Development Incentives

There are many incentives available to developers and property owners in Waterloo Region. Discover how you can take advantage of them, by choosing a geographic area.

Waterloo Region Incentives

The following incentives are available in Waterloo Region and issued by the Region of Waterloo unless otherwise noted. 


Map of Waterloo Region boundries

Regional Development Charge Exemptions (Brownfields)

Please Note: The Brownfields Regional Development Charge exemption will expire on July 31, 2024 in accordance with RDC By-law 19-037. Eligible Brownfield properties must have the required Record of Site Condition acknowledged by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks and their complete RDC Exemption application submitted to the Region prior to July 31, 2024. Please note this webpage is provided as general information on the program and if you have specific questions about the status of your property reach out to the Brownfields Coordinator, contact information below.

Description: Brownfield sites may be eligible for Regional Development Charge (RDC) Exemptions to help cover the cost of remediation. The value of the RDC Exemption is based on the sum of direct costs of remediation at 50% reimbursement to a maximum of $1,000,000, less any additional financial assistance previously received. This exemption applies to all of Waterloo Region, except where development charges are waived for developments. Please refer to the Regional Development Charges Bylaw 19-037 (specifically, Schedule C) for more information.

Further information: Please contact the Brownfields Coordinator at brownfields@regionofwaterloo.ca or 519-504-3573

Regional Development Charge Grant (Affordable Housing)

Description: Limited grants to offset Regional Development Charges (RDC) for rental and supportive housing project priorities that proceed to building permit stage on a first-come, first-served basis. Only applicable for projects that have received a capital grant through the Affordable Housing Strategy Program.

Amount: The entire Regional Development Charge subject to availability.

End date: December 31, 2019

Further Information: Visit the Community Services Funding for Creating New Rental Housing page or contact Jeff Schumacher, Supervisor, Housing Supply Initiatives at 519-575-4821.

Regional Development Charge (RDC) Reduction for Industrial Use 

Description: Reduced rates for a new industrial building or an enlargement of more than 50 per cent of the gross floor area of an existing industrial building, as defined in the Regional Development Charge By-law 14-046.

Amount: A 50 per cent reduction in the non-residential Regional Development Charge rates.

End date: Effective until July 31, 2019 when the authorizing Region Development Charge By-law 14-046 will be reviewed, unless repealed earlier.

Further information: Please see the Regional Development Charges By-law Section 4(2)a and Schedule A (Part II) or contact Erin Gray, Financial Analyst at 519-575-4490 ext.3623. 

Development Charge Exemption for Industrial Development 

Description: If development includes the enlargement of the gross floor area of an existing industrial building, the amount of the development charge that is payable in respect of the enlargement is determined in accordance with Section 4 and Regulations of the Ontario Development Charge Act, 1997, c. 27.

Amount: If the gross floor area is enlarged by 50 per cent or less, the amount of the development charge in respect of the enlargement is zero. 1997, c. 27 s. 4(2)

Further information: For terms and details, please refer to the appropriate municipal development charges by-law, or consult the finance department of the appropriate municipality. Both regional and area municipal levels of government offer this exemption. 

Waterloo Region Heritage Foundation Property Grant 

Issued by: Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation

Description: Owners of properties designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, protected by a conservation easement agreement, or a Historic Site designation, may receive grants in support of the restoration of their heritage resource. There are also grants for project/events and publications.

Amount: Capital grants may be approved for up to 50 per cent of project costs.

Further information: Visit the Waterloo Region Heritage Foundation, or contact Foundation Secretary Administrative Services at 519-575-4493 or wrhf@regionfowaterloo.ca

New Multi-Residential Developments

Description: New multi-residential developments with a building permit issued after April 11, 2001 with six units or more are automatically provided with the optional property tax class at the time of assessment.

Amount: Properties under this class receive a preferential tax ratio of 1.000 for 35 years.

Further information: Contact Julie Bradey, Financial Analyst - Tax Policy at 519-575-4546. 

Capital Grant for Affordable Rental Housing 

Funded by: Region of Waterloo, Province of Ontario, Government of Canada. Administered by the Region of Waterloo.

