Category Archives: CKMS Community News

News from the Waterloo Region community.

Kitchener Centre by-election: candidates’ ideas and approaches to the redevelopment of the former Charles Street bus station

In the middle of downtown Kitchener, in between City Hall and Victoria Park, is one of the last pieces of available prime real estate in downtown Kitchener. The former Charles St. bus terminal at Gaukel St and Charles St, which sits on 2.94 acres, has sat empty and for the most part unused, since 2019.

The building, which still stands, was designed by local modernist architect John Lingwood in 1989. The property, which is currently being considered for a number of projects, is owned by the Region of Waterloo (who own 88%) and the City of Kitchener (who own 12%), but regardless of who owns it, the community, including the member of provincial parliament, will be part of whatever comes next.

With the Kitchener Centre by-election this week, CKMS took the opportunity to ask the four front-runner candidates, what do they personally think would be an appropriate use of that space and how would that benefit the people of the region?

The four main candidates are Rob Elliott of the Progressive Conservatives, Debbie Chapman of the NDP, Kelly Steiss of the Ontario Liberal party, and Aislinn Clancy of the Ontario Greens. Many attempts over 10 days were made to contact the Progressive Conservative candidate Rob Elliott, but we did not hear back from the PCs in time for broadcast.

In answer to our question, Kelly Steiss focused on the importance of collaboration and how her experience will lend itself well to the development of the project.

Aislinn Clancy also focused on the importance of collaboration and in addition the need to include and manifest Kitchener and regional-specific values.

Debbie Chapman talked about the property’s split ownership and the suggestions that she has heard, including turning it into an indigenous centre with a drop in centre and affordable housing, or extending Victoria Park into the site, moving the entertainment centre, the Kitchener Aud, to the site, or building a conference centre for the space.

Advance voting has closed, and reports show over 5400 people took advantage of the early voting. You can vote in person on election day from 9 AM to 9 PM (Eastern Time) at your assigned voting location based on your home address.

This is one in a series of shows about the Kitchener Centre by-election and in which we ask candidates some of the less-asked questions that are important to our community.

Kitchener Centre by-election: candidates explain how progress can be made as a minority party at Queen’s Park.

The Kitchener centre by-election is this week, November 30, and while the outcome is still far from clear, there is little faith that the elected representative will have any impact in the house.

The four main candidates are Rob Elliott of the Progressive Conservatives, Debbie Chapman of the NDP, Kelly Steiss of the Ontario Liberal party, and Aislinn Clancy of the Ontario Greens.

Three attempts over 10 days were made to contact the Progressive Conservative candidate Rob Elliot, but we did not hear back from the PCs in time for broadcast.

The last provincial election was held in 2022 and of the 124 seats in Queen’s Park, the PC have 80 seats, NDP have 28, Liberals have 9 and the Greens have 1. So unless Rob Elliott is elected, the MPP will be in the minority.  So given that the Kitchener Centre by-election this week, CKMS took the opportunity to ask the four front-runner candidates, how will you participate in the process when you are not a decision-maker but rather as a member of a minority party. In what areas do you see yourself contributing? What committees do you want to focus on?

NDP is the only other party in the house, and they are the official opposition. Debbie Chapman attributes the Ford government’s reversal on the Greenbelt to Marit Stiles. Chapman believes the NDP can win the next election.

Kelly Steiss of the Liberals noted that because the Liberals don’t have official party status, it requires MPPs to be very well connected with and to listen to constituents for when the party does have the opportunity to speak, she will be ready.

Aislinn Clancy of the Greens used the example of how Mike Morrice has been effective in Federal parliament, working collaboratively and across party lines. She focuses on putting the needs of people ahead of partisan politics.

This is one in a series of shows about the Kitchener Centre by-election in which we ask candidates some of the lesser-asked questions that are important to our community.

Kitchener Centre by-election: will the new MPP have any impact in Doug Ford’s Ontario?

Residents of Kitchener Centre provincial election will choose their new MPP this week, in a by-election influenced  as much by party politics as much as local politics.

