Statements by Chair Redman

September 25, 2022
Statement on Rosh Hashanah

On Sunday, the Jewish community in Waterloo Region will come together to celebrate the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah.

Rosh Hashanah honours the creation of the world and marks a time for reflection and renewal.

At this time, Jewish families often share a communal meal and prepare for the New Year. Delicacies are served as omens of good luck. Celebrations and services on this High Holy Day provide enrichment, connection and energy.

On behalf of Region of Waterloo Council, I wish all in our Jewish community, Shanah tovah u'metukah.

May your New Year be filled with good health and happiness.


Karen Redman

September 8, 2022

Statement on the passing of Queen Elizabeth II

It is with great sadness that we reflect on the indelible impact and legacy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. For seventy years, Queen Elizabeth has guided Canada, not merely through office and ceremony, but through her compassion and unwavering commitment to public service. She loved our country. 

Queen Elizabeth has been a role model for generations of leaders, both global and local. She balanced strong, decisive leadership through authentic humility and personal warmth. Her example and early ascension to public spotlight have inspired countless women to positions of leadership.  

Flags at regional buildings are at half mast. In the coming days, we will observe the guidelines set out by Heritage Canada to remember our country’s longest-reigning monarch.

The Royal Family are in our thoughts at this time.


Karen Redman
Chair, Regional Municipality of Waterloo

August 9, 2022

Statement from Chair Redman on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

In the Indigenous groups across Turtle Island, including here in Waterloo Region, women have always been powerful in their communities. They hold a wealth of knowledge as well as the healing touch. They’re often the decision makers and voices for youth, and they fight tirelessly to keep communities safe.

On the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, we recognize these women and celebrate them. This year’s theme for this day is “The Role of Indigenous Women in the Preservation and Transmission of Traditional Knowledge.”

Oral tradition and teachings from both women and men in Indigenous communities continue to strengthen Indigenous cultures and open those of us who are settlers up to new ways of knowing and seeing the world.

At the Region of Waterloo, we acknowledge the enduring presence and deep traditional knowledge and philosophies of the Neutral (Attawandaron), Anishnaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples, who care for the territories and land we call home.

Each group has their own unique culture, traditions, languages, worldviews, and knowledge systems.

We must listen and learn from all Indigenous Peoples – recognizing the strengths of their knowledges and ways of knowing, and the importance of these knowledges and cultures to the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Peoples.

By listening and learning, we can continue to work together towards a more inclusive and thriving community.

Karen Redman
Chair, Regional Municipality of Waterloo


August 1, 2022
Statement from Chair Redman on Emancipation Day

Today, Waterloo Region residents join all Canadians in marking 188 years of the abolishment of slavery in Canada.

On August 1, 1834, the Slavery Abolition Act came into effect, and last year, August 1 became officially recognized as Emancipation Day.

For more than 200 years, people of African descent experienced slavery in Canada. Indigenous people were also enslaved.

Emancipation Day encourages all of us to reflect and learn about this horrific history, and continue to engage in the fight against racism and discrimination.

The Region of Waterloo is taking measured steps towards helping to create a more equitable and inclusive community for every single person who lives here. A main focus of the Region’s Reconciliation, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion work is anti-Black racism, which includes acknowledging harmful history such as slavery.

We renew our commitment to continue dismantling the harmful legacies of colonialism in Waterloo Region, to create a future where everyone can thrive. Waterloo Region is a place where all communities deserve to feel safe, respected and included.

Karen Redman
Chair, Regional Municipality of Waterloo

July 1, 2022

Statement from Chair Redman on Canada Day

Today is about more than fireworks. It is not only a day to reflect on who we are and who we have been as a country, but who we want to become.

Earlier this week, we celebrated Canadian Multiculturalism Day and the diversity that brings so much richness and vibrancy to our community. Around the world, our country is known for the natural beauty of our landscapes and for caring people. We aspire to be an emblem for freedom, peace and opportunity.

Understanding these aspirations requires acknowledging a complex past. This past month saw the commemoration of many important milestones and recognition of important communities, including National Accessibility Week, Pride Month, World Refugee Day, National Indigenous Peoples Day and National Indigenous History Month. We mark these occasions not solely because of the value of these communities to our country, but due to their unjust treatment stemming from racism, discrimination, and xenophobia. 

Reconciliation is a critical component of today’s reflections, particularly given the trauma and discoveries of the past two years. Today and every day is an opportunity to reflect on Indigenous teachings and build stronger relationships with Indigenous communities as we work towards a better future. It is also important to unlearn and unpack the colonial legacy that imbues so much of our institutional and societal structures and processes.

Grounded in this past and our present, today is an occasion to come together as a united community and re-affirm our position of zero tolerance for xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, anti-Black racism, Islamophobia and racism of any kind.

What makes this country special is its people. Canada is a place where everyone should feel safe, accepted and included.

Today is a time to listen, acknowledge the past, share the truth and commit to doing our part to make Canada an even better place for all.

Karen Redman
Chair, Regional Municipality of Waterloo

June 21, 2022

Statement from Chair Redman on National Indigenous Peoples Day

Today marks the 26th anniversary of National Indigenous Peoples Day, an opportunity to celebrate the heritage and diverse cultures of Indigenous people in Canada.

Waterloo Region sits on the land traditionally cared for by the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe and Neutral People. Our relationship with this land is one of stewardship, rather than ownership. Recognizing this as non-Indigenous people is a small act of Reconciliation that opens the door to listening, learning and sharing.

While we celebrate the achievements of Indigenous people, this is also a time to renew our own commitment of Truth and Reconciliation. We are all on a personal journey, and I encourage everyone to use today as a reminder of how you can continue advance Reconciliation in your life.

The Region of Waterloo is taking proactive steps to help redress the legacy of residential schools and engage in and promote Truth and Reconciliation. We are continuing to respond to the calls to action in the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, delivering the Community Safety and Wellbeing Plan to create a more inclusive community, and hiring a Truth and Reconciliation leader to help ensure Truth and Reconciliation are embedded in everything the Region does.