Description: Capital grants help offset the capital costs of building new affordable rental housing. Must apply under Request for Proposals for the Affordable Housing Strategy Program. Next anticipated RFP to be issued late 2016 or early 2017.

Amount: The 2015 rate was the lesser of up to $125,000 or up to 75 per cent of total capital costs per unit.

End date: December 31, 2019

Further Information: Visit our finding affordable housing page or contact Jeff Schumacher, Supervisor, Housing Supply Initiatives at 519-575-4821.

Regional Redevelopment Allowances

Description: New development replacing existing development may be entitled to a credit. This credit may only be applied against regional development charges otherwise payable. Redevelopment allowances are given in accordance with Schedule A, Part III of By-law 14-046 in recognition of the value of services previously provided to the site. These allowances are valid for up to seven years from the date of issuance of demolition permit.

Amount: Regional development charges otherwise payable.

End date: February 28, 2019.

Further information: Please see the Regional Development Charge By-law 14-046, Schedule A, Part III.

Cambridge Incentives 

The following incentives are available in Cambridge and issued by the City of Cambridge unless otherwise noted. 

Map of Cambridge boundaries

 

Joint Tax Increment Grant

Description: A grant to assist property owners with the remediation of brownfield sites throughout Cambridge. Payments are made after the site has been remediated, redeveloped and reassessed.

Amount: Total amount is generally based on eligible remediation costs. Yearly payments are made to successful applicants (each application for a maximum of 10 years) and the amount is based on post-development tax assessment increases.

End date: There is no set end date, but it is at the discretion of either Regional or City Council to cancel the program at any time.

Process: A site must first be deemed an eligible brownfield property before applying for the TIG program. The first step to brownfield eligibility is to attend a pre-consultation meeting with Regional and City staff to discuss the property and receive pertinent forms and information. Once a property is deemed eligible the owner/applicant may apply for the TIG Program, applications must be received before the first building permit is issued. If you are looking to apply for the TIG program please reach out to the Brownfields Coordinator to discuss your specific property.

Further information: Please contact the Regional Brownfields Coordinator at brownfields@regionofwaterloo.ca or 519-504-3573

Development Charge Reduction for Contaminated Sites 

Description: Where a property owner proposes to develop or redevelop a contaminated site that requires remediation, an amount can be credited against the development charge otherwise payable equal to the amount of the costs to clean-up the site.

Amount: Reduction equal to the costs of assessment and clean up of the property, up to the total municipal portion of the otherwise payable development charge.

End date: July 1, 2019, unless by-law is repealed at any earlier date.

Further information: Please refer to Cambridge Development Charge By-law 122-14 or contact Jacqueline Hannemann, DC Coordinator, Development Planning, at 519-621-0740 ext. 4289 or HannemannJ@Cambridge.ca.

 

Designated Heritage Property Grant Program 

Description: The Heritage Grant Program provides financial assistance for owners of designated heritage structures for conservation and restoration. The application deadline is the last business day of January each year.

Amount: Owners may qualify for a grant for up to one half the cost of the work carried out to conserve the heritage elements of the building, up to a maximum of $5,000 per calendar year.

Further information: Please contact Laura Waldie, Planner - Heritage at waldiel@cambridge.ca or 519-621-0740 ext. 4788

 

Employment Land Development Charge Reduction

Map of Cambridge with a highlight of the Boxwood community.

Description: Development Charge reduction for new buildings or additions on properties within specific designated employment lands.

Amount: Industrially zoned property sold by the City of Cambridge will be exempt from the City's Non-Residential Development Charge. Regional and Educational Development Charges are still applicable.

Further information: Please contact Leah Bozic, Senior Economic Development Officer at 519-740-4683 ext. 4535 or bozicl@cambridge.ca

Downtown Preston, Hespeler and Galt Incentives

The following incentives are available in the core areas of Cambridge and issued by the City of Cambridge unless otherwise noted.

Cambridge Core Area Development Charge Exemption 


Cambridge Core map

 

Issued by: Region of Waterloo and City of Cambridge

Description: All lands within the Downtown Core Areas (Hespeler Village, Galt and Preston) are exempt from both City of Cambridge and Regional development charges, including the Regional charges for waste and transit.


