Building a Safe and Well Waterloo Region

Join us on a journey towards transformational change

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Taking a collaborative approach to safety and wellbeing in Waterloo Region

Working through the COVID-19 pandemic reinforced the power of community collaboration. We saw first-hand the positive impact that spending time listening to and making decisions with the community had on our region’s recovery.

With these learnings,

we began on a new path to transform Waterloo Region for current and future generations–one rooted in meaningful collaboration with diverse voices to develop a shared understanding of safety and wellbeing.

Our journey towards building a safe and well Waterloo Region has taken years of collaborative commitment, and the next step in that journey is the Community Safety and Wellbeing Framework.

Our goal in this work is to ensure that every person who calls Waterloo Region home feels safe, cared for, and has the opportunity to thrive for generations to come.

We recognize this is a journey of continuous learning, reflection, and working with the community to get it right.

A Community of Diverse Voices

Understanding the community’s perspectives, priorities, and needs is vital for shared success.

Our vision in developing the Community Safety and Wellbeing Framework was to engage in meaningful collaboration with community leaders, organizations and groups to understand the needs of the community, identify gaps, and identify barriers to action, with the goal of developing a shared vision for safety and wellbeing that incorporates all voices.

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Three committees were created to provide foundational guidance to develop the Framework.

These committees brought together local leaders, youth, municipalities, and community
organizations focused on wellbeing. Along with these groups, we engaged different communities in Waterloo Region to listen to their priorities and needs to feel safe.

Steering Committee

A group of regional, sector, and community leaders, including members of the Anti-Racism Advisory Working Group and organizations representing racialized communities.

Advisory Committee

A group of local leaders in health, municipal, housing, family and children’s services, mental health, education, and justice that can commit their organizations to action.

Youth Advisory Committee

An autonomous group of 19 diverse youth committed to identifying opportunities to improve community safety and wellbeing for all.

What does a Safe and Well Community
mean to Waterloo Region?

It is a community that feels safe, valued, and has the ability to express themselves freely.

It recognizes that communities know their needs best, feel empowered to meet them, and have the resources to do so.

It acknowledges and celebrates that family means different things to different people, and that the circle of support around someone is unique.

Lastly, it holds systems accountable to deliver culturally safe, and trauma-informed services that contribute to a safe and well Waterloo Region for all.

Image of a community festival with adults and children from different cultures holding hands

The following are 11 conditions for safety and wellbeing that are important to the community:

A sense of belongingCreating Accountability
Building accountabilityCommitment to Truth and Reconciliation
Building social capitalCommitment to Anti-Hate and Anti-Oppression
Honouring identitiesFulfillment of basic needs (housing, childcare, food, income, education, justice)
Addressing systems that limit our sense of wellbeingMeaningful and powerful representation
Creating cultural safety

A Framework Rooted in Action and Change

The Community Safety and Wellbeing Framework aims to solidify a process for action, recognizing outcomes will evolve, change, and grow with the needs of the community.


Where We’ve Been

  • Outreach and engagement across sectors and community organizations on the framework and priorities
  • Completion of the Indigenous Space Needs Assessment
  • Launch of the Upstream Fund
  • Region of Waterloo funding for Anti-Hate Services (including hate reporting) offered by the Coalition of Muslim Women
  • Symposium – co-designing actions to address key community priorities
  • Identified four priority areas for addressing safety and wellbeing based on community need and input.
  • Priority areas include: Combating hate, creating safe and inclusive spaces, addressing mental health needs, together, and addressing Intimate Partner Violence, Gender Based Violence, and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

2024 & Onwards

Where We’re Going

  • Developing a governance model to support CSWP implementation including:
    • Relaunching the Steering, Advisory and Youth committees
    • Forming action tables based for the  four priority areas:
    • Combatting Hate – Launched April 2024
    • Addressing Intimate Partner Violence, Gender Based Violence, and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women – Launched – April 2024
    • Addressing Mental Health Needs Together – coming soon
    • Creating Safe and Inclusive Spaces – coming soon
  • Approved Code of use bylaw to deter hate and harassment on Regional property
  • Continued outreach and engagement on the framework and priorities
  • Continue to grow and offer more conversations and opportunities to connect
  • Stay tuned for information on our 2024 fall Symposium

Get involved.
Stay informed.

Image of two adults and two children from the back, they appear to be a family