Community Improvement Plan (CIP)

Eligible property owners and tenants in the uptown area can receive grants for various renovation projects.

Contact the Economic Development Office at 519-465-5501 or cip@waterloo.ca to learn more.


On this page:

  1. City-wide COVID-relief
  2. Uptown façade improvement grant
  3. Year-round grants

City-wide COVID-relief

Businesses across the City of Waterloo can apply for grants to recover COVID-19 related expenses dating back to March 2020. Receive up to $2,500 for small to medium sized businesses or up to $7,500 for large venues.

Examples of qualifying expenses are:

  • upgrades that allowed your business to meet physical distancing measures, such as signs, plexiglass or floor markings
  • physical changes that allowed for safe operation of your business, such as automatic doors or touchless faucets
  • enhancements to improve ventilation and air quality, such as air purifiers or changes to windows and doors
  • construction or expansion of outdoor patios
  • upgrading technology infrastructure, such as contactless payment terminals or upgrading internet connections

Expenses may not have been reimbursed through another program. Other expenses may be eligible. Contact the Economic Development team if you have questions about expense types.

You may be eligible if you meet these criteria:

  • your business is in the City of Waterloo
  • you have a valid business licence if required and comply with zoning bylaws
  • as of January 1 2020 you have had no more than 80 employees, full or part-time OR no more than 90 employees if your business is in food services
  • you are able to show a 30% reduction in gross revenue over 6 months between March 17 to December 31, 2020 compared to 2019 (such as on HST or corporate income tax returns)
  • qualify as a "Large Venue Applicant" if you have a large event space or venue that contains proven capacity for 200+ persons
  • in good financial standing with the city

The Economic Development team is here to help! Call them at 519-465-5501 or email cip@waterloo.ca if you have questions about whether you qualify or need help to apply. Download the full CIP and program requirements (PDF) for details about eligibility.

Before you apply collect the following documents

Mandatory documents are:

  • copy of drawings/permits/photos of completed work
  • copy of receipts or documentation to show completed work
  • HST/corporate income tax returns for any six month period between 2019 to 2020 to show 30% reduction in gross revenue

Business specific documents are:

  • articles of incorporation or business registration
  • lease agreement if business opened after March 17 2020
  • owner authorization letter if business operator does not own building

Process to apply

  1. Register or sign-in to the mypermits application at the link below. Note – this application is not Internet Explorer compatible.
  2. Click “COVID” on the top menu.
  3. Click “Apply for Grant”.
  4. Fill out the online form.
  5. Upload the supporting and business specific documents and submit.

Apply for the CIP grant


Uptown façade improvement grant

The purpose of the grant is to:

  • to improve appearance of streetscape and buildings, and conserve heritage features
  • city and UpTown BIA grants are matched to funding from the applicant
  • heritage designation grant does not require matching funds
Grant type Regular property Corner property
Matching grant from city Up to $10,000 Up to $15,000
Additional grant for designated heritage properties $5,000 $5,000

Application process

  1. Book a pre-application meeting with economic development officer by phone at 519-747-8530 or email to cip@waterloo.ca
  2. Following the meeting, download and complete an application form (PDF).
  3. Submit your application form by the specified deadline to cip@waterloo.ca (a scanned copy of the application form is accepted).

If you need support applying via email, contact 519-747-8530 or cip@waterloo.ca

After work is complete you are required to provide documentation. Staff will review it and issue payment for complete submissions within two to three weeks. 


Year-round grants

  • intended for large re-urbanization projects over 5,000 sq. ft. that create new floor space for affordable housing units and/or non-residential uses that include an office employment component
  • provides a tax increment grant equal to a portion or full amount of the estimated property tax increase after the property is redeveloped and reassessed
  • additional incentives will be provided for developments that include heritage conservation and/or sustainable building design and construction

Major activity grant matrix

As-built project achieves a minimum of 5,000 sq. ft. requirements: Amount of grant as percent of municipal tax increment associated with employment use Duration of grant
Level 1 - building floor area for office employment has a minimum floor space ratio 1.0 80% six years

Level 2 - building floor area for office employment has a minimum floor space ratio 1.0 with:

  • designated heritage resource
  • achieves LEED certification or other sustainable design/construction standards recognized by the city
90% eight years

Level 3 - building floor area for office employment has a minimum floor space ratio 1.0 with:

  • designated heritage resource
  • achieves LEED certification or other sustainable design/construction standards recognized by the city
100% 10 years

Affordable housing uses matrix

As-built project achieves a minimum of 5,000 sq. ft. requirements: Amount of grant as percent of municipal tax increment associated with employment use Duration of grant
Level 1 - minimum of 10% of residential units provided in a residential or mixed-use building are affordable as defined by this CIP, with no fewer than 10 affordable residential units 50% six years

Level 2 - minimum of 10% of residential units provided in a residential or mixed-use building are affordable as defined by this CIP, with no fewer than 10 affordable residential units and:

  • designated heritage resource
  • achieves LEED certification or other sustainable design/construction standards recognized by the city
50% eight years

Level 3 - minimum of 10% of residential units provided in a residential or mixed-use building are affordable as defined by this CIP, with no fewer than 10 affordable residential units and:

  • designated heritage resource
  • achieves LEED certification or other sustainable design/construction standards recognized by the city
50% 10 years

Parking exemptions program

  • program will facilitate small scale non-residential building conversions and expansions
  • emphasis on office expansions or changes in use where the developer is unable to provide the on-site parking as required by the city's zoning bylaw

Application process

To begin the application process, book a pre-application meeting with economic development officer by phone at 519-465-5501 or email to cip@waterloo.ca.