Amount: Otherwise applicable development charges.

End date: The Regional Development Charge Exemption end date is the earlier of February 28, 2019 or when the by-law is repealed. The Cambridge Core Area Development Charge Exemption is the earlier of July 1, 2019 or when the by-law is repealed.

Further information: For City Development Charges please visit the City of Cambridge Development and Infrastructure Planning webpage or contact Jacqueline Hannemann, DC Coordinator, Development Planning, at HannemannJ@Cambridge.ca or 519-621-0740 ext. 4289. For Regional Development Charges, please refer to the Regional Development Charges By-law 14-046 (Section 4(9) for description, pages 23-25 for maps) and Regional Development Charges By-law Number 16-053 (Section 1), or contact Erin Gray, Financial Analyst at egray@regionofwaterloo.ca or 519-575-4590 x3623.

Design Guide Program

Description: This program provides funds toward retaining a professional consultant to prepare a design plan for facade improvements of buildings.

Amount: The City will provide a grant of up to $1,000 for the first facade and $250 for each additional facade to a maximum limit of $1,750 per building. 

Further information: Please read the City of Cambridge Incentives package (pages 9-11) or contact Valerie Spring, Senior Planner, Reurbanization, at springv@cambridge.ca or 519-621-0740 ext. 4213.

Building Revitalization Program 

Description: The Building Revitalization Program provides financial assistance for physical improvements to the exterior of existing buildings. The City can provide interest-free and partially forgivable loan funding for up to 50 per cent of eligible costs.

Amount: Up to 35 per cent as loan funding for up to 50 per cent of eligible costs. Maximum primary street frontage: $20,000 and $5,000 per additional frontage (with criteria).

Further information: Please read the City of Cambridge Incentives package (pages 12-17) or contact Valerie Spring, Senior Planner, Reurbanization, at springv@cambridge.ca or 519-621-0740 ext. 4213.

Contaminated Sites Grant Program

Description: The Contaminated Sites Grant Program assists property owners with the financial costs to clean up contaminated properties in the Core Areas.

Amount: Maximum $1,500 per new residential unit, $10 per square metre of non-residential gross floor area.

Further information: Please read the City of Cambridge Incentives package (pages 18-19) or contact Valerie Spring, Senior Planner, Reurbanization, at springv@cambridge.ca or 519-621-0740 ext. 4213. 

Application Fee Exemptions

Description: All properties located in any of the three core areas of Cambridge are entitled to fee exemptions for Development Applications, Building Permits and associated fees such as Sign Permits and Swimming Pool Permits. No application is required.

Amount: Values of applicable fees.

Further information: Please read the City of Cambridge Incentives package (page 20) or contact Valerie Spring, Senior Planner, Reurbanization, at springv@cambridge.ca or 519-621-0740 ext. 4213. 

Kitchener Incentives  

The following incentives are available in Kitchener and issued by the City of Kitchener unless otherwise noted.

Map of Kitchener

 

Joint Tax Increment Grant

Issued by: Region of Waterloo and City of Kitchener

Description: A grant to assist property owners with the remediation of brownfield sites throughout Kitchener. Payments are made after the site has been remediated, redeveloped and reassessed.

Amount: Total amount is generally based on eligible remediation costs. Yearly payments are made to successful applicants (each application for a maximum of 10 years) and the amount is based on post-development tax assessment increases.

End date: There is no set end date, but it is at the discretion of either Regional or City Council to cancel the program at any time.

Process: A site must first be deemed an eligible brownfield property before applying for the TIG program. The first step to brownfield eligibility is to attend a pre-consultation meeting with Regional and City staff to discuss the property and receive pertinent forms and information. Once a property is deemed eligible the owner/applicant may apply for the TIG Program, applications must be received before the first building permit is issued. If you are looking to apply for the TIG program please reach out to the Brownfields Coordinator to discuss your specific property.

