Strategic plan

We create a new strategic plan every four years to match with council’s term. It identifies our top priorities and how we work towards accomplishing our goals and objectives.

On this page

  1. 2023 to 2026 strategic plan
  2. 2019 to 2022 strategic plan
  3. Past strategic plans
  4. Progress reports

2023 to 2026 strategic plan

The city is currently working on the 2023 to 2026 strategic plan and we are looking for your participation on how to shape our city's future.

Please provide your feedback online through our public consultation process.

View our 2023 strategic plan engagement page

2019 to 2022 strategic plan

Nearly 11,000 members of our community including residents, business and education leaders, city council, post-secondary students and city staff provided input into this strategic plan. Their feedback was collected through telephone interviews, online surveys, workshops and in-person discussions. From this extensive consultation, six strategic pillars, 19 objectives and updated mission and vision statements emerged, all of which provide a common focus for council and staff to guide decision-making over the next four years.

View our 2022 progress report to see how our Strategic Plan is coming to life.

Corporate mission

The Corporation of the City of Waterloo is committed to supporting sustainable growth, equity, and an inclusive, vibrant community through the delivery of service excellence. We are supported in this effort through a team of volunteers, staff and elected officials that share a commitment to fiscal responsibility, healthy and safe workplace, effective engagement, and personal leadership.

Community vision

Waterloo is an equitable community that leads the world in learning, discovery and caring

Guiding principles

Equity and inclusion

We work to ensure a sense of belonging, acceptance and value for all in our community. 

The aim of equity is to ensure that everyone has access to equal opportunity and benefits. This principle recognizes that treating everyone equitably requires an acknowledgement of unique circumstances and taking steps to eliminate systemic barriers. An inclusive city is one that recognizes and values differences and diversity in planning, decision-making, and service delivery.


All actions and decisions are evaluated through a lens of environmental, social and economic sustainability. 

Sustainability refers to the concept of meeting present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainability considers environmental impact as well as impact on social and economic resources. 

Fiscal responsibility

We will act in accordance with good governance best practices to ensure effective management of our financial resources.

Fiscal responsibility entails operating within a framework of policies and processes intended to improve fiscal outcomes and support longer-term financial health, in an environment of transparency and objective measurement.

Healthy and safe workplace

We are committed to providing a healthy and safe work environment for all employees and volunteers of the municipality.

A healthy and safe workplace begins with a commitment to offer an environment that promotes a sense of physical and psychological wellbeing, a sense of personal accomplishment that comes from a job well done, and recognition of contribution to the corporate vision.

Effective engagement

Through diverse communication and outreach efforts we will ensure our community is informed of and has the opportunity to be engaged in conversations and decisions that shape our community.

Effective engagement is the result of an ongoing commitment to dialogue, transparency and the development of strong relationships that are grounded in trust and open communication. Effective engagement seeks to engage people who might not otherwise get involved. It is accessible to people of all abilities and backgrounds and helps to build a sense of ownership and contribution to the community.

Personal leadership

Employees and volunteers of the City of Waterloo are supported to demonstrate personal leadership in the performance of their role.

Personal Leadership is exemplified by agents of positive change who are passionate about growing themselves and those around them to achieve success. The City of Waterloo is committed to supporting its employees and volunteers to develop and demonstrate the qualities of leadership that enhance effectiveness, efficiency and the delivery of service excellence.

Service excellence

We are committed to providing exceptional service that meets the needs of citizens, stakeholders, employees and volunteers of the city.

Through a commitment to service excellence, the City of Waterloo will create and reinforce an internal and external culture that is founded on responsiveness and is customer centric. Embedded in this principle are service standards, performance measurements and a commitment to continuous improvement.

Strategic goals and objectives

Equity, inclusion and a sense of belonging - strengthen Waterloo as a diverse and inclusive community.

In creating a city that supports a strong sense of belonging and access to opportunity for all, we recognize that our operations, programs and approach to service delivery should consider circumstances and solutions to respond to systemic barriers.


  1. Implement strategies and tactics that strengthen the engagement of diverse and marginalized populations, and all ages, and support an enhanced sense of belonging within the community.
  2. Incorporate best practices to maximize inclusion within all city business, operations, and service delivery.
  3. Address the needs of an aging population through responsive development, programming, and communication strategies.
  4. Focus on the economic disparity in our community by ensuring our work considers the impacts of this gap.
  5. Respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action for municipalities.

Sustainability and the environment - transform Waterloo to be an environmentally, economically and socially sustainable community.

The City of Waterloo is committed to environmental, economic and social sustainability. It recognizes its leadership role in minimizing its environmental impact, prudently managing financial resources considering current and future needs; and creating processes, systems, and relationships that promote social sustainability and actively contribute to healthy and livable communities.


  1. Apply a sustainability lens on all services and projects.
  2. Enable bold local actions to address the climate change crisis.

Safe, sustainable transportation - improve all modes of transportation to make Waterloo more mobile, accessible & connected.

Safe, sustainable transportation exists when all users and all modes of transportation are able to share roadways and trail systems safely; when traffic speeds respect the safety of the community; when policy and planning supports the development and maintenance of sustainable infrastructure; and when more residents are able to rely on sustainable modes of transportation such as public transit or active transportation to get where they need to go.


  1. Adopt Vision Zero practices and tactics to enable safe travel by all modes of transportation.
  2. To facilitate a modal shift, enable increased use of active transportation and public transit.

Healthy community & resilient neighbourhoods - position Waterloo as a strong and resilient community.

Investing in the capacity of people to work together to resolve challenges and maximize opportunities helps to build healthy, resilient neighbourhoods that collectively form our community. The city is committed to continuously creating and improving physical, cultural and social environments and to enhancing resources to foster collaboration, community pride, healthy neighbourhoods and a strong community.


  1. Increase the amount of affordable housing in the city.
  2. Create and maintain safe, accessible and vibrant public spaces that promote opportunities for diverse use.
  3. Support the arts and culture community to enhance Waterloo’s quality of place.

Infrastructure renewal - focus on infrastructure needs through effective planning and engagement.

Careful, future-focused planning ensures that the city can respond to infrastructure needs today and into the future; ensuring that the city maintains existing infrastructure, while planning for new growth and development.


  1. Optimize usage and efficiency of existing facilities and assets.
  2. Dedicate appropriate resources to plan, renew and maintain existing infrastructure.
  3. Develop engagement strategies that effectively communicate and balance community priorities with operational and financial realities.
  4. Address the infrastructure deficit.

Economic growth & development - foster a robust and diversified economy.

The goal of economic growth and development is to create a diverse economy that works for all, where all can work. The city is committed to placing emphasis on fostering job growth that maximizes opportunities within the local labour market through the provision of employment that aligns supply and demand.


  1. Actively attract and nurture innovation among businesses to fuel a diverse economy.
  2. Align economic development and job growth with community development objectives that address economic disparity.
  3. Celebrate the connection with education partners to fully leverage growth opportunities.

Full strategic plan report

You can read the full strategic plan report (PDF) that was approved by council on June 24, 2019.

Past strategic plans

Past strategic plans are available upon request. (PDF)

If you require a document in an alternate format, contact 519-747-6064 TTY (for deaf) 1-866-786-3941 or