The former MPP, Laura Mae Lindo, resigned the seat she held for the NDP in July.

The NDP candidate is Debbie Chapman who has served on Kitchener City Council for almost five years as councillor for Ward 9, and she teaches political science at Wilfrid Laurier University.

The Liberal Party candidate is Kelly Steiss, who has worked in municipal government for over two decades. She has volunteered in different capacities to help social inclusion, including as a member of the Mayor’s Task Force for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Steiss has also been the president for the Waterloo Rotary Club.

Aislinn Clancy  is running for the Green Party of Ontario. Clancy is currently the Ward 10 councillor for the City of Kitchener and is also the deputy leader of the Ontario Greens. Previously, Clancy worked as a social worker for the Waterloo Catholic District School Board.

Progressive Conservative candidate Rob Elliott has experience in the transportation and government sectors and a former PC party vice-president and regional organizer. Mr. Elliott does not live in Kitchener. He lives in Keswick, north of Toronto.

We spoke to University of Waterloo Political Science Professor Emeritus Robert J. Williams. During his 35 year career at Waterloo, Professor Williams taught courses on provincial, Ontario and municipal government and politics.From 1994 until 2003 he was Academic Director of the Ontario Legislature Internship Programme at Queen’s Park. He has conducted or advised on ward boundary and electoral system reviews in more than twenty-five Ontario municipalities, and testified as an expert witness before the Ontario Municipal Board in several cases involving electoral arrangements. Professor Williams has also served as President of Municipal Cultural Planning Inc., a not-for-profit organization created in late 2009 to advance the practice of municipal cultural planning in communities across Ontario.

Professor Williams provided some history of the Kitchener Centre riding and context for the by-election. He noted that the riding had voted liberal for fifteen years before the previous MPP Laura Mae Lindo and the NDP took the seat in 2018.

Professor Williams noted the fact that Rob Elliott does not live in the constituency is telling and questions why the PCs could not find anyone in the riding to run.

While the PC party casts a long shadow on this byelection, the larger political parties may also influence voters. Professor Williams talks about these wider influences and their possible impact in the Kitchener by-election.The Liberals are currently without a leader and will be holding a leadership convention on December 2. The Green party has one MPP, but the positive reputation of the Green MP Mike Morrice, may also influence voters. And while the NDP have managed to survive a controversy, Professor Williams wondered if it would cause any repercussions at the voting booth.

Professor Williams mentioned the Sarah Jama controversy, which happened when Sarah Jama a NDP MPP from Hamilton expressed sympathy for the current situation in Palestine. Marit Stiles, the leader of the NDP, kicked Jama out of the NDP caucus saying Jama had broken the trust of her colleagues. Then the Kitchener Centre NDP riding issued a statement alleging Stiles was “out of touch with the one million Muslims in Ontario.” The journalist Sabrina Nanji of the Queens Park Observer interviewed Chapman about the situation and she replied she had no knowledge of the letter. She was not aware of the letter and was not involved in its publication, in fact she said the letter blindsided her. Chapman noted three members who were involved in writing the letter resigned, and she stands by Stiles.

Professor Williams was not entirely optimisitic that the new MPP will have a lot of influence, “You are not determining who will be the premier but you are choosing someone who will … contribute as a member of a party to deliberations.”

The former MPP, Laura Mae Lindo, resigned the seat she held for the NDP in July. The Kitchener Centre riding has a population of about 105,260 and is about 42 km2. The person who does win the riding could have approximately 3 years in the job before the next election. The surrounding constituencies – Kitchener South Hespeler and Kitchener Conestoga are both held by PC MPPs, while the Waterloo riding is currently held by the NDP.

This is one in a series of shows about the Kitchener Centre by-election in which we ask candidates some of the lesser-asked questions that are important to our community.

Kitchener Centre by-election: candidates offer ideas to solve child care chaos in the riding

The reason the Kitchener Centre by-election was called is because the previous MPP, Laura Mae Lindo, stepped down and one of the challenges she cited was the difficulty of obtaining childcare.