Further information: Please contact the Regional Brownfields Coordinator at brownfields@regionofwaterloo.ca or 519-504-3573

 

Designated Heritage Property Grant Program 

Description: Owners of property designated under the Ontario Heritage Act may be eligible to receive grants toward the conservation of the built heritage resources of their property.

Amount: 50 per cent of the cost of eligible projects, minimum of $500, maximum of $3,000

End date: No end date. Application period is January 1 to March 31. Subject to availability of funds.

Further information: Visit Kitchener's Heritage Funding page or contact Michelle Drake, Heritage Planner at 519-741-2200 ext 7839 or michelle.drake@kitchener.ca

 

Designated Heritage Property Tax Refund Program 

Description: Owners of property designated under the Ontario Heritage Act and subject to a heritage conservation easement agreement or a preservation and maintenance agreement may be eligible to receive a tax refund.

Amount: 40 per cent refund of the municipal and school board portions of property taxes

End date: No end date. Application period is February 1 to 29. Subject to availability of funds.

Further information: Visit Kitchener's Heritage Funding page or contact Michelle Drake, Heritage Planner at 519-741-2200 ext 7839 or michelle.drake@kitchener.ca

Development Charge Rate - Industrial Buildings 

Description: Reduced rates for a new industrial building or an enlargement of more than 50 per cent of the gross floor area of an existing industrial building. 

Amount: From July 1, 2014 to March 1, 2019 industrial development will be charged 50 per cent of the City of Kitchener's non-residential development charge rate. After March 1, 2019 industrial development will be charged the non-residential development charge rate. Please refer to City of Kitchener's Development Charge web page for the current development
charge rates.

End date: By-law is in force until it is repealed or replaced by a subsequent by-law, no later than July 1, 2019.

Further information: Please contact the Building Division at 519-741-2312 or building@kitchener.ca.

 

Downtown Kitchener Incentives 

The following incentives are available in Kitchener's core area and issued by the City of Kitchener unless otherwise noted.

May of Kitchener with downtown highlighted.

 

Downtown Kitchener Development Charge Exemption

Issued by: Region of Waterloo and City of Kitchener 

Description: All lands within the Downtown Core Boundary are exempt from both City of Kitchener and Regional development charges, including the Regional development charges for waste and transit.

Amount: Exemption for otherwise applicable development charges.

End date: The Regional Development Charge Exemption end date is the earlier of February 28, 2019 or when the by-law is repealed. The Kitchener Development Charge Exemption is the earlier of March 1, 2019 or the repeal of Kitchener Development Charges By-Law 2014-068.

Further information: Refer to Kitchener's Development Charges By-law 2014-068 Section 3.3 and Regional Development Charges By-law Number 16-053 (Section 1), or contact Kitchener's Building Division at 519-741-2312 or building@kitchener.ca

Bonusing for Increased Built Form/Density 

Description: Community benefits such as providing residential floor space, conserving heritage buildings or facades and/or providing a publicly accessible amenity area may result in the ability to build additional floor space beyond the standard maximum floor space ratio within downtown zones D-1 to D-6. These benefits are considered desirable objectives for the downtown.

Amount: The ratio or amount of increased floor area is dependent upon the existing downtown zone, the type of community benefit available for bonusing in that zone and several other provisions.

Further information: Please visit Kitchener's Zoning By-law page and contact the Planning Division at 519-741-2426 or planning@kitchener.ca

 

Facade Grant Program 

Map of downtown Kitchener highlighted.

Description: This program assists downtown property owners and tenants with the financing of street-oriented building façade improvements.

Amount: Grant amount is up to 50 per cent of the costs, to a max of $10,000 per storefront, subject to design guidelines.

End date: To end or be revaluated by December 31, 2017.

Further information: Please visit Kitchener's Facade Grant Program page or contact Cory Bluhm, Manager of Downtown Community Development at 519-741-2200 ext. 7065 or Cory.Bluhm@kitchener.ca  

Building Permit Rebates 

Description: To stimulate redevelopment and renovation of downtown buildings, this program offers grants in lieu of building permit fees to registered owners of downtown commercial properties.

Amount: Refund of applicable fees, not to exceed $1,000 per property.

End date: To end or be revaluated by December 31, 2017.

