Our vision is "Together we will build an innovative, caring and vibrant Kitchener." Shaping that vision into a strategic plan started with listening to our community through our Compass Kitchener advisory committee and public engagement. Five key themes emerged, which became our strategic goals.

On this page:

  1. Plan with us, Kitchener!
  2. 2021 Strategic Plan update
  3. Plan overview
  4. Strategic goals and actions
  5. United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
  6. Annual business plan
  7. Accountability

Plan with us, Kitchener!

Kitchener’s strategic plan is our community’s shared vision for the future of Kitchener. We’re working on our 2023-2026 strategic plan and are thrilled that many residents have contributed, and continue to contribute, to the planning process.

In November 2022, planning entered its next major stage of community participation.

Following a telephone survey of more than 1,000 residents in early 2022, we conducted broader and deeper listening to identify 10 things residents want us to keep in mind while drafting the plan. See the full list at engagekitchener.ca.

In addition, we recruited an all-new, 40-person Plan WITH Us Kitchener Resident Panel. The diverse panellists were selected randomly based on demographic attributes requested from all applicants to closely mirror the actual demographics of the community.

The panel is working with city staff and the Compass Kitchener Citizen Advisory Committee to create a draft strategic plan.

In spring 2023, after the resident panel has completed its work, we will share the draft plan widely with Kitchener residents. The draft plan will go to city council for discussion, refinement, and final approval is expected in June 2023.

Stay up to date with the progress of the city’s strategic plan, learn the latest developments and register for updates at engagekitchener.ca.

Subscribe to this page to get an email when we add updates about the strategic planning process and future opportunities to get involved.

2021 Strategic Plan update

In December 2021, our Compass Kitchener advisory committee said we have met or exceeded their expectations as we deliver on our strategic projects that are part of the 2019-2022 Strategic Plan.

Watch the video below for a summary or read our media release for more information.

Plan overview

Our 2019-2022 Strategic Plan is our community’s plan. It was created through extensive consultation with the people who live here. 

When we consulted with residents, community organizations, businesses and councillors, we heard the same five priorities from every group. Those priorities became our strategic goals:

  • people-friendly transportation
  • vibrant economy
  • caring community
  • environmental leadership
  • great customer service

We want to thank everyone who had a hand in creating our strategic plan:

  • Compass Kitchener
  • our citizen advisory committees
  • staff from all levels of the city
  • every resident and stakeholder who provided us with their feedback

Your commitment and investment in our city is part of what makes our community the best place to live, work and play.

Strategic goals

People-friendly transportation

Our goal is to transform how people move through the city by making the transportation network safe, convenient, comfortable and connected.


  • develop a set of Complete Streets (safe and comfortable) guidelines and an associated evaluation scorecard by 2020 to apply to roadway construction projects (complete)
  • encourage and incentivize alternative modes of transportation by developing and subsidizing a bikeshare program by 2021
  • install a continuous and protected cycling network that connects adjacent neighbourhoods to the downtown by 2022
  • improve connectivity and year-round maintenance to multi-use trails and pathways as prioritized through the Cycling and Trails Master Plan with an initial target of providing year-round access to a minimum of an additional 3 km of existing trails by 2022
  • develop a plan to create pedestrian-first streets between Victoria Park and City Hall and between the ION and Kitchener Market by 2022

Environmental leadership

Our goal is to achieve a healthy and livable community by mitigating and adapting to climate change and by conserving natural resources.


  • launch and implement a Corporate Climate Action Plan by 2019 to achieve an absolute greenhouse gas emission reduction of at least 8% by 2026 (complete, see staff report)
  • starting in 2019, leverage the Energy Efficiency Reserve Fund and other resources to reduce consumption and emissions at our facilities and in our operations (complete)
  • develop a Community Climate Action Plan with partner organizations by 2020 (complete)
  • implement the Sustainable Urban Forest Strategy with a focus on establishing a tree canopy target by 2020 (complete) and the 2018 tree planting backlog eliminated by 2022
  • reduce waste sent to landfills by implementing new waste diversion programs at our facilities and events by 2021

Vibrant economy

Our goal is to build a vibrant city by making strategic investments to support job creation, economic prosperity, thriving arts and culture, and great places to live.