In a presentation this past April to regional council, the Region of Waterloo Community and Children’s Services reported as of February, a total of 7,214 children ages 0 to 4 years were on the waitlist for a licensed child care space in Waterloo Region. The population of Kitchener Centre is about 19.7% of the entire region. (Kitchener Centre’s population, according to 2016 figures, which are the latest available, was 105,260 and the Regional population that same year was 535,154).  The government has announced beginning next year that the starting wage for Early Childhood educators employed by operators in the Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) system will increase to $23.86/hour.

With the Kitchener Centre by-election this week, CKMS took the opportunity to ask the four front-runner candidates what they think about the state of childcare in the region, the pay rise and, how if elected MPP, they will be able to influence staff hiring and retention?

The four main candidates are Rob Elliott of the Progressive Conservatives, Debbie Chapman of the NDP, Kelly Steiss of the Ontario Liberal party, and Aislinn Clancy of the Ontario Greens.  Three attempts over 10 days were made to contact the Progressive Conservative candidate Rob Elliot, but we did not hear back from the PCs in time for broadcast.

In response to our question, Aislinn Clancy focused on space and labour. She said that parts of the riding are a childcare desert, and Clancy believes more can be done to incentivise underused buildings such as community centres and churches, to develop childcare centres. Clancy also focused on bringing more respect to the profession of early childhood education and in doing so, continue to increase their pay.

Debbie Chapman said that she would like to see free childcare. She also noted that ten dollar a day care is great, but the waiting lists are very long and that puts parents in difficult situations.

Kelly Steiss noted that even though there is 10$ /day childcare, there aren’t enough workers to keep the system going. She was disappointed it took the Ontario government so long to sign on to the federal agreement. Steiss said early childhood educators do important work and paying them well is an investment in our future.  She also noted that $23.86 is a good place to start in relations with these workers.

This is one in a series of shows about the Kitchener Centre by-election in which we ask candidates some of the lesser-asked questions that are important to our community.

Kitchener Centre by-election: candidates discuss how they will attract medical professionals to the riding

Whether you believe the Ford government is helping or hurting the healthcare system in Ontario, there is no question that the system is struggling with demand and labour shortages, among others. Earlier this year, the Region of Waterloo announced plans for a new hospital to meet the demands of a growing population.

However, as the Ontario College of Family Physicians recently noted that in September 2022, there were almost 79 000 people in the Region who did not have a family doctor. The College predicted that in a little over three years’ time, this number could double to 150,000, or about one-third of the local population.

To accommodate this, Health Force Ontario estimated that the Region will need at least 76 doctors, while the Waterloo Region Health Coalition estimates at least 140 nurses are needed.

With the Kitchener Centre by-election happening this week on November 30, CKMS took the opportunity to ask the four front-runner candidates that with these serious shortages and rapidly increasing population, what will they do to ensure the Region can attract these health professionals to the area to meet our current and future needs?

The four main candidates are Rob Elliott of the Progressive Conservatives, Debbie Chapman of the NDP, Kelly Steiss of the Ontario Liberal party, and Aislinn Clancy of the Ontario Greens.

Three attempts over 10 days were made to contact the Progressive Conservative candidate Rob Elliot, but we did not hear back from the PCs in time for broadcast.

First up is Debbie Chapman of the NDP, invoking the name of Tommy Douglas to establish the NDP’s credentials in public healthcare. Chapman is against privatization and notes that it extracts resources from public system. She notes there is a clear shortage of doctors, and much of that responsibility lies with the College of Physicians and Surgeons, who, she believes, need to admit more doctors into the profession. Ms. Chapman said we need to do more to encourage bridging programs for foreign doctors, and that we need to be concerned about nurses and their health so they don’t encounter working conditions like what transpired during the pandemic. Chapman says that private nursing agencies will destroy the public health care system.

Aislinn Clancy of the Green Party says that the government flushed money away by taking the nurses to court. She talked about how agency nurses are very expensive and undermining the public system. She said to deal with staff shortages, we need more spaces for doctors to be trained, encourage more people to take the training, find better opportunities for bridging programs, and provide support for doctors by encouraging them to work in multidisciplinary teams that would relieve their workload.