Further information: Please visit Kitchener's Grants in Lieu of Building Permit Fees page or contact the Building Division at 519-741-2312 or building@kitchener.ca.

 

Startup Landing Pad Grant Program 

Description: This program offers a grant for property owners of downtown Kitchener second-storey and above underutilized building spaces and startups to access leasehold and accessibility improvement funds.

Amount: $20,000 matching for eligible leasehold improvements; $40,000 matching for accessibility improvements.

End date: February 2019.

Further information: Please visit Kitchener's Startup Landing Pad Grant Program page or contact Thom Ryan, Sr. Business Development Officer at 519-741-2200 ext. 7826 or thom.ryan@kitchener.ca.

 
 

Central Neighbourhoods Kitchener Incentives

The following incentives are available in the Central Neighbourhoods of Kitchener and issued by the City of Kitchener unless otherwise noted.

Map of Kitchener and central neighbourhoods.

 

Development Charge Rate - Central Neighbourhoods 

Description: Reduced development charges for Central Neighbourhoods of Kitchener.

Amount: Please refer to City of Kitchener's Development Charge page for the current development charge rates.

End date: By-law is in force until it is repealed or replaced by a subsequent by-law, no later than July 1, 2019.

Further Information: Contact Kitchener's Building Division at 519-741-2312 or building@kitchener.ca

Waterloo Incentives

The following incentives are available in Waterloo and issued by the City of Waterloo unless otherwise noted.


Map of the City of Waterloo.

 

Joint Tax Increment Grant

Issued by: Region of Waterloo and City of Waterloo.

Description: A grant to assist property owners with the remediation of eligible brownfield sites throughout the City of Waterloo. Payments are made after the site has been remediated, redeveloped and reassessed.

Amount: Total amount is generally based on eligible remediation costs. Yearly payments are made to successful applicants (each application for a maximum of 10 years) and the amount is based on post-development tax assessment increases.

End date: There is no set end date, but it is at the discretion of either Regional or City Council to cancel the program at any time.

Process: A site must first be deemed an eligible brownfield property before applying for the TIG program. The first step to brownfield eligibility is to attend a pre-consultation meeting with Regional and City staff to discuss the property and receive pertinent forms and information. Once a property is deemed eligible the owner/applicant may apply for the TIG Program, applications must be received before the first building permit is issued. If you are looking to apply for the TIG program please reach out to the Brownfields Coordinator to discuss your specific property.

Further information: Please contact Regional Brownfields Coordinator at brownfields@regionofwaterloo.ca or 519-504-3573

No Cash-in-lieu of Parkland Fee for any Industrial Use 

Description: Elimination of the cash-in-lieu of parkland fee(s) for industrial uses in Waterloo.

Amount: Any applicable cash-in-lieu of parkland fee(s).

End date: The exemption will end on December 31, 2024.

Further information: Please contact Please contact the Building Department at building@waterloo.ca

 

 Uptown Waterloo Incentives

 The following incentives are available in Waterloo's core area and issued by the City of Waterloo unless otherwise noted.

Map of Waterloo with Uptown highlighted.

 

Regional Development Charge Exemption for Uptown Waterloo

Description: Regional Development Charge for Transit Services shall be reduced by 77 per cent of the then applicable Development Charge for Transit Services and the Development Charge for Waste Management Services shall be $).

Amount: See description.

End date: Feb. 29, 2019.

Further information: For the Regional Development Charges, please contact Erin Gray, Financial Analyst at egray@regionofwaterloo.ca or 519-575-4590 x 3623.

Development Charge Rate – Industrial Expansion

Description: Reduced rates for the enlargement of an existing industrial building up to a maximum of 50 per cent of the existing gross floor area prior to the first enlargement.

Amount:  industrial development will be charged 50 per cent of the City of Waterloo's non-residential development charge rate.

End date: By-law is in force until it is repealed or replaced by a subsequent by-law.

Further information: Please contact ecdev@waterloo.ca

 

Facade Improvement Grant Program 

Description: This program is intended to encourage business and property owners to improve the appearance of the streetscape, heritage properties and other buildings in the Project Area. 

