Reconciliation, equity, diversity and inclusion

Find out what the city is doing to address systemic barriers and support equity-deserving groups.

On this page

  1. Learn what actions the city is taking
  2. Meet the team
  3. Find resources to learn more
  4. Find local mental health and wellbeing resources
  5. Contact the team

Learn what actions the city is taking

There is increased awareness and a sense of urgency about the need to understand the systemic barriers to equity and inclusion that exist, and have persisted for centuries. The City of Waterloo is working to:

Review internal challenges and working to remove systemic barriers:

  • support internal training, policy development and evaluation of programs, services, policies and practices to ensure they are accessible and welcoming to racialized populations
  • explore how the city can respond to complaints and enforcement with a restorative justice lens;
  • support the corporation to meet Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) compliance;

Collaborate with local action groups:

  • work closely with the Waterloo Region’s Reconciliation Action Plan Working group
  • develop and maintain relationships with local Indigenous communities, building on a foundation of trust, respect and transparency
  • create meaningful relationships based on trust with the numerous equity-deserving groups and members in the community
  • support the ongoing efforts of Grand River Accessibility Advisory Committee (GRAAC)

Communicate our goals and include the community:

  • share resources and information about the work of the team internally and externally
  • build relationships with individuals and organizations in the disabled community to ensure their voices are included in the development of the city projects and plans

Meet the team

Brian HillBrian Hill (he/him), Indigenous Initiatives Advocate, is from the Oneida of the Thames First Nation and has been actively involved in the promotion and advancement of Urban Indigenous human rights for over 40 years.

He brings extensive experience building strategic partnerships through his work with City of London, United Way, Thames Valley District School Board, Children’s Aid Society and the London Police Service.

Brian is currently a Board and community member of the N’Amerind Friendship Centre in London as well as the president of the Board of Directors and first vice-president of the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres. 

Contact Brian by email brian.hill@waterloo.ca or call 226-750-3845.


Amy Ross (she/her), Accessibility Advocate, is a long-time City of Waterloo employee whose roles have included research and policy analysis, cultural planning and neighbourhood development, strategic implementation and project management. She is an active Staff Association vice-president.

Prior to her career with the city, Amy earned a Master of Public Service from the University of Waterloo, and completed the Core Community Leadership Development Program with Leadership Waterloo Region, served as an HR coordinator for a disability focused organization, an AODA consultant and coordinated the local activities of Special Olympics Kitchener-Waterloo.

Amy has served as a community representative for both the Grand River Accessibility Advisory Committee and the Grand River Transit Specialized Services Advisory Committee.

Contact Amy by email amy.ross@waterloo.ca or call 519-884-6294.


Paulina RodriguezPaulina Rodriguez (she/her), Anti-Racism and Social Justice Advocate, has held roles in the non-for-profit and municipal sectors working in community development, research, evaluation, and policy development. She has been a Waterloo Region resident for almost ten years and has worked for organizations like The Working Centre, Immigration Waterloo Region, and the Region of Waterloo’s Office of Reconciliation, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Paulina’s early experiences as a settler in Canada and her education have taught her about the importance of equitable and welcoming communities.

Contact Paulina by email paulina.rodriguez@waterloo.ca or call 226-753-2517.


Adam Nerger

Adam Nerger (he/him), Project Coordinator, has held roles in municipal governance and Indigenous self-governance with a focus on policy development, strategic planning, and communications.

Adam received his Bachelor of Arts from Wilfrid Laurier University, focusing on Political Science and North American studies. Before his career with the city, Adam worked for a self-governing Indigenous government in British Columbia, resolving tenancy disputes on behalf of the government, developing social communications and government communication strategies, coordinating various aspects of policy and law development, and working closely with council and council subcommittees to meet strategic plan objectives.

Adam has voluntarily served in various capacities, including economic development, community building, and more recently, supporting local climate action.

Contact Adam by email adam.nerger@waterloo.ca or call 226-750-1647.


Find resources to learn more

Race, gender, sexual orientation, ability and other aspects of identity impact everyone’s experience in daily life. Specifically there are disproportionately negative outcomes for members of equity-deserving groups and Indigenous peoples locally and across the globe. More generally, members of equity-deserving groups face systemic barriers to inclusion in all aspects of life. 

A surge of international and local movements have influenced and made headlines across the globe and our community over the last number of years. 

Regional studies and resources:

National and international movements:


Find local mental health and well-being resources

Find a list of local organizations and resources below that help support mental health and well-being needs. Areas of support include: 

  • mental health 
  • wellness 
  • 2SLGBTQ+ organizations 
  • counselling 
  • multicultural organizations 
  • Indigenous organizations 
  • disability organizations
Contact us if you have an update or addition to the list.

Local mental health and well-being organizations and resources

A | B | C | E | F | G | H | I | K | L | M | O | P | S | T | V | W | Y


A

Al-Anon and Alateen Waterloo Region 
Help and hope for families and friends of persons with an alcohol use disorder.