The Liberals have placed healthcare at the centre of their platform. The liberal candidate for Kitchener Centre, Kelly Steiss, said municipalities need to build infrastructure and support arts and culture to create a thriving city. Liberals support public funding and believe the government is putting the health care system risk.

Chapman and Clancy noted they want to find ways to enable foreign trained medical professionals to work in the riding in their chosen profession. While Chapman and Clancy focused entirely on the system, increasing medical school admissions and restricting private nursing agencies, among other ideas, Steiss also talked about improving the riding through increasing things like infrastructure and arts and culture to increase the desire to live here. The three parties we talked to all disagree with privatization.

This is one in a series of shows about the Kitchener Centre by-election in which we ask candidates some of the lesser-asked questions that are important to our community.

Kitchener Centre by-election: waiting on a train that never arrives

In early November the NDP leader Marit Stiles introduced a motion called on the government to provide a timeline and funding commitment for the Kitchener GO Line expansion, which was then promptly voted down by the Conservatives (66 to 30).

With the Kitchener Centre by-election this week, CKMS took the opportunity to ask the four front-runner candidates if, after all the effort that has been applied, the government still won’t budge, what can they add to this effort?

The four main candidates are Rob Elliott of the Progressive Conservatives, Debbie Chapman of the NDP, Kelly Steiss of the Ontario Liberal party, and Aislinn Clancy of the Ontario Greens.

CKMS News made three attempts over 10 days  to contact the Progressive Conservative candidate Rob Elliot, but did not hear back from the PCs in time for broadcast of this story. The other three candidates responded and spoke to CKMS News about GO train service in Kitchener Waterloo.

First up is Debbie Chapman of the NDP who says two-way, all-day GO service is a top priority for her and her party,  and despite the Conservatives voted down the motion, the fight continues.

The Liberals have also called for all-day and all weekend train service to Toronto. Kelly Steiss, the Liberal candidate explains how people have been pushing for more GO trains and acknowledges the frustration riders feel.

Aislinn Clancy of the Ontario Greens noted how the PCs have said they are supportive of the idea of increased GO service, but then vote against it. Clancy has called on focusing on financial elements of the decision to appeal to the Conservatives. All levels of government to speed up the process to secure increased GO service.

CKMS asked the candidates who agreed to speak about  their familiarity with local transit is and if they actually use it, asking them “When was the last time you went to Toronto on the GO train?” and “When was the last time you took the GRT (Grand River Transit buses) and Ion Rapid Transit Service (light rail)?”

Debbie Chapman of the NDP had not taken the GO transit to Toronto recently, but does take local public transport

Aislinn Clancy of the Greens has had recent experience on GO transit and the GRT and highlighted the problems that she has experienced and heard.

While Kelly Steiss of the Liberals has not had recent experience with GO Transit, her campaign staff have. She also has recent positive experience with the Ion.

This is one in a series of shows about the Kitchener Centre by-election and in which we ask candidates some of the less-asked questions that are important to our community.


Amid tax increases, Kitchener City Councillors struggle with previous cycling funding commitments, “We’ve gone way too far.”

MP Holmes
Kitchener, ON

City of Kitchener Councillor Bil Ioannidis said that we have gone way too far with cycling infrastructure. The Councillor made the comments at the Finance and Corporate Services committee meeting on Monday, November 20. The committee was reviewing the city of Kitchener’s 2024 draft operating budget that is to go to the mayor for approval in early December. The budget includes approximately $5.5 million to advance the strategic priorities, which were determined in the 2023-2026 Strategic Plan. Some of these areas, and the funding given to them in this budget include:

$700,000 for downtown cycling grid and infrastructure;

$424,000 in traffic calming;

$300,000 trail improvements for the Active Transport plan;

$1.2 million for the Housing for all Strategy;

$117,000 for the Creative Hub;

$173,000 to expand community centre hours; and

$240,000 to launch additional special events, including one new major festival in 2024.

