Welcome to Smart Waterloo Region’s information hub!

Did you know we have a one in five chance of winning $50 million to improve child and youth well-being in Waterloo region? That's right, we've been shortlisted in the Federal Government's Smart Cities Challenge!

This Smart Waterloo Region (SWR) information hub has everything you need to know about our project and how to help us win.

To win, we need to be the best community in Canada for kids! Help us by: spreading the word, sharing your ideas, sharing your tech talents, attending a meeting or recommending a youth with good ideas. We plan to use them. Stay informed by subscribing to SWR updates below. For a bit of background, check out our Project Updates.


Our Focus: Healthy Children and Youth

It’s official, after months of gathering public input, we’ve selected our challenge area: Healthy children and youth!

Our Challenge Statement

Narrowing our focus, our project will address child and youth well-being in Waterloo Region. Our challenge statement sums up our approach:

We will become the benchmark community in Canada for child and youth well-being by using early intervention, youth engagement and a connected-community framework to create adaptive, data-driven programs and scalable learning technologies that improve early child development, mental health and high school graduation rates.


We’ll be launching new engagement activities every other week. Be sure to subscribe (along the sidebar) to receive updates and notices when new activities have been posted.

Remember to follow us on Twitter: @SmartWatRegion and Instagram: @SmartWatRegion, and to use the hashtag #SmartWR.

Did you know we have a one in five chance of winning $50 million to improve child and youth well-being in Waterloo region? That's right, we've been shortlisted in the Federal Government's Smart Cities Challenge!

This Smart Waterloo Region (SWR) information hub has everything you need to know about our project and how to help us win.

To win, we need to be the best community in Canada for kids! Help us by: spreading the word, sharing your ideas, sharing your tech talents, attending a meeting or recommending a youth with good ideas. We plan to use them. Stay informed by subscribing to SWR updates below. For a bit of background, check out our Project Updates.


Our Focus: Healthy Children and Youth

It’s official, after months of gathering public input, we’ve selected our challenge area: Healthy children and youth!

Our Challenge Statement

Narrowing our focus, our project will address child and youth well-being in Waterloo Region. Our challenge statement sums up our approach:

We will become the benchmark community in Canada for child and youth well-being by using early intervention, youth engagement and a connected-community framework to create adaptive, data-driven programs and scalable learning technologies that improve early child development, mental health and high school graduation rates.


We’ll be launching new engagement activities every other week. Be sure to subscribe (along the sidebar) to receive updates and notices when new activities have been posted.

Remember to follow us on Twitter: @SmartWatRegion and Instagram: @SmartWatRegion, and to use the hashtag #SmartWR.

  • Help us win $50 million - sign our youth petition today!

    25 days ago
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    We need your help to win $50 million!

    As our application deadline draws near, we're calling on all young people (18 or younger) to show their support for our Smart Waterloo Region project by signing our youth petition. Together, we will improve child and youth well-being in Waterloo region!

    Lend your support in two easy steps:

    1. Sign our petition today: https://bit.ly/2Hnd0yD, and
    2. Share our petition with your friends or on social media!

    We need your help to win $50 million!

    As our application deadline draws near, we're calling on all young people (18 or younger) to show their support for our Smart Waterloo Region project by signing our youth petition. Together, we will improve child and youth well-being in Waterloo region!

    Lend your support in two easy steps:

    1. Sign our petition today: https://bit.ly/2Hnd0yD, and
    2. Share our petition with your friends or on social media!

  • Smart Waterloo Region Youth Forum

    about 2 months ago
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    Calling all young folks in Waterloo Region - we want to hear from you!

    Waterloo Region has been shortlisted in a national Smart Cities Challenge, with a one in five chance of winning $50 million. Our project focuses on improving the well-being of children and youth. To win, we need ideas and input from youth (11-18 years of age)!

    Join us on January 12th for our Youth Forum co-designed for local youth, by youth - so you know it will be fun! The day will be filled with exciting activities, conversations and games. All of the activities are designed...

    Calling all young folks in Waterloo Region - we want to hear from you!

    Waterloo Region has been shortlisted in a national Smart Cities Challenge, with a one in five chance of winning $50 million. Our project focuses on improving the well-being of children and youth. To win, we need ideas and input from youth (11-18 years of age)!