Anxiety Canada
Self-help resources, programs and services for children, youth, adults and educators to help people better understand and manage anxiety and find the relief they need.


Autism Ontario - Central West Region (Waterloo) 
A reliable source of information and support for all citizens who have a connection to autism, including families, children, adults, caregivers, support workers, and teachers. 


B

Boots on the Ground
Anonymous peer support for First Responders, including retirees.


Bounce Back Ontario
Free skill-building program managed by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), designed to help adults and youth (15+) manage low mood, mild to moderate depression and anxiety, stress or worry.


Breakwater Institute
Multidisciplinary organization providing specialized mental health services to those in high-stress occupations, including first responders, military members, veterans, and their families.


C

Cambridge Memorial Hospital (CMH) – Mental Health and Addictions Program
Provides trauma-informed and recovery-oriented care to individuals with mental health and addictions to Cambridge and North Dumfries residents.


Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) – Waterloo Wellington
Provides a full care system for those with addictions, mental health and developmental needs in Waterloo-Wellington, Ontario.


CaminoWellbeing + Mental Health
Specializes in children's mental health, youth engagement and development, family violence services, individual and family counselling, parental support and education, credit counselling, workplace resilience, settlement support and community wellness.


Community Living Cambridge
Supports people with developmental disabilities as they seek to realize their citizenship and aspirations, advocates for support, and serves nearly 350 people in their work, volunteer, recreation, social, and supported living needs.


Connex Ontario
Provincial service that aims to connect people in Ontario to mental health, addictions, and problem gambling services. Refer to HERE 24/7 if you live in Waterloo-Wellington.


E

Extend-A-Family Waterloo Region
Building partnerships, encouraging friendships and promoting a community that ensures the full rights of all individuals for families in Waterloo region who have a child with a disability living at home.


F

Family Care Centre – Parents for Children's Mental Health Waterloo Chapter (PCMH)
Resource hub for parents and caregivers of children and youth with mental illness from a volunteer group of parents who have used or are currently using the mental health services of Ontario and want to improve services and information in the Region.


Family Counselling Centre of Cambridge & North Dumfries (FCC)
Family counselling specializes in anxiety and depression; grief, loss and coping; youth in transition; and interpersonal relations.


Family and Children's Services of the Waterloo Region
Authorized under the Children, Youth and Family Services Act to respond to concerns about children in the Region and support families to get the help they need to care safely for their children at home. 


First Responders First
Offers resources and services for the First Responder community to understand the various steps of a PTSD program, from managing crisis through to implementing best practices into an existing program.


Front Door Mental Health
Starting point for accessing child and youth mental health services and supports in Waterloo Region — part of Lutherwood's mental health services.


Frontline Forward
A support and education wellness center focusing on frontline professionals to prevent and manage symptoms from PTSD and other occupational stress injuries.


G

Good 2 talk 
Provides professional, confidential and anonymous counselling and mental health support to post-secondary students within Ontario.


Grand River Hospital (GRH) Mental Health and Addictions
Supports patients of all ages with the goal of instilling hope and fostering recovery for people who have a mental illness as well as their families.


H

Here 24/7 
Your front door to addictions, mental health and crisis services provided by 11 partner agencies across Waterloo-Wellington. All you need to do is reach out, and Here 24/7 does the intake, assessment, referral, crisis, waitlist and appointment booking work for these important programs.


Hope Spring Cancer Support Centre 
Community-based organization committed to empowering those whose lives are impacted by cancer to improve their emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.


House of Friendship Addiction Treatment 
Committed to providing support to individuals with addiction.


Huron Perth Addiction and Mental Health Alliance 
Provides services to individuals with addiction and mental health needs, and their families, through the Huron and Perth communities.


I

IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery 
Offers treatment for successful recovery from substance abuse, PTSD and other co-occurring behavioural health issues exclusively for International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) members.


Interfaith Community Counselling Centre 
Strengthens the fabric of the community by empowering individuals, couples, and families to realize their emotional wellness and triumph over life's challenges.


K

KidsAbility Centre for Child Development 
Empowering children and youth with special needs to realize their full potential.


Kind Minds Family Wellness 
Counselling provided by licensed and trauma-informed professionals who are racially, culturally, and spiritually aligned with Black persons.


Kitchener Waterloo Alcoholics Anonymous 
A fellowship of people who share their experience, strength and hope so that they may solve their common problem and help others recover from alcoholism.


K-W Counselling Services 
Multi-service agency providing individual, family, group and outreach support to the community inspired by a deep commitment to social responsibility and optimism in the power of relationships.


K-W Multicultural Centre 
Provides specialized services to newcomers to Canada, including interpretation and translation, career advice, newcomer youth-focused education, settlement services and more.


