Kitchener matters! Here you'll find an overview of the issues that matter to Kitchener in the 2022 provincial election.

We invite you to review these issues to see how decisions made at Queen’s Park impact our quality of life here in Kitchener. We hope this information helps with understanding the issues that matter to Kitchener, the Region of Waterloo and municipalities across Ontario, so you can make the best choice on voting day.

We encourage you to raise these matters with the local candidates you meet and consider them before placing your “X” on the ballot on June 2. Let’s work together to get Kitchener on the provincial agenda.

Our message to all political parties: the City of Kitchener is ready to work with you to get the job done!

Housing affordability

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 Ontario are proposing solutions to increase housing supply, make renting and home ownership more affordable, and to end chronic homelessness for the most vulnerable in our communities.

That is why we are calling on the next provincial government to continue to work with and empower municipalities to realize the right to housing by providing the necessary funding and resources to increase housing supply, make housing more affordable, and provide the necessary supports for supportive housing.

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 also must ensure that we have an inclusive recovery that supports racialized, Indigenous, and newcomer communities, because we know these communities were disproportionally impacted by the pandemic.

That is why we are calling on the next provincial government to support our strategy, and to continue to support our residents and businesses as the pandemic continues and eventually ends, allowing for recovery from COVID-19.

Protecting municipal taxpayers and frontline services

The past 2 years of the pandemic and lockdowns has shown that people, businesses, and governments are stronger when we work together.  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.  Our residents and businesses relied on front line municipal services more than ever during the pandemic, to protect all Ontarians and help keep essential services going strong. 

However, municipalities incurred significant revenue shortfalls and additional pandemic-related costs, and we couldn’t have got through the pandemic without federal and provincial transit and non-transit operating funding support.  We know that we will need to continue to work together and partner with the federal and provincial governments to get out of this pandemic and recover. 

That is why we are calling on the next provincial government to continue to support municipalities by covering current and future transit and non-transit operating shortfalls.  We are ready to work with other orders of government to ensure our residents and businesses come out this pandemic stronger than ever.

Transit and transportation

More and more, public transit and alternative modes of transportation are becoming the backbone of our community.  We know that significant investments in public transit such as Two-Way All-Day GO rail service to Kitchener, as well as other infrastructure such as cycling networks and trails, will be needed in the years to come to support job creation and reduce emissions.

Vehicles and roads still play an important role for local residents and businesses. Projects such as the Highway 7 and 401 expansions, and implementing the Greater Golden Horseshoe Transportation Plan will be critical in improving transportation between Kitchener with the GTHA, reducing gridlock, and increasing productivity.

That is why we are calling on the next provincial government to continue investing and supporting the completion of significant transit and transportation infrastructure, such as Two-Way All-Day GO rail service to Kitchener, and the Highway 7 expansion between Kitchener and Guelph. These investments will grow the local and provincial economy.

Hospitals and healthcare

Good health is the foundation for our residents to do everything they need and want to do, like earning an income and enjoying leisure activities with family and friends. But having healthy people is also important for a strong economy and resilient communities. For our part, the City of Kitchener is committing $8.5 million to the new Health Innovation Arena in downtown Kitchener. This Innovation Arena will fast track discovery, testing and product development for new healthcare technology. With both an aging and growing population, additional investments and funding in healthcare and hospitals will be critical now and well into the future.

That is why we are calling on the next provincial government to plan and invest in increasing healthcare infrastructure and services for our area, whether for hospitals, mental health and addiction, or for the general overall health of residents in our community.

Mental health and addiction

Mental health and addiction issues are complex and will require an all-of-government and cross-sector community collaboration.  Tackling these issues includes continuing to build more affordable and supportive housing, as well as providing greater investment in mental health treatment centres and wrap-around services. We know from work done by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, that for every $10 invested in supportive housing, we save $21.72 in other costs for the most complex individuals. By making these investments, we will ensure people who are struggling get the health and rehabilitation services they need, instead of going in and out of the justice system and emergency rooms. 

That is why we are calling on the next provincial government to create and implement an integrated and comprehensive response to mental health and addiction issues in terms of services, supports, prevention and equitable access.

Infrastructure

Municipalities in Ontario are responsible for more than 60 per cent of community infrastructure, worth nearly half a trillion dollars. This includes roads and trails, hockey arenas and soccer fields, water pipes and sewers, and so much more. All of which require regular maintenance, modernization, and reinvestment.

That is why we are calling on the next provincial government to continue working with municipalities and provide funding to invest and modernize infrastructure.

Climate change and resilience

Canadians are bearing the brunt of weather extremes. 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, all 8 municipalities in Waterloo region have approved TransformWR, which is our collective community plan to reach the Paris targets and reduce emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. Get more details in our Sustainability Report.

That is why we are calling on the next provincial government to support our plans 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.

Provincial election

Election day is Thursday, June 2, 2022