    Join us on January 12th for our Youth Forum co-designed for local youth, by youth - so you know it will be fun! The day will be filled with exciting activities, conversations and games. All of the activities are designed to make sure your voice is heard!

    Complete with food, prizes, giveaways, and the chance to make new friends - come out and share your thoughts and feedback on how to make Waterloo Region THE BEST community in Canada for young people!

    Register here: https://bit.ly/2rRPRdb

  • Help create ideas using our Idea Toolkit

    2 months ago
    Idea toolkit

    Ideas are found everywhere, and everyone has meaningful ideas to share! We want to hear all of the wonderful and insightful ideas children and youth have to offer!

    Our new Idea Toolkit has been designed for people who work or spend time with children and youth. Made to engage children ages 4 and up, our toolkit includes instructions about how to help collect ideas, share feedback and host fun conversations!

    Not sure how to get a conversation started? We've got you covered! Check out our quick online tutorial here! Be sure to share your feedback on our website...

    Ideas are found everywhere, and everyone has meaningful ideas to share! We want to hear all of the wonderful and insightful ideas children and youth have to offer!

    Our new Idea Toolkit has been designed for people who work or spend time with children and youth. Made to engage children ages 4 and up, our toolkit includes instructions about how to help collect ideas, share feedback and host fun conversations!

    Not sure how to get a conversation started? We've got you covered! Check out our quick online tutorial here! Be sure to share your feedback on our website here.

    Help us generate ideas to make our community the best in Canada for young people!

  • Start a conversation with our Conversation Toolkit!

    3 months ago
    Toolkit
    Conversations raise awareness. Awareness builds momentum. Momentum drives change.

    The goal of this conversation toolkit is to support people to have insightful, important conversations that will deepen their understanding of child and youth well-being and foster behaviour change.

    We want more people thinking and talking about child and youth well-being in our community—which we believe starts with a conversation. Use the prompts within the Conversation Toolkit to spark a conversation with friends, family, colleagues, new friends or complete strangers.

    Connect to share an interesting part of your conversation in any of these ways:

    Conversations raise awareness. Awareness builds momentum. Momentum drives change.

    The goal of this conversation toolkit is to support people to have insightful, important conversations that will deepen their understanding of child and youth well-being and foster behaviour change.

    We want more people thinking and talking about child and youth well-being in our community—which we believe starts with a conversation. Use the prompts within the Conversation Toolkit to spark a conversation with friends, family, colleagues, new friends or complete strangers.

    Connect to share an interesting part of your conversation in any of these ways:
    • Online at engagewr.ca (go to our forum to comment on our questions),
    • Through Twitter and Instagram using @SmartWatRegion, #SmartWR and #SmartCitiesCanada, or
    • Tag the Canadian Government @INCF_eng so they know what's happening in Waterloo region!

  • Thank you for attending our Smart Waterloo Region Launch!

    3 months ago
    Thank you

    A big thank you to our partners, service providers, children and youth, and families who helped us celebrate the launch of Smart Waterloo Region! It was a huge success, and we couldn't have done it without you!

    On November 20th, we hosted a community wide launch event at three locations across the region, in Kitchener, Cambridge and Elmira. We started the day with a presentation and panel discussion at Catalyst 137 in Kitchener. The panel included project partners, tech experts and youth, who were asked to reflect on how we can work together to improve child and youth well-being in...

    A big thank you to our partners, service providers, children and youth, and families who helped us celebrate the launch of Smart Waterloo Region! It was a huge success, and we couldn't have done it without you!

    On November 20th, we hosted a community wide launch event at three locations across the region, in Kitchener, Cambridge and Elmira. We started the day with a presentation and panel discussion at Catalyst 137 in Kitchener. The panel included project partners, tech experts and youth, who were asked to reflect on how we can work together to improve child and youth well-being in Waterloo region.

    Later in the afternoon, families and community members were invited to drop-in style events at the three locations. We invited attendees to take part in activities to collect their input on how we can use technology and data to improve child and youth well-being. All of the amazing feedback we collected will inform our project to improve child and youth well-being in our community and beyond.

    If you missed it, please enjoy the recorded presentation and panel below from beginning to end!


    Please let us know if you have any questions or comments.
  • Join us for the official launch of Smart Waterloo Region!

    3 months ago
    Smart waterloo region launch twitter instream3

    Help us kick-off our Smart Waterloo Region project by joining us on November 20th from 4pm-7pm! We're hosting fun drop-in style events for children, youth, families and community members across the region.