I wish Indigenous and non-Indigenous people an enlightening National Indigenous Peoples Day and Summer Solstice.

Karen Redman
Chair, Regional Municipality of Waterloo

June 6, 2022

Statement from Chair Redman on the one year anniversary of the attack in London, Ontario

One year ago, five member of the Afzaal family were struck by a truck after enjoying a peaceful evening walk. Salman Afzaal, Madiha Salman, Talat Afzaal and Yumna Afzaal all tragically lost their lives. On behalf of Regional Council, I offer my sincerest condolences to the Afzaal family, to the City of London, and to Muslim communities across Canada, including here in Waterloo Region.

Racism, hate and Islamophobia have no place in our country. This is a place where everyone should feel safe, accepted and included. Waterloo Region will continue stand with the City of London to condemn xenophobia and white supremacy in our communities.

As we honour the Afzaal family, let us all continue to make our community a place for everyone. Thank you to the many community leaders and organizations who have planned events and initiatives to both remember, but also to catalyze action to address racism, hate and Islamophobia.

Based on consultation through the Community Safety and Wellbeing Plan, as well as discussion with groups like the Coalition of Muslim Women and area municipalities, Regional Council approved a number of actions to support the eradication of Islamophobia in Waterloo Region this March. This includes anti-Islamophobia training for staff, funding for the Coalition of Muslim Women’s Hate or Discrimination Reporting and Support Program, and a number of internal and external initiatives to remember those impacted by Islamophobia and counter Islamophobia in our community.

Karen Redman
Chair, Regional Municipality of Waterloo

June 1, 2022

Statement from Chair Redman on Indigenous History Month

Indigenous History Month is a time to learn, appreciate and acknowledge the history, cultures, resiliency and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples. We also have the opportunity to reflect these learnings in our daily lives and build stronger relationships with Indigenous communities as we work towards a better future.

Recently, I was deeply honoured to receive an Eagle feather from Clarence Cachagee, the founder of Crow Shield lodge, on behalf of Regional Council and our organization. This feather signifies our strengthening relationship as partners in working towards a vision for healing in our community. As Clarence explained, the Eagles use their tail feathers for direction, and the feather symbolizes the new path we are walking along together. We strive to build and strengthen relationships with all Indigenous community members and work meaningfully towards allyship, truth and reconciliation.

I encourage everyone in the community to take the time throughout this month to learn, celebrate, and recognize Indigenous history in this region in a meaningful way. Reflect on the hard truths, but also celebrate the beauty of Indigenous cultures.

Karen Redman
Chair, Region of Waterloo

June 1, 2022

Statement from Chair Redman on Pride Month

As we enter Pride Month, it is exciting to see so many opportunities to celebrate 2SLGBTQ+ communities and their contributions. At the same time, it is important to remember that members of these communities continue to fight for the rights and inclusion that many of us take for granted.

To mark Pride Month, the Progress Pride flag has been raised at Regional headquarters, as well as other buildings throughout the community. The rainbow flag is a symbol of hope. Each colour is intentional – together it conveys life, healing, sunlight, nature, serenity, and spirit.

While honouring the flag’s roots, we recognize that the flag has evolved, with the inclusion of Black, Indigenous and racialized communities, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals and those living and lost to aids and stigma. The five colours added in the chevron symbolise progress being made to a better future for all. We proudly display the Progress Pride flag as a show of inclusion and support.

I would encourage everyone to support our 2SLGBTQ+ community and to take part in the many local activities planned for this month that celebrate our diversity.

Karen Redman
Chair, Region of Waterloo

May 17, 2022

Statement from Chair Redman on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

In Waterloo Region, one in four people who identify as 2SLGBTQ+ have been physically harmed because of their gender or sexual identity. More than 70 percent have experienced verbal abuse (The Outlook Study).

These are the experiences of our neighbours, co-workers, fellow students, friends, and family.

The hurt and fear that they feel, affects the whole community. Violence and discrimination are the greatest barriers to inclusion.

The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia draws attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by people of all sexual and gender diversities.

We must make our communities a place where everyone feels safe. More than that, where everyone feels like they belong, and has the opportunity to thrive.

Creating a sense of belonging is about moving beyond tolerance and into acceptance. It is about celebrating our differences.

As we recognize the significance of this day, we must reaffirm as a community our commitment to being allies and champions for change.

We must all contribute to a vision of a community that is safe, welcoming, and that celebrates each and every one of us because of who we are.

Karen Redman
Chair, Regional Municipality of Waterloo

May 5, 2022

Statement from Chair Redman on Red Dress Day

Abigail Andrews. Gloria Moody. Janine Wesaquate. Karina Wolfe. Kelly Goforth. Richele Bear.

Six victims of the thousands of Indigenous women who have been tragically murdered or are missing in this country. These daughters, sisters and mothers were victims of heinous acts rooted in racism and hate.

Canada has a dark history of discrimination and injustice towards Indigenous women, girls, two-spirits and men, and today we honour their memory.

Red Dress Day is a time for all Canadians to remember, listen and learn about the truths of Indigenous victims and survivors of violence. It is on all of us to ensure that this crisis ends.

On behalf of Regional Council, we re-affirm our responsibility of fulfilling the calls to action in the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report and the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). Racism and discrimination have no place in our society, and the Region is committed to helping to create an anti-racist and anti-oppressive community where everyone belongs and is valued.

Continue to be educated and an ally while on your personal journey of reconciliation. Learn more about the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

You can also show solidarity and spread awareness by participating in the Moose Hide Campaign on Thursday, May 12. Take a stand against violence toward women and children and learn about practical steps you can take on your journey of reconciliation.

Karen Redman
Chair, Regional Municipality of Waterloo

May 1, 2022

Statement from Chair Redman on Eid al-Fitr

At sunset today, Muslims in Waterloo Region and across the world will mark the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting.

The end of Ramadan marks the beginning of Eid al-Fitr, the Festival of the Fast-Breaking, a celebration during the first three days of the Islamic month of Shawwal.

Eid al-Fitr brings an occasion for special prayers, visits, gift giving and charity. It is a festival that brings families and friends together.

