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Age-friendly Waterloo

A man and woman in a forest

The City of Waterloo is an age-friendly city, where people of all ages thrive and grow.

Our commitment to age friendliness was recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO), which designated Waterloo among the Global Network of Age-friendly Cities in 2012 for our commitment to assessing and improving our age-friendliness.

To receive this designation, the city's age-friendly Waterloo multi-agency committee established a mechanism to include older people, developed and administered a baseline assessment tool of the age-friendliness of our city and developed a city-wide action plan based on the findings. Our WHO membership is contingent upon demonstrating continual improvement. The committee and city staff are working in partnership with Dr. John Lewis of the University of Waterloo to continually assess and improve our age-friendliness.

Membership in this network has such advantages as connecting us to a global network of aging experts, facilitating collaborative activities and providing guidance on developing and implementing age-friendly approaches, among others.

Nominations are now being accepted for Waterloo's Senior of the Year

Do you know someone in our community who is 65 years of age or older and has contributed on a voluntary basis to the enhancement of life in Waterloo? If you do, please consider nominating this volunteer for the City of Waterloo Senior of the Year award. The recipient of this prestigious award will be recognized at a special presentation ceremony in June, 2018 during a regularly-scheduled city council meeting. Deadline for nominations is March 31, 2018. For more information, please review the nomination process and eligibility criteria. To nominate an individual, complete this nomination form and mail or deliver it to: 

Waterloo Senior of the Year Award
c/o Wing 404 Rotary Adult Centre and Adult Recreation Centre
510 Dutton Drive
Waterloo, ON  N2J 4A8 

Additional information about age-friendly Waterloo

The age-friendly Waterloo multi-agency committee works to ensure that residents age safely, enjoy good health and participate fully in their World Health Organization designated age-friendly Waterloo. What follows are the outcomes of this work.

Ontario Age-friendly Community Recognition Award

On March 26, 2018, the City of Waterloo received the 2018 Ontario Age-friendly Community Recognition Award from the Province of Ontario. This award celebrates the work of Ontario municipalities who strive to be age-friendly and who showcase promising practices across the province. Waterloo, along with neighbouring cities, Kitchener and Cambridge received this award for being communities characterized by accessible, inclusive environments, both physical and social, that enable seniors to live independent, healthy and active, safe and socially connected lives. Communities selected for this award demonstrate a strong commitment to key principles of creating age-friendliness, including engagement with local seniors, collaboration with a diversity of community partners and significant impact on the local community.  

Older adult housing

One of the recommendations from the committee's action plan was to develop an older adult housing directory. In addition to basic information about older adult housing such as contact details, cost, number of units, unit sizes and level of care available, this directory also provides information about amenities provided at each location and in the surrounding neighbourhoods.

In the January, 2017 issue of SHOWbiz, Supportive Housing of Waterloo's newsletter, the organization cited their new nine-unit affordable apartment building for seniors and prematurely aged adults, as supporting a key need identified by the age friendly Waterloo forum - increasing the stock of affordable housing for seniors.  The apartment building will be located at 402 Erb Street. To view the complete article visit the supportive Housing of Waterloo website.

Elder abuse

On June 15, 2017, the Elder Abuse Prevention Council and the Age-Friendly Waterloo Multi-Agency Committee co-hosted a free lunch and learn about the role of inclusion in elder abuse prevention. This event celebrated World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and included guest speakers Jean Becker, Senior Advisor: Aboriginal Initiatives, Wilfrid Laurier University and Kathy Hogarth, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, Renison University College, University of Waterloo.

The annual mayor's forum on age-friendly Waterloo

Nov. 24, 2017: City of Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworsky and the Age-friendly Waterloo Multi-agency committee l explored the benefits of life-long learning. Residents learned about community educational programs through presentations and at pop-up booths hosted by local educators, the City of Waterloo and the Waterloo Public Library staff and leaders. For more information, view the summary report for this, the 9th annual mayor's age-friendly forum.

Dec. 2, 2016: At this year's forum, residents learned about the committee's new structure and how the age-friendly lens enables active aging, builds cultural sensitivity and combats ageism. For more information view the summary report.

Nov. 20, 2015: This year's forum was themed Ageing Across the Spectrum and included representation from  elementary, high school and post-secondary students in a discussion about accessibility and outdoor spaces, housing, transportation, respect and social inclusion. For more information view the summary report.

Nov. 24, 2014: A summary report of the event highlights the continued need for social inclusion, more affordable and centrally located housing, better accessibility, both in terms of the built environment and services, as well as more age appropriate channels of communication.

More information and resources

  • The terms of reference provide more information on about the city's age-friendly Waterloo multi-agency committee.
  • The committee made this presentation to council in January 2012 on the occasion of the City of Waterloo being designated an age-friendly city.
  • On June 24, 2013, the Mayor's advisory committee for age-friendly Waterloo presented to council a summary report of their work to date along with a recommended action plan for continuing to develop the city as a sustainable, age-friendly community.
  • On September 30, 2013, city staff submitted a report to council regarding the action plan recommendations and the status of the recommendations at that point in time.
  • October 1, 2014, marked the launch of the World Health Organization's website, Age-friendly World. Many cities and communities are taking active steps towards becoming more age-friendly. This website provides more information about these communities, including Waterloo, in the section on the WHO Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities.
  • wwhealthline.ca is an online directory of health and community services that puts accurate and up-to-date information  at the fingertips of consumers and health professionals across Waterloo-Wellington. It's maintained by the Waterloo Wellington Community Care Access Centre.