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Background

Community wellbeing is shaped by a wide variety of conditions and systems in which individuals and communities are born, grow, work, live, and age.

Wellbeing Waterloo Region is a community-led initiative working together across sectors to improve wellbeing.

This is our story (so far).


Learn our history. Read the full background report: Backgrounder: Our Journey to Date (PDF)

Discover our future. Read the current working plan: Wellbeing Waterloo Region Plan Overview (PDF)


1. Interest

In 2016, Waterloo Region already had a number of community partnerships making progress towards dealing with complex issues of community wellness. However, many of these partnerships were identifying an urgency to collaborate across sectors for a more integrated, holistic approach to community wellbeing, and to create solutions with impact.

We began to gather community input on the vision, priorities, and actions to better wellbeing in Waterloo Region by conducting discovery meetings with collaboratives, area municipalities, and other community stakeholders.

The discovery meetings helped establish interest in moving forward with the initiative, and suggested methods to connect and engage with potential partners. These meetings also helped us gather feedback to inform the overall process and structure of the Wellbeing Waterloo Region initiative.

Learn more about the discovery meetings. Read the Summary of Discovery Meetings report (PDF).


2. Engagement

Community forums established strong support for Wellbeing Waterloo Region and the development of strategic priorities and measurement systems.

The Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW) was adopted as the overall framework for measuring wellbeing in Waterloo Region. Several indicators were identified to measure Waterloo Region’s wellbeing under each of the CIW’s eight domains.

Learn more about our measurement work. Go to the Measuring Wellbeing page.


3. Sense Making

Next, we began to make sense of the input and data collected about wellbeing in Waterloo Region in order to:

  • Understand the status of wellbeing in Waterloo Region at the system level
  • Understand the impact of our proposed efforts and actions
  • Create the potential to monitor over time whether community wellbeing is improving

We’ve published two big reports on our findings about wellbeing in Waterloo Region. Read the Profile of Wellbeing in Waterloo Region (2018) and Waterloo Region Community Wellbeing Survey (2019).


4. Priorities

Based on an analysis of gaps and issues, Wellbeing Waterloo Region set out to identify a limited number of priority areas for initial action to advance collective impact on community wellbeing.

This work established three “big idea” areas to improve community wellness so that everyone in our community is able to thrive.

Learn more about our three big idea areas. Go to our Big Ideas page.


5. Structure

Wellbeing Waterloo Region’s structural approach, informed by The Connected Community Approach, is premised on the belief that no single policy, government department, organization or program alone can tackle the increasingly complex social problems we face as a society. It seeks to address complex issues and achieve significant and lasting social change through multiple sectors coming together on a common agenda, shared measurement, and alignment of effort.

In 2019, Wellbeing Waterloo Region moved into its current enabling structure. The structure features a system of interconnected working groups who are focused on leveraging local assets and mobilizing for collective action in our three big idea areas.

Learn more about our enabling structure. Visit the Working Groups page.