Amount: A maximum matching grant of $10,000 per street-facing façade to a maximum grant of $20,000 per project/property.

End date: Spring and fall intakes. The City may periodically review and activate, deactivate, or discontinue this program without amendment to the Uptown Community Improvement Plan.

Further information: Contact Erin Miles, Economic Development at 519-747-8706 or  CIP@waterloo.ca or visit Waterloo's Uptown Community Improvement Plan page.

Major Activity Grant  

Description: To promote large reurbanization projects that create new floor space for affordable housing uses and/or non-residential uses that include an office employment component. Additional incentive provided for development that includes heritage conservation and/or sustainable building design. The program provides a grant that reduces the property tax increase that can typically result from reurbanization projects.

Amount: Based on assessment provided by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation.

End date: December 2020. The City may periodically review and activate, deactivate, or discontinue this program without amendment to the Uptown Community Improvement Plan.

Further information: Contact Erin Miles, Economic Development at 519-747-8706 or  CIP@waterloo.ca or visit Waterloo's Uptown Community Improvement Plan page.

 

Reduced Parkland cash-in-lieu fee and maximum cap for infill housing in Uptown Waterloo 

Map of Waterloo with Uptown highlighted.

Description: Reduction of the cash-in-lieu of parkland fee for infill housing in the Uptown having a density exceeding 100 residential units per hectare based on the net land area.

Amount: Reduction of approximately 33 per cent from 0.15 hectare per 300 units to 0.10

hectare per 300 units.  The payment shall not exceed 15 per cent of the value of the net land area.

End date: The reductions will end on December 31, 2024.

Further information: Please contact the Building Department at building@waterloo.ca  

Cash-in-lieu of parkland fee waiver for office or non-residential portion of an Uptown Waterloo mixed-use building

Description: Within Uptown Waterloo, cash-in-lieu of parkland fees for any new non-residential development (with focus on employment uses) located within a free-standing and mixed-use building are waived.

Amount: Financial waiver - exempt.

End date: The exemptions will end on December 31, 2024.

Further information: Please contact Please contact the Building Department at building@waterloo.ca 

 

Northdale Waterloo Incentives

The following incentives are available in the Northdale area of Waterloo and issued by the City of Waterloo unless otherwise noted. 

Map of Waterloo Northdale neighbourhood.

Northdale Tax Increment Grant

Description: The purpose of this specific program is to promote projects that are "green/sustainable" in the Northdale area of Waterloo (bound by Columbia Street West, King Street North, University Avenue West and Phillip Street) by providing a financial incentive that reduces the property tax increase that typically occurs with such projects for a period of time.

Amount: An annual Grant as a percentage of City property tax increase Generated by the Project, the percentage is based on the sustainability performance (LEED) of the as-built project for up to 10 years, or up to the time when total grant payments equal the total eligible program costs.

End date: The City of Waterloo may discontinue incentives for the Northdale area at any time.

Further information: Please visit Waterloo's Northdale CIP Tax Increment Grant Program page or contact ecdev@waterloo.ca.

 

Woolwich Township Incentives

The following incentives are available in Woolwich Township and issued by the Township of Woolwich unless otherwise noted. 

Map of Woolwich Township

 

 

Development Charge Exemptions 

Description: Development charge exemptions for expansion of existing commercial or institutional buildings.

Amount: Otherwise applicable development charges for the first 10,000 square feet of expansion, or up to 50 per cent of expansion, whichever is greater. An additional 20 per cent of the square footage might be exempted for the first project after the passing of the Development Charges By-law.

End date: July 7, 2019 unless By-law is repealed at an earlier date.

Further information: Please refer to the Township of Woolwich website or contact the Building Division at 519-669-1647 ext. 6042 or rbauman@woolwich.ca.

Disclaimer: The purpose of these program summaries is to provide readers with a quick reference of financial incentives potentially available in each area. They do not constitute complete program descriptions. To determine eligibility, please review the detailed program descriptions or contact the appropriate staff person. It is at the issuers' discretion to cancel an incentive at any time. Information is subject to change and accuracy cannot be guaranteed. 

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