Building a Safe and Well Waterloo Region

Join us on a journey towards transformational change

Photo of mist over a body of water with trees at the side

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.

Photo of two women and two children holding hands at an event

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.

2021-2022

Where We’ve Been

2023 & Onwards

Where We’re Going

  • Continue outreach and engagement surrounding the Framework and future priorities
  • Focus on anti-hate, mental health, and access to culturally safe spaces
  • Co-Design Accountability & Outcomes
  • More equitable evaluation and tracking models
  • Explore community governance and sustainability

Get involved.
Stay informed.

Join us on our journey towards building a brighter future in Waterloo Region.

Fill out the contact form to keep up to date on changes and advancements to the Region of Waterloo’s Community Safety & Wellbeing Plan.

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