Making Decisions That Matter - March 20, 2024

Posted on Wednesday March 20, 2024

With input from the community, Regional Council sets the direction for the Region as an organization and makes decisions that help improve the lives of Waterloo Region residents every day. Please refer to the minutes for an official record of the meeting.

Region takes bold action on affordable housing

Regional Council has directed staff to explore several bold, new ways to protect and increase affordable rental units for people in Waterloo Region:

  • Create a new program to help fund groups, such as not-for-profits, cooperatives, and Indigenous housing providers, to buy existing affordable rental housing and preserve them as long-term affordable housing.
  • Explore a “right of first refusal policy” that would allow municipal governments buy properties with affordable rent by matching an offer from a private buyer.
  • Work with area municipalities to identify where affordable housing can be preserved, and where we could strategically acquire more affordable housing.
  • Identify gaps and find solutions to support tenants affected by renovation, conversion, and demolition.
  • Request federal and provincial government programs to help acquire or convert properties into new affordable and supportive homes.

These actions can help protect affordable rental units and prevent homelessness. Details will come back to Regional Council for more consideration.

Read the full report

Property tax changes to help support affordable rental units

Regional Council is changing property tax rules to encourage more affordable housing. The new program will allow exemptions for affordable housing providers to help them acquire and maintain buildings and keep rents low in the long-term. The Property Tax Exemption for Affordable Housing Program will begin taking applications later this year, with tax exemptions starting in 2025. The program aims to maintain affordable housing buildings that exist in Waterloo Region, and support property buyers who are committed to affordable rents.

Read the full report

Region’s drinking water scores high in provincial safety standards

The Region of Waterloo's water system continues to provide reliable, clean drinking water for approximately 620,000 people. Water Services has shared its 2023 Drinking Water Summary Report, where the Region of Waterloo achieved a 99.6 per cent “Compliance Rating.” The provincial average from 2018-2023 is 98.5 per cent.  Region staff manages our community’s water supply and treatment to meet strict standards under provincial regulations. The 2023 Annual Water Quality Report demonstrates that Regional water systems comply with the Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards.

Read the full report

Region to study drug use and overdose

Regional Council has directed Public Health staff to provide a report by midyear to help understand the scope of drug overdose and addiction issues in the community. The report will include data on the current situation, how the Region of Waterloo is responding and an overview of other initiatives that address high-risk substance use. 

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