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.

Discussions: All (4) Open (0)
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    The goal of Smart Waterloo Region is to make our community the best in Canada for kids.

    Children and youth are at the centre of our project. To begin to understand what kids are going through and the stressors they experience within their families, schools and communities, it is important to place ourselves in their shoes.

    What challenges do you think kids are dealing with? What challenging life events do you think they face?

    Having trouble coming up with ideas? Learn more about some of the challenges kids face on the Children and Youth Planning Table's...

    The goal of Smart Waterloo Region is to make our community the best in Canada for kids.

    Children and youth are at the centre of our project. To begin to understand what kids are going through and the stressors they experience within their families, schools and communities, it is important to place ourselves in their shoes.

    What challenges do you think kids are dealing with? What challenging life events do you think they face?

    Having trouble coming up with ideas? Learn more about some of the challenges kids face on the Children and Youth Planning Table's Resources & Research page

    We are hosting extensive engagements with children and youth to ensure their perspectives, ideas, thoughts and suggestions are embedded in our project. All feedback provided will be used by the Smart Waterloo Region team to help us develop and write our Phase 2 application. 

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    Qualitychildcare2

    Often, children and youth are not meaningfully involved in decisions that governments and social services make about their lives and well-being. As a result, young people’s voices are not considered in decisions about community spaces, services and programs, curriculum, funding, and policy. When young people are not involved in these decisions, we miss out on their valuable input and may create solutions that are not best for them. We lack tools and processes that help young people feel informed, valued, and empowered to participate in decision-making that affects them.

    Share your ideas and suggestions!

    Often, children and youth are not meaningfully involved in decisions that governments and social services make about their lives and well-being. As a result, young people’s voices are not considered in decisions about community spaces, services and programs, curriculum, funding, and policy. When young people are not involved in these decisions, we miss out on their valuable input and may create solutions that are not best for them. We lack tools and processes that help young people feel informed, valued, and empowered to participate in decision-making that affects them.

    Share your ideas and suggestions!

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    Youth engagement11

    When children and youth face challenges, they can find it difficult to ask for help because of stigma. Peers, adults, and communities may reinforce expectations and stigma, making it harder to reach out when something is wrong. Legal requirements around disclosure and parental permission can make it difficult for young people to feel a sense of safety, privacy, and confidentiality. We need to build empathy and reduce stigma within our community. We need to provide resources that support caring adults and peers. This will make our community more open and caring for young people.

    Share your ideas and suggestions!

    When children and youth face challenges, they can find it difficult to ask for help because of stigma. Peers, adults, and communities may reinforce expectations and stigma, making it harder to reach out when something is wrong. Legal requirements around disclosure and parental permission can make it difficult for young people to feel a sense of safety, privacy, and confidentiality. We need to build empathy and reduce stigma within our community. We need to provide resources that support caring adults and peers. This will make our community more open and caring for young people.

    Share your ideas and suggestions!

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    20181101 184047

    Young people feel that there are not enough opportunities to learn important life skills, including financial literacy and skills for civic engagement. They worry about facing these skill gaps as they become more independent and move into adulthood. Children and youth need more time, space, and support to practice and explore life skills with supportive adults and peers. We also need to create opportunities for young people and adults to work together to identify what life skills are important.


    Share your ideas and suggestions!

    Young people feel that there are not enough opportunities to learn important life skills, including financial literacy and skills for civic engagement. They worry about facing these skill gaps as they become more independent and move into adulthood. Children and youth need more time, space, and support to practice and explore life skills with supportive adults and peers. We also need to create opportunities for young people and adults to work together to identify what life skills are important.


    Share your ideas and suggestions!

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