ancillary and support services.
  • Partnerships: The proposal is expected to include a college partner and other partnerships (e.g., academic, community, and industry), and leverage planned/existing assets.
  • Alignment with government priorities: The proposal aligns with key government priorities, specifically the Highly Skilled Workforce, Strategic Mandate Agreements, and the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

Step C. Affordability

The proposal must demonstrate affordability and feasibility. It must outline the estimated sources of funding, total project cost, operating costs, and project cost methodology.