I wish everyone celebrating in Waterloo Region a safe and happy time together.

This is also a good time to recognize the contributions of Muslim communities here in Waterloo Region. We continue to work together towards ensuring diversity is respected and celebrated, and everyone feels safe and feels like they belong in our community.

Eid Mubārak ("Blessed Eid") or Eid Sa‘īd ("Happy Eid”) to those who celebrate!

Karen Redman
Chair, Regional Municipality of Waterloo

May 1, 2022

Statement from Chair Redman on Asian Heritage Month

The month of May is an excellent opportunity for people to learn about the incredible impact Canadians of Asian descent have had in this country.

Asian Heritage Month recognizes the diversity of all Asian cultures and celebrates their many achievements. It is also an opportunity for everyone to come together to build a more equitable and inclusive community. Waterloo Region’s strength is in its diversity and standing for what is right. Let us work together to continue to build a community that stands against racism, hate and xenophobia. To all communities of Asian descent who call Waterloo Region home, thank you for helping to make our community into the amazing place that it is.

I would like to wish everyone celebrating a joyful time learning about, sharing and experiencing Asian heritage.

Karen Redman
Chair, Regional Municipality of Waterloo

May 1, 2022

Statement from Chair Redman on Jewish Heritage Month

On behalf of Regional Council, I am honoured to wish Jewish communities across Waterloo Region, Ontario and Canada a happy Jewish Heritage Month. Designating May as the month to celebrate Jewish heritage began in 2017 in the Canadian Senate, followed by its official acknowledgement in Parliament in 2018.

Jewish Heritage Month is a time to recognize the important contributions Jewish Canadians have made to the social, economic, political and cultural fabric of our society. We also re-affirm our position of zero tolerance for antisemitism and racism in our community. Waterloo Region is an inclusive and caring community, where everyone from all backgrounds should feel safe, loved and valued.

Consider celebrating with your family this month, by reading Jewish literature, listening to Jewish music or visiting Jewish cultural centres or museums.

To everyone celebrating, have a safe and fulfilling Jewish Heritage month and Second Passover.

Karen Redman
Chair, Regional Municipality of Waterloo

April 28, 2022

Statement from Chair Redman on the National Day of Mourning

All flags at Regional buildings are lowered today to commemorate the National Day of Mourning as we honour and remember lives lost or injured due to workplace tragedy. Many Regional staff will also observe a moment of silence at 11 a.m. today.

The significance of this memorial is all the more poignant as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on thousands of front-line and essential workers across our community. It is vital that we continue to acknowledge the risks and challenges these workers faced and the sacrifices they made to keep all of us safe and healthy, and to care for and protect others from COVID-19. These workers have and continue to support our community.

With each worker injury, illness or death, there are loved ones, family members, friends and co-workers who are directly affected and deeply impacted – their lives also forever changed. Today we think of you as well and our hearts go out to you. As we pause today, we renew our commitment to safety, to training, and to a safe workplace.


Karen Redman

Chair, Regional Municipality of Waterloo

April 15, 2022

Statement from Chair Redman on Passover

I would like to wish Chag Sameach to all who are getting ready to mark the beginning of Passover in Waterloo Region and across the world.

Passover begins at sundown on April 15th, and marks the Israelites’ liberation from slavery in Egypt.

The Passover story about triumph over slavery and oppression is a reminder to us all of what we can overcome when we work together.

During this important time for the Jewish community, I want to reaffirm my commitment to an inclusive region free from hate, discrimination and antisemitism. Our Jewish community members belong here.

I am heartened to know that this year, synagogues and homes are able to welcome family, friends, and guests for special blessings, prayers, and Seders.

I wish everyone celebrating a very Happy Festival.


Karen Redman

April 14, 2022

Statement from Chair Redman on Vaisakhi

Today is a very important day for many Sikh Canadians across our country, province and region.

Vaisakhi is the Sikh New Year festival and marks the first day of the month of Vaisakha, a time to celebrate the harvest, new beginnings and commemorate the birth of Sikhism.

On this day, Sikhs gather to worship, pray, socialize and share festive foods. Some Hindus and Buddhists also celebrate Vaisakhi and mark this day in special ways as well.

Vaisakhi is about community, gratitude and progress; values that are reflected in Waterloo Region and part of the fabric of what makes this place special.

After two years of celebrating Vaisakhi differently, I am so happy people can gather again to mark this important day.

On behalf of Regional Council, Happy Vaisakhi! Best wishes to everyone celebrating on this joyous day.


Karen Redman

Chair, Regional Municipality of Waterloo

April 2, 2022

Statement from Chair Redman on Ramadan

Today, Muslims in Waterloo Region, Canada and around the world begin a month-long journey of fasting, prayer and reflection during Ramadan.

After two years of celebrating differently, I am happy Muslims in Waterloo Region are able to cherish this important time together. 

The holy month of Ramadan honours the values of Islam, such as compassion, community and service to others. There has never been a time when the world needed these qualities more.

As Muslims celebrate this sacred month, it is also the perfect time to show our caring spirit and support for those who are experiencing food insecurity. The Give 30 campaign, started by Ziyaad Ma, inspires everyone regardless of faith to help fight food insecurity by donating to local food banks. With a growing demand for food assistance, let us come together and help those in need.

Learn how you can make a donation to the Food Bank of Waterloo Region and the Cambridge Food Bank.

To everyone celebrating, Ramadan Mubarak. May this month give you peace and joy.


Karen Redman

Chair, Regional Municipality of Waterloo Region

April 1, 2022

Statement from Chair Redman on Sikh Heritage Month

On behalf of Regional Council, I am happy to recognize and celebrate today as the start of Sikh Heritage Month in Waterloo Region. The Province of Ontario proclaimed April as Sikh Heritage Month in 2013, as Sikh Canadians celebrate Vaisakhi, the Sikh New Year festival later in the month.

Sikh heritage is a vibrant and dynamic part of the mosaic of our country. The Sikh community has made significant contributions to the growth and prosperity of Canada, Ontario and Waterloo Region, and the month of April is an opportunity to share, learn and enjoy its rich history and culture.

