TransformWR is Waterloo Region’s strategy to do our part in addressing climate change, in order to create a low carbon community that is equitable, prosperous, and resilient.

What’s laid out in the following is a pathway for how our community will build upon its history of climate action and show leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change.

The opening sections provide context for how this strategy was developed, and how it should be used. This includes the foundations this strategy must build from, the challenges it must address, and the opportunities it must realize. The section entitled Climate Change and Climate Action, frames the global and Canadian contexts within which our region is situated. Understanding our Target and Our Journey to ‘80by50’ lay out the critical work that’s already happened and demonstrate momentum for an ambitious 30-year agenda for achieving Waterloo Region’s greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target of 80% by the year 2050.

This agenda is nothing short of transformational. It is simultaneously seeking to honour our history and reconcile our past, embrace the interconnectedness of our economic, social and ecological realities, and leverage our commitment to a more just future for both people and the planet.

It’s a community plan.

More than 1600 community members informed this work through events, workshops, interviews, focus groups, and surveys. Efforts were made to reach stakeholders across the entirety of Waterloo Region, hearing from people from a variety of backgrounds, ages, sectors, job titles, and education levels. See Appendix A for the full Community Engagement Summary.

This work is directly informed by widespread community engagement that brought to light the community’s fears, hopes, and ideas for what a flourishing region ought to look like in 2050. Regardless of perspective, everyone consulted influenced and informed this work. What emerged were glimpses of a hopeful future—Our Vision for 2050—that helps us visualize the reality of meeting our targets. The vision led to a set of common elements—Principles—that serve as guidelines for making decisions and keeping us on track when unexpected obstacles and outcomes arise. They are meant to help when we get lost in the complexity of a problem, or when we need a reminder about what’s most important.

Neither the vision nor the principles contain the exact series of steps to reach our goals. To guide this, Transition to a Low Carbon Community outlines the 6 Transformative Changes our community must collectively make. It outlines what we need to achieve as a community to make this vision a reality, and what we expect to see, feel and experience along the way. There will be many obstacles and challenges that face our community in the coming decades. TransformWR sees the connections between these obstacles and the climate reality we face and takes a holistic approach to turning our vision of 2050 into reality.

FYI: Throughout this document, when we refer to ‘Waterloo Region’ or ‘the region,’ we are describing the entire community in the geographic area. When we refer to ‘the Region’ or ‘the Region of Waterloo,’ we mean the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, which is the upper-tier government in this area.