Councillors raised a series of questions about different strategic priority funding options, but it was the competing interests of cycling, trails, and traffic calming that occupied most of the meeting. In addition to Councillor Ioannidis’s remarks, other councillors balked at both the $700,000 given to the downtown cycling grid and infrastructure and the $300,000 for additional cycling and trail connections, while traffic calming, a much more important issue in many of the councillors’ opinions, was afforded only $424,000.

City staff tried in various ways to address the concern about too much attention paid to cycling which came from at least 3 of the councillors attending. Councillor Paul Singh asked where the $700k for the cycling infrastructure came from, and why it had been applied to the cycling infrastructure. First Jonathon Lautenbach, city of Kitchener CFO explained the city’s position and then Justin Readman,· General Manager, Development Services at city of Kitchener, elaborated the funds are the final phase of a long-term capital investment that the city agreed to undertake years ago.

Councillor Christine Michaud also noted that she’s not hearing complaints about cycling but rather about the speed that people drive their cars and the need for traffic calming. City staff said that traffic calming has been funded in the past and what is in the budget reflects what Council has previously agreed to, based on what each area needs. But Michaud reinforced her concerns, and desire for more funding, to contend with traffic calming and reducing drivers’ speed.

Councillors Dave Schnider and Jason Deneault expressed strong interest in improving signage in parks for trails and cyclists. Councillor Schnider noted you can get on a trail and go all the way around the city but there are no signs informing people they can do so. City staff assured Council a comprehensive wayfinding strategy is going to be revealed soon.

Councillors Ioannidis and Margaret Johnston asked about lighting on trails and parks, but were informed that lighting beyond the major trails (namely the Iron Horse Trail and the Spurline Trail) is too expensive.

The Kitchener City operating budget also included funding for new and continuing services and infrastructure. Kitchener City Chief Financial Officer, Jonathan Lautenbach summarised the tax increases for services and infrastructure, which include a 3.9% per year rise in property tax (that’s a $47 rise over last year) and 6.3% increase in utilities (a $77 increase).

Next week is the final week for any changes to the budget. Public are reminded next Monday, November 27, is public consultation night and the Council will also examine the Capital budget on that same evening. For more information on the 2024 operating budget, the city of Kitchener has a detailed description on their website here.


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CKMS News 2023-11-21 – ACORN Ontario’s Rental Registry

CKMS News -2023-11-21- ACORN Ontario’s Rental Registry

by: dan kellar

Waterloo – Over 8,000 renters have registered their units with ACORN’s Rental Registry since the grassroots social and economic justice organisation launched their map based online database at the end of the summer. ACORN Ontario told CKMS News in a statement that “the rental registry will track rising rents across the province.” which they say will “lead to better, publicly-available housing data that can help protect and create more affordable housing”.

Today’s shows features interviews with Acer Bonapart, the chair of ACORN Waterloo Regionwhich since its launch earlier this year, has focused primarily on tenant rights and housing issues. Additionally, CKMS speaks with Geordie Dent of the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations (FMTA), a non-profit organization founded in 1974 which advocates for better rights for tenants.  The show also includes comments that the ACORN Ontario chapter provided to CKMS News. 

ACORN Ontario told CKMS News that the registry was created by the Montreal based non-profit Vivre en Ville,  saying  “The registry was first introduced in Quebec and has over 30,000+ rents voluntarily registered. The rental registry is easy, quick and secure as it was designed to be compliant with SOC2 cybersecurity standards., standards that meet requirements for governmental use.

According to, which has for years tracked such data, average rents across the country are still rising at over 100$/month, with a one bedroom apartment in Waterloo averaging 1,944$ a month in October.  Two bedroom apartments are now averaging 2,543$ a month, nearly a 15% increase from last year at the same time.  

While many provinces have some form of rent control, in Ontario since Doug Ford dismantled the existing system in 2018, that control comes in the form of a 2.5% maximum allowable increase to the rent after a 12 month period. 

However, the Landlord and Tenant Board, an arm of Ontario’s legal system, often allows this maximum to be exceeded after being convinced by a landlord’s request. As Geordie Dent explains, the board approves the above guideline increase “in the neighbourhood of 90-95% of the time”. Additionally, the maximum increase also does not apply between tenants, meaning the landlord can increase the rent any amount they want on new tenants once the old ones move out.