The story of Sikhs in Canada spans more than 200 years, and has been rooted in resilience, justice, service and love. These qualities have inspired people of all backgrounds across this country, including here in Waterloo Region.  

To everyone celebrating, I wish you a happy and fulfilling Sikh Heritage Month and joyous Vaisakhi.


Karen Redman

Chair, Regional Municipality of Waterloo

March 21, 2022

Statement from Chair Redman on the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Today is the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This day is an opportunity to reflect on our partnerships with the community in addressing systemic racism, discrimination, and xenophobia in our institutions.

March 21 is a dark day in world history. In 1960, police in Sharpeville, South Africa opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid laws. Sadly, amid progress made, hate and racism still exist. Many communities and religious minorities in Canada continue to face racism and discrimination every day on individual and systemic levels.

We have to address racism in all its forms. It is our duty as elected officials, neighbours, coworkers, and human beings, to work together to make real progress in our fight towards equity, diversity and inclusion. This includes speaking out and working on meaningful change in our services, in our hiring practices, and in our community alongside other leaders and organizations.

We heard loud and clear from the community that this work needs to be community-led. This past year and throughout the pandemic, we began listening better. We began making decisions guided by those who experience racial discrimination and barriers. As a Council and organization, we continue to move forward with concrete change.

This week Council will be presented with recommendations from the Coalition of Muslim Women of KW to address Islamophobia. Actions include supporting the hate crime reporting system, anti-Islamophobia training for Regional staff, and code of conduct bylaw amendments to address harassment within our public spaces.

Last month we hired our first Director of the office of Reconciliation and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Fauzia Baig will work alongside staff and community leaders to improve equity and innovate the way we work with communities to listen, learn, act, and collaborate.

In January, we co-designed with the community a bold new vision and framework to improve the lives of those facing the greatest barriers to safety and wellbeing. The Community Safety and Wellbeing Framework is rooted in advancing Truth and Reconciliation, anti-hate, anti-oppression, and anti-racism, equity, diversity and inclusion, and it is a vision for all systems in our community to work towards.

We continue to progress on actions led by the Anti-Racism Advisory Working Group last year; reviewing HR policies and practices to identify barriers that discriminate. We are also actively working to increase the representation of under-represented groups across all departments and organizational levels. This includes the work of identifying real systemic biases and issues within our systems that must be changed.

We recently invested in improving access to important services such as affordable housing and child care for Black, African, Caribbean, racialized and other communities facing systemic barriers. We must continue to provide funding to communities who know their needs best and whose experiences we continue to learn from through initiatives like the Community Safety and Wellbeing Plan and Equity Investment Fund.

There is progress happening, and with progress is hope. With progress there is also the recognition that where we are now is far from where we need to be, and in order to create a more equitable and anti-racist community, we must maintain momentum. Leaders must maintain humility in recognizing that pervasive issues like racism and discrimination have harmed the community and that alongside action there will also be a need for healing.

In our community, every person should feel safe, valued, and cared for. Today, we re-affirm our commitment to facilitating this by working alongside the community towards Reconciliation, anti-racism, anti-oppression, and systemic change.

March 8, 2022
Statement on International Women's Day

The history of International Women's Day is rooted in the labour movement across North America and Europe, where women protested working conditions. A century later, women face another labour crisis worldwide, fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic; the she-cession.

During the first two months of the pandemic, it is estimated that 1.5 million women in Canada lost their jobs. Many women left their jobs to care for their children as schools and childcare centres closed.

For some, the pandemic created new opportunities. Women stepped up to lead in their jobs and communities. Witnessing the many women who helped us locally through the pandemic was inspiring. From hospitals to food banks, and from businesses to public health, women were at the helm of the services and supports we depended on the most. I think particularly of the women leaders who led our vaccine rollout and local health system response.

As we move out of the pandemic and return to work and school, we must make space for women and girls, their perspectives, and their lived experiences. Invite them to the table and provide opportunities and mentorship. This work belongs to all of us. Thank you to all the mentors and organizations in our community who are working to improve the lives and opportunities of women and girls. When we invest in gender equity, we invest in our communities, economy, and future.

I celebrate this International Women's Day in honour of the women who came before me, those making an impact today, and the generations of female leaders to come.


February 24, 2022
Statement in support of the people of Ukraine

As we watch the devastating events unfold in Ukraine, the Region of Waterloo is raising the Ukrainian flag at our headquarters as a show of support for all who are suffering.

Our community stands together in solidarity against Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade the Ukraine.

The situation is harrowing. Bombings have destroyed homes, claimed lives, and left many others injured. The people of Ukraine are trying desperately to leave their country or take cover as the situation escalates.

The loss and terror that Ukrainians are feeling right now extends into our community here in Waterloo Region. To those who have loved ones in the Ukraine or Eastern Europe, our thoughts are with you during this time of unimaginable fear and uncertainty.

February 5, 2022
A Message from the Regional Chair and the Mayors of Kitchener, Cambridge & Waterloo

Local City Mayors, the Regional Chair and our CAOs, met with the Chief of Police and senior officers to be briefed about possible protests against COVID-19 restrictions across our region.

Citizens always have the right to gather in peaceful protest, and we have seen many protests and marches in our cities over the past few years.   

Regardless of what citizens are protesting, there is never an excuse for hate-filled symbols, words or actions. When protesters corrupt the meaning of ‘freedom’ to create a safe space where racism, hate and gender-based aggression cause deliberate harm to racialized community members and other identifiable groups, it must be condemned without hesitation. We are hopeful that we do not see the same reprehensible behaviour during protests in Waterloo Region as we have seen in other areas.  

We are in support of Waterloo Regional Police Service and our community partners as they prepare for these protests and do everything they can to protect public safety and local businesses, and respond to any hateful or racist behaviour. 

We want to thank residents across Waterloo Region for your ongoing patience and support as we navigate this pandemic together and for standing in solidarity against hate in our community. 