L

Langs 
Committed to ensuring that every person will have a place to call home for health, wellness and community support in their neighbourhoods.


Lutherwood Children's Mental Health Services
Provides a range of services to assist children, youth and their families coping with mental health challenges.


M

Marigold Whole Life Centre 
Provides a holistic approach to mental health, considering the delicate balance within the body. Combines theological training with advanced training in psychology and psychotherapy to provide a whole-person approach to supporting people in reaching their health and wellness goals.


Mood Disorders Association for Waterloo Region 
Offers free support and recovery programs to people across Ontario living with depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder, including drop-in peer support groups, recovery programs, family and youth clinical support, and online tools.


Muslim Social Services Waterloo Region 
Offers spiritually and culturally sensitive humanitarian and social services to the Muslim and non-Muslim communities of Waterloo Region.


O

OK2BME 
Support services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning (LGBTQ) kids and teens in Waterloo Region.


P

Pioneer Youth Services 
Provides residential treatment for children and youth with severe emotional, mental health, developmental and behavioural needs.


S

Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region 
Provides support to survivors of sexual violence by listening, facilitating healing and celebrating resiliency.


Shalom Counselling Services 
Provides counselling and consultation for a broad range of concerns to people from all walks of life, backgrounds and belief systems.


Sikh Family Helpline 
Peer-to-peer non-emergency helpline service to the Sikh Community in Canada. Languages spoken: Punjabi and English. Call the helpline at 1-800-551-9128.


St. Mary's Counselling Services 
Private rehab centre specializing in treating mental health, substance, drug, and alcohol abuse. Call 519-745-2585.


Sunbeam Developmental Resource Centre 
Offers a range of professional and support services to individuals of all ages with a developmental disability and/or an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).


T

Talk4Healing 
Help, support and resources for Indigenous women, by Indigenous women, all across Ontario. Services are fully grounded in Indigenous culture, wisdom and tradition. Languages served: Oji-Cree, Cree, Algonquin, Inuktitut, Mohawk, Oneida, Odawa, Potawatomi, Micmac, Black Foot, Anishinaabe, Moose Cree, Swampy Cree, English. Call 1-855-554-HEAL(4325) toll-free and 24/7.


Talk Suicide Canada 
Non-judgmental services to reach when in crisis – experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviours. Call 1-833-456-4566 toll-free and 24/7. Text 45645 from 4 p.m. to midnight.


Telecare Cambridge Distress Centre
Provides emotional support, crisis and suicide intervention, community information and referrals. Call the crisis line at 519-658-5455.


The Delton Glebe Counselling Centre 
Not-for-profit, multi-faith counselling agency committed to strengthening emotional and spiritual well-being. Individual, children, and couples counselling. Art and play therapy are available.


Thresholds Home and Supports 
Recovery-oriented, community-integrated agency that focuses on improved quality of life and enhanced independence for people experiencing mental health issues by providing access to affordable housing and flexible, individualized support.


Together for Perinatal Mental Health 
Offers services to families struggling with perinatal mental health in Waterloo Region.


U

University of Waterloo Centre for Mental Health Research and Treatment 
Offers a full range of psychological services for children, adolescents, adults, and families from the area.


V

Victim Services of Waterloo Region 
Provides immediate crisis intervention, emotional support and referrals to individuals affected by crime and tragic circumstances.


W

Waterloo Region Family Network 
Provides resources and trusted voices for families with special needs in Waterloo Region, offering personal guidance and lifelong support.


Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council 
Community-based non-profit organization that aims to increase awareness of and engagement in suicide prevention to reduce suicide and its impact.


Wellness Together Canada 
Provides free resources for mental health and substance use support. If you are in distress, text WELLNESS to 741741 for adults or 686868 for youth.


Wilmot Family Resource Centre 
Responds to the needs of individuals and families within Wilmot and Wellesley communities through resident-centred planning and innovative programs, services and supports.


Wings of Change – Peer Support 
Peer support meetings across Canada directed to all First Responders, Law Enforcement Personnel, Correctional and Communications Officers, Members of the Military, Healthcare and Child Protection Providers, Animal, Funeral and Judicial Service Workers, along with any other professions who are exposed to work-related trauma.


Woolwich Counselling Centre 
Provides caring services of highly trained, registered therapists to help navigate life's challenges.


Wounded Warriors Canada 
Helping Canada's Veterans, First Responders, and their families feel safe, supported and understood.


Y

YMCA of Three Rivers - EarlyON Waterloo Region 
Committed to collaborating with community partners to provide welcoming, high-quality, play-based learning experiences for children, parents and caring adults.


Youth Line 
Confidential, non-judgmental and informed LGBTTQQ2SI peer support. Call 1-800-268-9688 or text 647-694-4275.


Contact the team

You can reach out to individual team members with contact information in their bios or send an email to diversityandinclusion@waterloo.ca or indigenousinitiatives@waterloo.ca.