Strategic Mandate Agreement

Strategic Mandate Agreement (SMA)

In November 2013, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) developed a Differentiation Policy Framework (PDF) to help institutions build on their individual strengths to ensure students continue to have access to a quality post-secondary education in innovative and affordable colleges and universities. The policy also helped the Ministry and post-secondary institutions negotiate their Strategic Mandate Agreements.

In August 2014, Ontario signed the first set of Strategic Mandate Agreements with all of its publicly-funded colleges and universities, including the University of Waterloo.

In the Fall of 2017, Ontario signed the second set of Strategic Mandate Agreements

In the Fall of 2020, Ontario signed the third set of Strategic Mandate Agreements.

Learn more about how the province is Building a Stronger Post-secondary Education System.

Waterloo's Strategic Mandate Agreement

The Strategic Mandate Agreement (SMA) between the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD, formerly MTCU) and the University of Waterloo outlines the role the University currently performs in the post-secondary education system and how it will build on its current strengths to achieve its vision and help drive system-wide objectives articulated by the Ministry’s Differentiation Policy Framework.

The Strategic Mandate Agreement:

  • Identifies the University’s existing institutional strengths;
  • Supports the current vision, mission, and mandate of the University within the context of the University’s governing legislation and outlines how the University’s priorities align with Ontario’s vision and Differentiation Policy Framework; and
  • Informs Ministry decision making through greater alignment of Ministry policies and processes to further support and guide the University’s areas of strength.

The term of the SMA1 is from April 1, 2014, to March 31, 2017.

Download Waterloo's Strategic Mandate Agreement 1 (PDF)

The term of the SMA2 is from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2020.

Download Waterloo's Strategic Mandate Agreement 2 (PDF)

The term of the SMA3 is from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2025.

Annual submissions:

2015/16 Report Back to the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) (PDF)

2017/18 Report Back to the Ministry Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) (PDF)

Quick Facts


  • FTE (Full-time equivalent) Enrolment (2022/23): 37,476

  • International Mix (2022/23):

    • Graduate: 41%

    • Undergraduate: 19%

  • Degrees Granted (2022): 9,523

Co-operative Education

  • Co-op work terms (2021/22): 24,045

Faculty and Staff

  • Faculty Members (2021): 1,352
  • Number of Staff (2022): 2,811


  • Tri-Agency Research Awards (2021/22): $98.3M
  • Total Sponsored Research Awards (2021/22): $231.2M


  • $39.5M raised (2021/22)

Source: Performance Indicators

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