  • Karen Redman, Chair, Region of Waterloo 
  • Berry Vrbanovic, Mayor, City of Kitchener 
  • Kathryn McGarry, Mayor, City of Cambridge 
  • Dave Jaworsky, Mayor, City of Waterloo 

February 1, 2022
Statement from Chair Karen Redman marking the beginning of Black History Month

Today marks the beginning of Black History Month in Canada and across Waterloo Region. This year’s theme for Black History Month is February and Forever: Celebrating Black History today and every day. Black History Month has a unifying effect, as we collectively gather (largely virtually this year) to celebrate the contributions of Black Canadians and reflect on the importance of diversity and inclusion to our country.

We celebrate Black History Month as a country thanks to the vision of the Honourable Jean Augustine, the first Black woman elected as a Member of Parliament and the former MP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore. On December 14, 1995, the House of Commons unanimously approved a motion introduced by Dr. Augustine to recognize February as Black History Month. The celebrations, reflection and learning that occur this month reflect Dr. Augustine’s deep expertise and passion for education. Dr. Augustine is an example of the many Black leaders across our country and region who have worked tirelessly for change.

Across our community, many organizations have found new and innovative ways to commemorate Black History. This includes celebrations from the Caribbean Canadian Association of Waterloo Region and Bring on the Sunshine. There are also various events hosted by Region of Waterloo museums, local public libraries and universities.

While this month is a celebration, it is also an important time to reflect on the systemic racism and barriers that exist across our society and within our institutions. I want to thank the members of the Anti-Racism Advisory Working Group, as well as participants in the Community Safety and Wellbeing Plan, who are advancing change across our community and charting a course for a brighter future.

On behalf of Regional Council and all our residents, I wish everyone safe and healthy celebrations throughout this month.


Karen Redman
Chair, Regional Municipality of Waterloo

January 28, 2022

Statement from Chair Karen Redman on National Day of Remembrance of the Québec City Mosque Attack and Action Against Islamophobia

This weekend, residents across Waterloo Region will honour and remember the six people killed in an anti-Muslim terrorist attack in Quebec City on January 29, 2017. They are not forgotten:

Ibrahima Barry
Mamadou Tanou Barry
Khaled Belkacemi
Abdelkrim Hassane
Azzedine Soufiane
Aboubaker Thabti

Nineteen people were also injured that day at the Centre culturel islamique de Québec. The Green Square campaign exists to remember the lives lost and show solidarity with our Muslim community. This weekend, buildings like Schneider Haus, as well as signs and streets across the region will be illuminated with green lights.

We know that this is not the only anti-Muslim attack that has impacted our friends and neighbours. Last year, Madiha Salman and Salma, Yumna, and Talat Afzaal were killed when out for a walk in London. In Cambridge, the Baitul Kareem Mosque was also vandalised.

Islamophobia and religious hate have no place in Canada. No one should be discriminated against based on their religion. Today, we stand in solidarity with our local Muslim community and remember the victims.

Thank you to leaders and organizations working everyday to educate our community and counter Islamophobia. In particular, I would like to recognize the continued work and collaboration of the Coalition of Muslim Women. Their resources can be found at

We stand with you in solidarity.

January 27, 2022
Statement from Chair Karen Redman on International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day to mourn and remember the millions of people who were murdered by the Nazis for being Jewish, part of a religious, ethnic or cultural minority, or based on having a disability, their gender identity or sexual orientation. We are thinking of our local Jewish community in Waterloo Region, as well as the survivors and families impacted by the Holocaust. Each victim, each survivor has a story, has a family. You are in our thoughts, and we are grieving with you.

The United Nations established International Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2005. While our society, institutions and education systems have come a long way to understand systemic racism and address antisemitism, much work remains. Hatred, discrimination and racism have no place in our community. Thank you to the many leaders and organizations who continue to spread education, inclusivity and tolerance across Waterloo Region.

In Canada and in Waterloo Region, our differences should be celebrated, the reasons we are loved, and the reasons we can find common cause in inclusivity and empathy.

Statement from Chair Redman on National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

On December 6, 1989, 14 women were murdered at l’École Polytechnique in Montreal. Today, we remember them and mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. We remember the women, girls and gender diverse people across our community and our country who continue to be victims and survivors of gender-based violence and trauma.

I was honoured to attend today’s moving tribute to the women from l’École Polytechnique, held annually by the Canadian Federation of University Women (CUFW) and the University of Waterloo. Despite the passage of time, the CFUW and university’s tribute is equally powerful each year.

Thank you to the strong community organizations who continue to address the roots of gender-based violence, including the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region (SASC) and Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region.

If you or someone you know needs support, SASC has a 24 hour support line at 519-741-8633.

Today all flags at regional buildings are flying at half-mast to commemorate the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

Not forgotten:

Geneviève Bergeron
Hélène Colgan
Nathalie Croteau
Barbara Daigneault
Anne-Marie Edward
Maud Haviernick
Maryse Laganière
Maryse Leclair
Anne-Marie Lemay
Sonia Pelletier
Michèle Richard
Annie St-Arneault
Annie Turcotte
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz

 2021 Statements from Chair Redman
September 30, 2021
Statement from Chair Karen Redman on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Today marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. A day for everyone to reflect, listen, and learn from residential school survivors, their families, and communities. It is also a day for us to pause and remember those who did not return home.

To mark Truth and Reconciliation week, the Every Child Matters flag is flying at Regional headquarters. Flags will fly at half-mast until October 5, following the National Day of Action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Like many residents in the Region of Waterloo, I will be participating in the community walk hosted by the Healing of the Seven Generations to raise awareness and reflect on the residential school system. I want to thank them for organizing this opportunity to come together and collectively mourn. I was also honoured to participate in a ceremony at the Region of Waterloo International Airport this morning and wish to thank the Elders who shared their knowledge and led us in reflection and remembrance as we continue our journey of reconciliation.

Everyone has a role to play in reconciliation. It is my hope that all residents take time today to learn and engage in meaningful conversations. We must acknowledge the truth of the residential school system and the impact it continues to have on Indigenous communities.


Karen Redman
Chair, Regional Municipality of Waterloo

August 31, 2021
International Overdose Awareness Day

On behalf of Regional Council and the Region of Waterloo, I extend my condolences to the friends, family, and loved ones of the 61 individuals who have died in our community due to suspected overdose this year.

