Kitchener Matters! Here you'll find an overview of the issues that matter to Kitchener in the 2021 federal election.

We invite you to review these issues to see how decisions made in Ottawa impact our quality of life here in Kitchener. We hope this information helps with understanding the issues that matter to Kitchener, so you can make the best choice on voting day.

We encourage you to raise these matters with the local candidates you meet. Let’s work together to get Kitchener and Ontario on the national agenda.

Affordable housing 

We know the importance of strong and diverse neighbourhoods where residents can grow and thrive. That’s why Kitchener has approved our Housing For All strategy, an award-winning strategy that works to make housing across Kitchener more affordable. We know that housing is a vital component of economic growth and must be at the centre of an inclusive recovery.

Municipalities across Canada are proposing solutions to end chronic homelessness. The Rapid Housing Initiative has empowered municipalities and our community partners to provide supportive and affordable housing to Canadians experiencing chronic homelessness. That is why we are calling on the next federal government to continue to build on this success, and to empower municipalities to realize the right to housing by providing the necessary funding and resources to end homelessness and housing precarity in our communities.

Pandemic and local economic recovery

A strong local economy is the foundation for a good quality of life for all Kitchener residents and businesses. That’s why Kitchener approved our Make It Kitchener 2.0 Economic Development Strategy. This strategy works to provide immediate support for pandemic economic recovery, and a bold 10-year vision for economic development. 

We are looking to other orders of government to support our plan, and to continue to support our residents and businesses as the pandemic continues and eventually ends, allowing for recovery from COVID-19.

Climate change and resilience

Canadians are bearing the brunt of weather extremes. Just this summer, we’ve seen record-breaking heatwaves and devastating wildfires wreak havoc on homes, businesses and communities. That’s why Kitchener approved our Corporate Climate Action Plan. This plan lays out our goal of reducing corporate greenhouse gas emissions by eight per cent by 2026.  In 2020, our emissions actually fell well below that goal, more than 20 per cent below our benchmark year (2016). Looking longer term, we aim to reduce emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. Get the details in our Sustainability Report.

We are looking to other orders of government to support our plan by providing the right tools, like long-term predictable funding to support local climate mitigation and adaptation projects which would build more climate-resilient communities, today and for years to come.

Sustainable infrastructure

Municipalities are responsible for more than 60 per cent of community infrastructure. This includes roads and trails, hockey arenas and soccer fields, water pipes and sewers, and so much more. The Canada Community-Building Fund (formerly the “Federal Gas Tax Fund”), is an excellent economic stimulus and recovery tool. It directly and predictably provides municipalities with funding for infrastructure projects. 

That is why we are calling for a permanent doubling of this proven and reliable fund, to improve local infrastructure and drive post-COVID recovery.

Public transit

More and more, public transit is becoming the transportation backbone of our community. While vehicles and roads still play an important role for local residents and businesses, we know that significant investments in alternative modes of transportation will be needed in the years to come to support economic growth, create jobs, and reduce emissions.

Public transit ridership on Grand River Transit and ION decreased during the pandemic and is incurring significant operating losses. Despite this, many essential workers continue to rely on transit to get to work, which helped ensure everybody in our community continued to get the goods and services we all rely on. 

Transit ridership will take time to get back to pre-pandemic levels. That is why we are calling on all political parties and the next federal government to continue supporting public transit systems by providing funding to cover future operating losses. This will keep our economy moving forward during the pandemic and ensure a strong post-COVID economic recovery for all Canadians.

Protecting municipal frontline services

The past 18 months of the pandemic and lockdowns has shown that people, businesses, and governments are stronger when we work together. Our residents and businesses relied on front line municipal services more than ever during the pandemic, to protect all Canadians and help keep essential services going strong. Municipalities see the challenges for everyday people and businesses up close.  We know what’s needed and what works on the ground in our own communities. However, municipalities incurred significant revenue shortfalls and additional pandemic-related costs, and we couldn’t have got through the pandemic without federal and provincial operating funding support. We know that we will need to continue to work together and partner with other orders of government to get out of this pandemic and recover. 

That is why we are calling on the next federal government to continue to support municipalities, to cover future operating shortfalls. We are ready to work with our federal and provincial partners to ensure our residents and businesses come out this pandemic stronger than ever.

Federal election

Election day is Monday, September 20, 2021.