Peer Program

Peer Program logo image of a tree but trunk is made from a large hand and leaves made with multicolour handprints

Established in 1988, Waterloo Region Peer Program is an initiative that uses a peer approach to improve the physical and social health of the community.

The program takes a unique approach in which individuals are hired by neighbourhood and community organizations to deliver programs on topics related to healthy living, including healthy eating, positive parenting, physical activity, falls prevention and more.

Goals and objectives

The goal of the Peer Program is to reduce health inequities among equity-seeking groups*, utilizing a community-centred and peer approach, and trained Peer Health Workers.

The objectives of the program are to:

  • Increase peer program participant knowledge and skills related to ‘core’ health topics or group determined health topics.
  • Increase the skills and competencies of Peer Health Workers through core training and professional development opportunities, with a focus on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), and trauma and violence informed care (TVIC) practice.
  • Increase access and referrals to community-based programs and services that support health and well-being among community participants.
  • Increase opportunities for social inclusion among peer program participants.

* “Equity-seeking” refers to groups “that identify barriers to equal access, opportunities and resources due to disadvantage and discrimination and actively seek social justice and reparation.” (Canada Council for the Arts) 

Who is a peer health worker?

Peer health workers are community residents who share similar life experiences with the participants in the programs that they design and deliver. Peer health workers are trained and certified by Region of Waterloo Public Health and Paramedic Services in health knowledge and skills that they share with their peers.

"I really just facilitate the parents getting a chance to talk to each other about those parenting topics. I don't come in as the expert, but just facilitate that we've all been there, and we're all working through these parenting struggles, and decisions and joys together." - Peer Health Worker

Peer-led programs in Waterloo Region

Each year, peer health workers run programs that are developed based on the neighbourhood's strengths and needs. Host organizations for the current Peer Program cycle are:

For more information, please send the Peer Program an email.


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