Today is International Overdose Awareness Day. It is a day observed annually on August 31 in communities around the world to remember and honour those who have lost their lives. It is a day to acknowledge the grief of their family, friends, and loved ones. It is also a day to raise awareness about preventing overdose deaths.

In 2020 the Consumption and Treatment Services site staff responded to 188 overdoses. The CTS has been successful in supporting clients to use substances safely while increasing access to multiple services. There were no overdose-related deaths at the CTS and staff have helped to reverse potentially fatal overdoses.

We can each play a role in preventing overdoses in our community. Naloxone kits are available for free from participating pharmacies throughout the region. Waterloo Region residents have repeatedly shown that this is a caring community. We work each day to support and protect each other. You could save someone's life by knowing the signs and symptoms of overdose, using Naloxone, and calling 9-1-1.

Today is a day of remembrance and of action. 


Karen Redman
Chair, Region of Waterloo

August 11, 2021
Letter to Federal and Provincial Governments Asking for Coordinated Approach to Proof of Vaccine

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier Ford,

I am writing today to ask for your valued support and leadership to ensure clarity and consistency for residents, businesses and organizations as we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have seen catastrophic impacts of COVID-19 locally and nationally. We have seen these impacts not only from a health and economic perspective, but unfortunately we have seen these impacts touch all aspects of society.

As you are aware, public health indications are strongly pointing to a fourth wave and we find ourselves at a most critical crossroads in the ongoing timeline of how we push back against this pandemic.

Despite the devastation that COVID-19 has brought to our country and community, we have seen heroic and unprecedented efforts to safeguard the health of residents. The gains we have made because of high vaccine numbers have provided us with this longed-for opportunity to move beyond COVID-19.

Throughout the summer, I have heard loud and clear from residents and businesses in the Region of Waterloo that we now need a clear and coordinated path forward to protect these gains. This is my ask: for both levels of government to take a consistent and coordinated approach to proof of vaccination.

The intent of this letter is to loudly echo the voices of those residents and businesses that have come to me and my Region of Waterloo Council colleagues asking for vaccination passports. On behalf of those voices looking for a clear and coordinated way to establish vaccination status, we are calling on the Provincial and Federal governments to lead this coordinated effort in order to finally move us beyond COVID-19.

Over recent months, it has become clear that in the absence of a consistent policy framework, employers, businesses, event venues, and even individuals themselves will be forced make their own decisions. This fragmented approach will only add to the confusion within the community and unfortunately, it will prolong and sharpen the impact of further COVID-19 waves.

A fragmented approach will also lead to the unfair targeting of businesses by those opposed to preventative measures. Our businesses – the lifeblood of our economies and communities – need you now more than ever.

Understandably, there are many nuances that must be navigated, but without collective and immediate coordination we will continue to remain on the back foot in the fight against this devastating disease.

The critical crossroads I mention comes as we are seeing a slowdown in vaccine numbers. This slowdown may have been inevitable, but we are not in a unique position. As a society we have used proof of immunization for many years to support a transparent and consistent approach.

We ask both levels of government to take action and to continue with this consistent and coordinated approach.

We are in this together, and in order to move beyond COVID-19, we must move together.

Yours in collaboration,

Karen Redman,
Chair, Regional Municipality of Waterloo

August 9, 2021
International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Leaving no one behind is this year’s theme for International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples and it is a commitment we continue to make at the Region of Waterloo. Our vision is a community where everyone has meaningful opportunities to thrive. This means recognizing and celebrating the diversity of Indigenous groups across the world, and at home. Waterloo Region sits on the traditional territories of the Neutral (Attawandaron), Anishnaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples. Each group has their own unique culture, traditions, languages, worldviews, and knowledge systems.
We continue to listen and learn from all Indigenous Peoples, as we work together to strengthen our relationships in ways that result in meaningful engagement. During the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, we partnered with organizations and members of the First Nation, Métis and Inuit community to offer a culturally appropriate and reflective space for Indigenous people who wish to receive the vaccine. By listening and learning, we continue to work towards creating a more inclusive space for Indigenous community members in the region.
As we work alongside local Indigenous communities to develop a region-wide Reconciliation Action Plan, Regional staff have engaged in training that explains the settlement of Canada from an Indigenous perspective; gaining a more fulsome understanding of our history and the inequities that continue.
It is by listening and learning that we work towards leaving no one behind.
We have much more to do at the Region and as a community, as we move forward towards reconciliation. We are committed to this work, and look forward to working with our partners to build relationships and achieve meaningful change.

July 15, 2021
Statement from Chair Redman on the hateful vandalism at Baitul Kareem Mosque

We are deeply saddened and disturbed to learn of the break-in and vandalism that occurred yesterday at the Baitul Kareem Mosque in Cambridge. This comes after another attack on a Muslim mother and daughter in Hamilton this week.

The attack on Baitul Kareem Mosque, a place of worship, resulted in thousands of dollars worth of damage and theft. However, this is about more than theft and damage. It is about the impact and trauma experienced by not only the community members that attend the Baitul Kareem Mosque in Cambridge, but the entire local Muslim community. Everyone in Waterloo Region deserves to feel safe and hateful acts of Islamophobia have no place in our region, or anywhere. Our community shares values that are rooted in kindness and uphold diversity, inclusion, and respect. 

Please know that supports are available to you during this time:

  • Mental health support line for Muslim youth: 1-866-NASEEHA (627-3342)
  • Waterloo Wellington Here 24/7, Mental Health & Crisis Support - Phone: 1-844-437-3247 (HERE247)

Today, our thoughts are with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’ at Canada, the Baitul Kareem Mosque, and our local Muslim community.

Waterloo Regional Police are continuing their investigation and anyone with any information is encouraged to call 519-570-9777.

Take care of yourself, your family and friends.

