Brownfields & Incentives
What are Brownfields?
Brownfields are vacant or underutilized properties such as former industrial sites, closed gas stations, dry cleaners, disposal sites or foundries that have remained unused or underdeveloped after the original business closed. Waterloo Region's history as a manufacturing centre means brownfields are in prime locations throughout our community.
Brownfield properties provide opportunities for new investment that help us achieve long term objectives including:
- promoting compact growth that uses existing infrastructure;
- reducing the outward expansion of the urban area;
- reducing risk to regional groundwater sources by promoting the remediation of environmentally impacted properties; and
- supporting the adaptive reuse of buildings, including heritage properties.
The Brownfield Financial Incentive Program (BFIP)
The BFIP is a collection of financial incentives offered by the Region and Cities to promote the redevelopment of brownfield sites throughout Waterloo Region. These financial incentives assist property owners and developers with costs associated with the environmental investigation and remediation of a brownfield site. The Region has approved more than 40 brownfield grants totalling over $30 million. Together with the City of Kitchener and Perimeter Development Corporation, the Region has received two brownfields awards: the Canadian Urban Institute's 2014 Best Overall Brownfield Award for the Breithaupt Block and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' 2016 Sustainable Communities Award for best brownfield project for the Breithaupt Block.
The BFIP consists of three programs:
1. Phase Two Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) Grant (available Region wide)
Phase Two ESA Grants provide funding towards completion of Phase Two Environmental Site Assessments that address environmental impacts on groundwater. Funding covers 50 per cent of one Phase Two ESA per site to a maximum of $40,000.
Phase Two ESA Program Details
Phase Two ESA Frequently Asked Questions
2. Regional Development Charge (RDC) Exemptions (available Region wide)
The Core Areas of Cambridge and Kitchener currently have development charge exemptions for all developments. Brownfield sites outside of these areas are eligible for brownfield RDC Exemptions. The value of the RDC Exemption is based on the total eligible costs of remediation, plus 20 per cent for indirect costs, less any brownfield financial assistance already received.
RDC Exemption Program Details
RDC Exemption Frequently Asked Questions
3. Joint Tax-Increment Grant (TIG) (available in Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo)
TIGs are an annual grant provided to the developer of a brownfield property. The payment is equal to the increase in annual property taxes after a brownfield is remediated, redeveloped and reassessed. It is provided annually until the total eligible remediation costs are recovered, or to a maximum of 10 annual payments, whichever comes first.
TIG Program Details
TIG Frequently Asked Questions
Development Incentives and Where they Apply
| ||Phase II ESA Grant for brownfields||Core Area Development Charge Exemptions|
(Region and City)
|Brownfield Regional Development|
|Joint Tax Increment Grant*|
|Cambridge|| || || || |
|Kitchener|| || || || |
|Waterloo|| || || || |
|Townships|| || || || |
*Applicable where a municipal brownfield community improvement plan exists.
Starting Your Application
Contact the Regional or City brownfield coordinator to arrange a pre-application meeting prior to starting remediation work.
After your pre-application meeting, the property owner must complete, print and sign the Eligibility Form.
Receive a Letter of Eligibility from the Region. If your site is eligible, a file number will be provided for your BFIP applications.
Complete the BFIP Application(s) below, print, sign and return to the Region and City Brownfield Coordinators.
BFIP Application Packages
The Applications below provide detailed information on Eligibility Criteria, Terms of Financial Assistance, Eligible Costs, Application Process, as well as Terms and Conditions.
It is important to read through the entire application package and to fill out the form in its entirety. Applications may only be submitted after a Pre-Application Meeting has been held with the Regional Brownfield Coordinator and a Eligibility Form has been submitted.
- Phase Two ESA Application Package
- RDC Exemption Application Package
- For the Tax Increment Grant (TIG) program, please choose the application package for the municipality in which your property is located:
City of Cambridge TIG Application Package
City of Kitchener TIG Application Package
City of Waterloo TIG Application Package
Eligible Costs and Invoicing
All invoices will be reviewed in accordance with the Eligible Remediation Costs Submission Requirements. Eligible costs must:
- Comply with the description of an 'Eligible Cost' in the applicable BFIP application.
- Be documented as part of an invoice containing detailed descriptions of each activity and its associated cost before HST.
In order to be accepted invoices must contain the following information:
- Invoice number
- Invoice date
- Project site address/location
- Firm name/description
- Invoice amount (before HST)
- Highly detailed descriptions of the activities and their individual costs
- Explanation from the firm describing how the invoices related to the sites remediation
- Any additional comments/explanations required
Applicants must also ensure the costs submitted are a reasonable reflection of the remediation work proposed in the Remedial Work Plan provided with the application.
The following invoices may not be eligible for reimbursement:
- Invoices that do not provide detailed information about the remediation activities and specific costs incurred.
- Invoices that result in total eligible remediation costs above the Remedial Work Plan estimate.
- Invoices for environmental investigation or remediation work started 12 months before the application was received.
We recommend you submit invoices to the Region and City throughout the remediation process to ensure they contain the required information. An example invoice is provided in the Eligible Remediation Costs Submission Requirements.
You are responsible to prepare an "Eligible Remediation Cost Invoice Package" for review. This package includes hard copies of all paid invoices, and a summary of the invoices. The RDC and TIG incentives also require an independent third-party audit of all costs. You may choose any chartered accountant for the audit as long as the accountant is an impartial third party who is not employed by your company or involved with the project in any other capacity. The audit should confirm the link between the remediation costs submitted and the Remedial Work Plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Brownfield Municipal Contacts
Region of Waterloo
City of Cambridge
City of Kitchener
City of Waterloo
150 Frederick St.,
Kitchener ON N2G 4J3
Senior Planner, Reurbanization
50 Dixon St.,
Cambridge ON N1R 8S1
Capital Investment Advisor
200 King St. W.,
Kitchener ON N2G 4G7
Ryan Mounsey, Manager, Expansion & Business Retention Services,
100 Regina St. S.
Waterloo ON N2J 4A8