The Landlord and Tenant Board does not specifically track how often they approve AGIs and their 2022-2023 report has a lot of incomplete data. A brief review of cases  by CKMS News centering on Above Guideline Increases on the Canadian Legal Information Institute, where all such cases are listed, reveals the 10 most recent cases were all decided in favour of the landlord, with the majority declaring: “The Landlord justified a rent increase above the guideline because of capital expenditures.”  

 While above guideline increases continue to have harmful effects on renters, ACORN Ontario told CKMS News the registry will provide “Greater transparency for renters so they can make informed decisions about where they choose to live”.  The statement concluded “Better housing data can help inform stronger affordable housing policies like those supported by Ontario ACORN’s ‘Real Rent Control’ Campaign. Over time, the registry will clearly show that rents increase astronomically in between tenancies on units that aren’t subject to rent control, and as a result of above guideline rent increases. These loopholes in our current rent control laws create incentives for landlords to renovict or demovict their tenants or neglect repairs until tenants get fed up and leave”. 


CKMS News – 2023-11-17 – Reviewing the effects of the financialisation of housing

CKMS News – 2023-11-17 – Reviewing the effects of the financialisation of housing

by: dan kellar

Waterloo – On Oct 30th ACORN, the grassroots social and economic justice organisation with chapters across the country, delivered over 400 tenant testimonials to federal liberal MPs including Waterloo’s Bardish Chagger. This action coincided with ACORN’s national housing spokesperson Tanya Bukart giving testimony to the National Housing Council’s review panel on the financialisation of purpose built rental housing.  Bukart’s testimony highlighted the effects on renters created by the stress of living in a precarious housing market, which has been transformed over the past decades, into an investment industry with profit seeking constantly driving up housing and rental prices.

Today’s show features interviews with Acer Bonapart, the chair of the Waterloo Region chapter of ACORN, and Mike Morrice, the Green Party MP for Kitchener Centre, who has been pressuring the government over the ongoing crisis in the affordability of housing in Canada since being elected in 2021.  Additionally, Geordie Dent of The Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations (FMTA), which advocates for better rights for tenants, adds comments on the financialisation of housing.

For the purposes of this review, the National Housing Council is using the Federal Housing Advocate’s definition of the financialization of housing which is “the growing dominance of financial actors in the housing sector, which is transforming the main function of housing from a place to live into a financial asset and a tool for investor profits.”  The definition continues “These may include asset management companies, hedge funds, pension funds, private equity funds, real estate investment trusts (REITs), real estate operating companies and sovereign wealth funds.”

The National Housing Council, which refers to reports commissioned by The Federal Housing Advocate adds “The financialization of purpose-built rental housing has been linked to a range of negative impacts for renters, such as evictions, rising rents and reduced building services and maintenance.” On this point the National Right to Housing Network, a grassroots tenants rights organisation also focusing on the national panel explains “Financialization of housing refers to the treatment of housing primarily as a financial asset and tool for maximizing investor profit at the expense of human rights among tenants and tenancy-seeking individuals.”

The show focuses on the financialisation of the housing market, immediate steps which could be taken to start addressing the affordability crisis, and the longer term role of government in creating and maintaining an affordable and quality housing supply to meet the needs of growing populations.


CKMS News – Report and support: Responding to hate motivated incidents in Waterloo with the coalition of Muslim Women

CKMS News – 2023-11-16- Report and support: Responding to hate motivated incidents in Waterloo with the coalition of Muslim Women

by: dan kellar

Waterloo – With the recent release by the city of a new guide to navigate and report incidents of hate and discrimination in Waterloo, the Coalition of Muslim Women Kitchener Waterloo have yet another tool to offer from their growing kit to combat rising incidents of hate and discrimination.  The group worked with city staff and other community partners such as the Community Justice Initiatives, as well as the regional police services to create the guide, which  highlights the group’s online “Hate or Discrimination Documentation and Reporting Service” which is accessed at and receives hate incident and discrimination reports from across the country. 