Karen Redman,
Chair, Region of Waterloo

June 25, 2021
Statement from Chair Redman on the discovery of 751 unmarked graves around the former residential school in Saskatchewan

On behalf of Regional Council and the Region of Waterloo, I want to extend my condolences to the Cowessess First Nation and to Indigenous communities across Canada, including those in Waterloo Region.

For the second time in a month, words fail to capture the sorrow and sadness felt across this country as a result of the legacy of residential schools. The discovery of 751 unmarked graves around the former Marieval Residential School is another reminder of the systemic racism and discrimination in our past, but also our present.

I recognize that this news can add to the trauma and pain. Support is available for those in need:

  • Waterloo Wellington Here 24/7 Addictions, Mental Health & Crisis Support - Phone: 1-844-437-3247 (HERE247)
  • Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS) - 24 Hour crisis line: 1.866.925.4419 Website
  • Kids Help Phone, 24/7 distress line - Phone: 1.800.668.6868, Website

Residents can learn more through the Woodland Cultural Centre and The Truth and Reconciliation Commission

As a community, we must grieve this loss and reflect on this legacy. Reconciliation is a shared path and action is required.

In mourning,

Karen Redman
Chair, Region of Waterloo

June 22, 2021
Statement from Chair Redman on Canada Day

As Canada Day approaches, residents across the Region of Waterloo prepare to reflect on our country. It is important to remember that Canada Day is not about fireworks, but about people.

For many, Canada Day is a day of gratitude and celebration. Gratitude for immigration, gratitude for the sacrifices of previous generations, and gratitude for the services and community offered by our country. It is also a time for us to celebrate and welcome new Canadians, for whom July 1st is of special significance.

Canada Day is also a day for pause and reflection. It is a reminder of the inequitable treatment experienced by many communities throughout our history. This includes the treatment of First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities, and their ancestral lands that we now call home and with whom we share this land.

As the past year has demonstrated, discrimination is in not only part of our past but it is also part of our present. Work remains to be done in our institutions and in our society to address homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, anti-Black racism, Islamophobia, and racism or discrimination of any kind.

Whether you choose to celebrate, or pause and reflect, or both, your decision is respected.

Canada Day is an opportune time for listening – listening to what Canada means to your neighbours and community members. Only in coming together, acknowledging the past, the truth, and supporting and respecting one another, can we move forward with hope for our future.

In shared hope.

Karen Redman
Chair, Regional Municipality of Waterloo

June 17, 2021
Statement from Chair Karen Redman on the Delta variant in the Region of Waterloo

I share the concerns of Waterloo Region residents around the increasing spread and impact of the Delta variant. Based on data presented at the Board of Health this week, we are in a precarious position. We continue to advocate to the province for more vaccines and mobile teams. Premier Ford and Minister Jones have been responsive and have committed to additional supports for Waterloo Region.

Every vaccine dose we have is getting out into arms immediately.

We have expanded capacity to deliver more vaccines, including through pharmacies, primary care, mobile teams, and public vaccination clinics. This includes new late evening clinics and the acceleration of second doses in high priority neighbourhoods. We continue to provide contact tracing and isolation support.

As individuals, the most important thing we can do is get vaccinated and follow public health guidance. Over 83% of Waterloo Region’s Delta variant cases are unvaccinated individuals.

Karen Redman,
Chair, Region of Waterloo

June 3, 2021
Statement from Chair Karen Redman on the finalization of regulations under the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016

 On behalf of Regional Council, I want to thank the Government of Ontario for listening to municipalities, like the Region of Waterloo, and delivering on its commitment to transition responsibility of the blue box program. This is an important next step in full producer responsibility for recycling programs.

For years, Waterloo Region residents and municipalities have been ahead of the curve when it comes to climate, waste diversion, and our recycling system. In fact, the classic blue box that lines the streets of Ontario was established 36 years ago in the City of Kitchener. Residents want less packaging in landfills and a system where producers are accountable for the packaging they create. As recently as last week, Regional Council has advocated for a system that reduces the cost burden on residents and incentivizes waste diversion and producer accountability. The aligns with similar advocacy from across the province, whether through the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) or the Mayors and Regional Chairs of Ontario (MARCO).

As Waterloo Region and Ontario continue to grow, it is important that our municipalities have the tools to divert waste and create greener, more liveable communities. Thank you to the Government of Ontario for delivering on this commitment. We look forward to further collaboration and consultation as these changes are implemented.

Karen Redman,
Chair, Region of Waterloo

May 31, 2021
Statement from Chair Karen Redman regarding the discovery of children's remains at Kamloops residential school

On behalf of Regional Council and the Region of Waterloo, I want to extend heartfelt condolences to the families and communities of the 215 children found around the residential school in Kamloops. The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation and all Indigenous communities are in our thoughts today. This is a saddening reminder of the legacy of residential schools and an unthinkable, yet all too real history in Canada.

 I also want to recognize that words are not enough and that our actions must demonstrate our commitment to truth and reconciliation in support of the wellbeing of all residents in our community.

 The Region is working with Indigenous communities and leaders, including through the Wellbeing Waterloo Region First Nation, Metis, and Inuit Advocacy and Advisory Circle on training, education and other initiatives to advance the calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report. Last year saw the creation of the Anti-Racism Advisory Working Group to address systemic racism in our workplace and our services by providing recommendations, advice and information to Regional Council through an Anti-Racism Plan. I encourage all residents to read the reports of The Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The stories of families and survivors are powerful. As a country, a region, and as individuals, the 94 Calls to Action are critical for advancing reconciliation.

 In addition, there can be no reconciliation without truth and so we must continue to save the evidence and educate current and future generations on the tragedies committed through residential schools. Residents can learn more through the Woodland Cultural Centre.

I want to recognize the impact this news may have on the mental health and wellbeing of residents in our community. As we process this tragic news, support is available for those in need:

  • Waterloo Wellington Here 24/7 Addictions, Mental Health & Crisis Support - Phone: 1-844-437-3247 (HERE247)
  • Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS) - 24 Hour crisis line: 1.866.925.4419 Website
  • Kids Help Phone, 24/7 distress line - Phone: 1.800.668.6868, Website

As a community, we must grieve these young lives lost together. And in our mourning, commit to continued action to ensure this dark part of our nation’s history is brought to light in our community, understood and recognized by all, and never repeated.