  • complete a new Urban Design Manual by 2019 that expresses city building and design expectations to ensure vibrant new development throughout Kitchener (complete)
  • foster the creation of a citywide network of incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces by completing the build-out of 44 Gaukel in 2019 (complete), advancing work on a Creative Hub and undertaking business cases in 2019-2021 for the food, manufacturing and health/med-tech industries.
  • develop the Make it Kitchener 2.0 Strategy by 2020 with a focus on transformative actions to ensure the attraction, success and retention of diverse businesses, talent, and arts/culture across the city (complete)
  • complete a comprehensive city-owned property review by 2020 to determine how they could be effectively used to advance city strategic objectives
  • develop a vision for downtown Kitchener and continue to position downtown Kitchener as a leading destination for redevelopment opportunities, with at least one new city-owned property brought to market by 2020 and finalize Innovation District (Bramm Yards) Master Plan by 2021 and the Civic District Master Plan by 2022

Caring community

Our goal is to enhance people’s sense of belonging and connection by providing welcoming community spaces and programs; better engaging, serving and supporting our diverse populations and helping to make housing affordable.


  • create a comprehensive Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy by 2020 to combat systemic barriers to full economic and social participation in the city
  • create an Affordable Housing Strategy for Kitchener by 2020 in collaboration with the Region of Waterloo, community groups and the development industry (complete)
  • reduce social stigmas experienced by those living with mental illness and addiction in our community through staff training and supporting the creation of appropriate safe consumption and treatment facilities in Kitchener (complete)
  • better utilize existing facilities, provide offer relevant programming at community centres, support the equitable distribution of leisure programs and resources across neighbourhoods; start the expansion of the Mill Courtland Community Centre by 2020 (complete), start the Rosenberg Community Centre by 2021 and complete the Huron Brigadoon Community Centre and an Open Space Strategy by 2021
  • engage a broad cross-section of the community, including the arts and creative industry sector and multi-cultural communities to develop a new and inclusive Arts and Culture Plan by 2021

Great customer service

Our goal is to increase people’s satisfaction, trust and engagement with the city by providing friendly, easy and convenient services.


  • provide on-demand customer service support in many languages through the Corporate Contact Centre by 2020
  • introduce a corporate-wide Customer Satisfaction Program that will allow for the collection of real-time feedback from customers accessing city facilities, programs and services by 2020
  • enhance customer experience online by delivering customized information, providing easy access to services, and allowing financial transactions by 2021
  • set clearly communicated and specific service levels for frequently asked about or accessed city services, including tree maintenance, parking, property standards complaints, snow clearing and grass cutting by 2022
  • implement a comprehensive Customer Experience Review Program to help ensure services are easy and convenient to access from the customer’s perspective by 2022

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

At the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015, world leaders from Canada and other member states adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality, confront injustice and tackle climate change by 2030.

The UN SDGs outline the ways to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. Based on leading global research, input from politicians across the globe and hundreds of non-governmental organizations including United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), the SDGs identify key factors that contribute to prosperity, inclusion and sustainability.

We’re committed to working with the Government of Canada in embracing the 2030 Agenda and to supporting the implementation of the SDGs in Canada and internationally.

The SDGs are global, but with a local lens, we can do our part to contribute to their success. All the SDGs have targets related to the responsibilities of local and regional governments, particularly to our role in delivering direct services and programs.

Each of the 25 action statements within the 2019-2022 strategic plan connect to at least one of the SDGs.

Annual business plan

Staff develop the annual business plan with direction from council and guidance of the corporate leadership team. The business plan highlights the core service work of each department and projects to be achieved. The projects include actions that advance the goals of the strategic plan and other significant projects that reflect council priorities.

View the current business plan and business plan progress updates.


We’re committed to being accountable to the community we serve. The 2019-2022 strategic plan includes measurable, specific actions and a timeline for completion. Our long-term financial plan, budgets and annual business plans will be aligned to implement the strategic plan.

We will measure and report on our progress to council and the public throughout the life of this plan. Our Compass Kitchener Citizen Advisory Committee will review and assess our progress, and publicly report on an annual basis how we’re doing.

Subscribe to this page to get emails about our progress and when we post a new progress update.

Progress updates

Visit our progress update page to see an overview of our progress across all 25 actions or download a detailed update from the list below.