    Come and learn about our project and how we are working together to improve child and youth well-being in our community! Take part in fun and interactive activities, and enter for a chance to win an amazing door prize for guests who stop by!

    Help us become the best community in Canada for children and youth! Join us at one of our three locations from 4-7pm:

    Help us kick-off our Smart Waterloo Region project by joining us on November 20th from 4pm-7pm! We're hosting fun drop-in style events for children, youth, families and community members across the region.

    Come and learn about our project and how we are working together to improve child and youth well-being in our community! Take part in fun and interactive activities, and enter for a chance to win an amazing door prize for guests who stop by!

    Help us become the best community in Canada for children and youth! Join us at one of our three locations from 4-7pm:

    Your input matters, we hope to see you there!

  • Smart Waterloo Region - Work to date

    4 months ago
    Smart waterloo region colour

    After being shortlisted, our team used the summer to organize and engage different stakeholder groups to narrow our focus, and to begin to identify root causes of the complex issues children and youth in our community face.

    On June 21st, we held a joint engagement event with the Children and Youth Planning Table to dive into the six focus areas identified in our Phase 1 application: early childhood development, literacy, mental and emotional health, sense of belonging, bullying, and high school graduation rates. Youth and service providers came together to take part in a day long session to drill down...

    After being shortlisted, our team used the summer to organize and engage different stakeholder groups to narrow our focus, and to begin to identify root causes of the complex issues children and youth in our community face.

    On June 21st, we held a joint engagement event with the Children and Youth Planning Table to dive into the six focus areas identified in our Phase 1 application: early childhood development, literacy, mental and emotional health, sense of belonging, bullying, and high school graduation rates. Youth and service providers came together to take part in a day long session to drill down into the root causes of these issues. We came out of the day with a fulsome problem map and decided to narrow our focus from six areas to four: early childhood development, literacy, mental and emotional health, and sense of belonging. You can see the report on the Children and Youth Planning Table Resources & Research page.

    During July and August we updated our governance and working group structures in preparation for Phase 2. We also met with many new and potential partners from the private, post-secondary and non-profit sectors.

    In August, we hosted another engagement session with youth attendees to assess if our four focus areas are meaningful to youth, and to determine how youth want to be engaged in our Smart Waterloo Region project going forward. We hosted our youth engagement session in Google’s community space where we captured meaningful and lively feedback. Youth confirmed that our four focus areas are of importance to them and we gained insight into how they wish to be engaged going forward.

    We are excited to move into Phase 2 to improve well-being for children and youth on our community. Moving forward, we are planning a launch event on November 20th, creating a youth engagement and advisory committee, and have brought on Overlap Associates to help us develop creative ways to engage the community.

    There is much more to come! Be sure to visit this page regularly for updates and feedback on how our project is progressing. Remember to follow us on Twitter: @SmartWatRegion and Instagram: @SmartWatRegion, and to use the hashtag #SmartWR.

    For more information on the history of our project, please see the post below: Smart Waterloo Region - A Short History.

  • Calling all youth!

    4 months ago
    Youth engagement5

    Are you interested in getting involved in SWR? We want to hear from you!

    Contact Jill Kolb, our Community Engagement Coordinator, for fun and meaningful ways to get involved!

    Are you interested in getting involved in SWR? We want to hear from you!

    Contact Jill Kolb, our Community Engagement Coordinator, for fun and meaningful ways to get involved!

  • Our project: Child and Youth Well-being

    4 months ago

    Listen to Maayan Ziv, Founder and CEO of AccessNow, give an overview of our project! We will become the benchmark community for child and youth well-being in Canada!


    Listen to Maayan Ziv, Founder and CEO of AccessNow, give an overview of our project! We will become the benchmark community for child and youth well-being in Canada!
  • Waterloo region named Smart Cities finalist!

    4 months ago
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    Waterloo Region - Today, the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, announced Waterloo region as one of five finalists in the large municipalities category of the Smart Cities Challenge, a new, competition-based approach that encourages communities to come up with innovative solutions to their most pressing challenge.

    Waterloo Region - Today, the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, announced Waterloo region as one of five finalists in the large municipalities category of the Smart Cities Challenge, a new, competition-based approach that encourages communities to come up with innovative solutions to their most pressing challenge.

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