In mourning,

Karen Redman,
Chair, Region of Waterloo

March 18, 2021
Statement from Chair Karen Redman regarding Anti-Asian violence in Georgia

We are deeply saddened by the recent shootings in Georgia and continue to be troubled by the rise in anti-Asian violence that we have seen during the pandemic. The pandemic has highlighted and magnified inequities that have always existed. The roots of this violence are deep and familiar: white supremacy, xenophobia, and imperialism.

Anti-Asian racism has a long history and is both interpersonal and systemic. The increased racist language from the onset of the pandemic, with the virus being labelled “China virus” or “Wuhan flu,” has been incredibly damaging.

According to a Stats Canada report, Canadians with Asian backgrounds are more likely to report noticing increased racial or ethnic harassment against them since the start of the pandemic. More than 30% of respondents who identified as Chinese perceived an increase in harassment or attacks on the basis of race, ethnicity, or skin colour.

We have seen this here in Waterloo Region as well, with some individuals being the subject of racist comments on social media and emails containing inappropriate and abusive comments.

We understand that bias can be unconscious or unintentional and that racism is the combination of social and institutional power, plus racial prejudice.  Having conversations that confront this bias requires courage, respect and compassion, and may not always be comfortable. 

The Region of Waterloo is purposefully striving to identify, discuss and challenge issues of race, colour, ethnicity, and the impact(s) they have on everyone.

The most important thing is to continue this advocacy beyond the pandemic, by continuing to support racialized communities, and by making them visible outside of conversations around COVID-19.

February 02, 2021
Statement from CAO Bruce Lauckner and Chair Karen Redman
Celebrating Black History Month

February is Black History Month, where all Canadians can learn about the achievements and many contributions of Black Canadians in shaping Canada’s growth and development, both past and present.

Recognition of Black History Month is even more significant given events of the past year, including the death of George Floyd and the demonstrations on Capitol Hill, which remind us that we cannot take for granted, but must work to ensure democracy, equality and fair treatment for all.

These incidents speak to the importance of addressing racial discrimination for black, indigenous, and racialized community members and social injustice for all. Addressing systemic racism will foster relationships built on trust and restore faith in government services and systems; while bringing about healing and reconciliation.  

The Region of Waterloo has taken the following actions to address racial intolerance:

  • Created an Equity, Inclusion & Human Rights Unit aimed at a just, equitable and accessible Region where all people can reach their full potential.
  • Created an Anti-Racism Advisory Working Group that will provide recommendations, advice and information to Regional Council. This includes the development and implementation of an Anti-Racism Plan to address systemic racism within the workplace and within Regional services.
  • Created an Equity Diversity & Inclusion Staff Working Group who will identify key corporate initiatives to support equity and inclusion for all and support the Region’s Multi-Year Diversity, Accessibility and Inclusion Plan.
  • Continued to address the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #57: Educating Regional staff about “the history of First Nations, Metis and Inuit Peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Indigenous rights, Indigenous Law and the Indigenous-Crown relations.”
  • Continued to support our internal First Nations, Metis and Inuit committee.

In addition, the Region has developed a dedicated webpage for Black History Month that encourages the community to learn about and honour the important contributions African, Black and Caribbean Canadians have made to our country. The Region is also promoting community and Region-led events on a variety of social media platforms and encouraging all to participate and share.

Karen Redman,                                                           Bruce Lauckner

Chair, Region of Waterloo                                          CAO, Region of Waterloo

Jan. 11, 2021
Statement from the CAO and Chair

As a community, we have been impacted by the disturbing and tragic events of January 6th in Washington D.C.

On June 16th, Regional Council unanimously confirmed their commitment to address racism by supporting policies and programs that address the inequities that members of the Black community continue to experience within Waterloo Region.

The events that took place in Washington, D.C. on January 6th were deeply disturbing and may continue to be emotionally distressing. Events like this question beliefs of democracy, equality and fair treatment of all residents in our community. It highlights the existing injustices faced by racialized and marginalized communities, the ongoing power imbalances, and the necessary work that myself and Region of Waterloo Council has already committed to action.

We will continue to work alongside the community to address systemic racism, ensure human rights, and equity for all our residents, including regional staff.

Karen Redman                                              Bruce Lauckner

Regional Chair                                              CAO, Region of Waterloo

2020 Statements from Chair Redman

Oct. 8, 2020
Orange Shirt Day 2020

Today is Orange Shirt Day across Canada – a day for awareness and support for the survivors and families of Canada’s Residential School System. We acknowledge the harmful past and present consequences of our residential schools.

Orange Shirt Day is inspired by the story of Phyllis Webstad, a First Nation Elder in Williams Lake, B.C. It was this time of year – the end of September – when Indigenous children were removed from their homes to attend residential schools.

At the young age of 6, the brand-new orange shirt that Phyllis wore was replaced with a uniform on her first day at St. Joseph Mission Residential School, outside of Williams Lake, B.C. in 1973. The orange shirt that we wear today symbolizes all that Phyllis was stripped of and the emotional trauma that followed her in the Residential School System.

 For Phyliss, the colour orange always reminded her of her experience at residential school and she said: “how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and I felt like I was worth nothing. All of us little children were crying and no one cared.”

 The last residential school in Canada closed in 1996, less than 15 years ago. 

·    It is estimated that 6,000 children died due to Canada’s residential school system

·    150,000 children attended these schools over 160 years

·    More than 80,000 survivors and their families still live with its legacy

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s work, concluding with the 94 Calls to Action in 2015, was when this horrifying part of Canada’s past came to the forefront of the minds of Canadians and was acknowledged as a cultural genocide.

Although there were no residential schools in Waterloo Region, we recognize there are residential school survivors and family members in our community who carry the intergenerational trauma of the past. May we remember them every day so we can move forward toward reconciliation.

The way we see our country and plan for our community as municipal leaders should be informed by our past. Today, we honour the survivors and families of our Residential School System. May we remember them each and every day as we walk together toward reconciliation.



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