This show features an interview with Sarah Shafiq, the director of programming and services for the Coalition of Muslim Women KW, an organisation which is described on its website as “a small, but mighty group of racialized Muslim women that have been standing up to hate, discrimination, Islamophobia, and gender-based violence since 2010.” 

The Interview focuses on the services that the group offers, the partnerships with the city of Waterloo and the regional municipality, and the surge in reports of anti-Semitic, anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab, and Islamophobic incidents reported in the past month.  Shafiq also mentions the feelings of disappointment and fear members of her community are experiencing, bringing up memories of the post 9/11 era of profiling and discrimination. 

This recent surge in hate incidents reflects the past several years of data available from both the Coalition of Muslim Women and Statistics Canada.  According to statscan, in 2022 police-reported hate crime incidents in Waterloo Region doubled to 144 events, representing 22.7 incidents per 100,000 of population, more than double the national average of 9.3 incidents per 100,000 of population. These numbers add to the 38% increase in hate crimes reported nationally in 2021, compared to 2020 data. 

The 2022 Snap Shot of Hate in Waterloo Region produced by the Coalition of Muslim Women shows a wide gap between the number of police reported hate incidents and the number of actual incidents which take place, with only 10 of 97 incidents that were reported to them ever being reported to the police.  With the new guide, the online reporting tool, and the other services offered by the Coalition of Muslim Women, Sarah hopes people will be comfortable in reporting incidents of hate and discrimination and be able to access the other services and supports the organisation offers.


Kitchener Mayor announces new housing incentives and new relationship with the performing arts in State of the City address

MP Holmes
Kitchener, ON

In his annual State of the City address, on Thursday November 9, Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic made several new announcements, including new incentives to build affordable housing in the city.

Starting in 2024, the city of Kitchener, with the help of the federal government, will offer incentives to to build not-for-profit, supportive, and affordable rentals or affordable coops units. The initiative is meant to help construct more than 500 new affordable housing units and will cost over $5 million. These incentives consist of matching grants at $5,000 per unit to subsidize early-stage development costs. No-interest loans of an additional $5,000 per unit will also be available from the city. The mayor said more information will be release about this new initiative over the next few weeks.

This housing announcement comes on the heels of the previous announcement by Federal Minister Sean Fraser that $42.4 million of funding from the Government of Canada’s Housing Accelerator fund will fast track the construction of 1200 new local homes by early 2027. See the announcement here.

The Housing Accelerator Fund was launched by the Federal government in March of this year to assist municipalities to increase the housing supply.

The Mayor told the crowd how Minister Fraser noted that Kitchener has the most significant growth rate of any Housing Accelerator Community in Canada, of which there are about 500.

Other announcements the Mayor made in his address include changes to the community centre model to reflect changing and more diverse neighbourhoods and to help newcomers become more connected to community. The mayor talked about the city’s efforts to build a creative and ideas hub downtown and also announced a new relationship structure between the city and local performing arts organizations. This new structure consists of the city playing a larger part in the operations and promotions of the performing arts groups in order to boost tourism.

The mayor listed ongoing environmental goals such as increasing the tree canopy to 30% in all neighbourhoods by 2050 and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, namely by converting city-owned combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles. He also noted plans to add a major new park near the Grand River, but did not provide additional details.

Despite talking in depth about housing, the idea hub, the environment and changes to community centres and the relationship with performing arts venues, the Mayor did not talk about the affordability or growing homelessness crises.

The ceremony was held at the Kitchener Market and featured videos with residents and each of the councillors talking about what has been accomplished in the past year.

A complete recording of the State of the City event can be found here. To learn more about the City of Kitchener’s 2023 – 2026 Strategic Plan and its vision for 2043, visit

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Housing advocacy organization questions denial of funding by Region of Waterloo

Delegates representing housing advocacy organization A Better Tent City (ABTC) went to Region of Waterloo (ROW) council on Wednesday, November 7, asking for urgent help. The group was appealing a decision by the ROW housing department that determined ABTC did not fit the criteria for ROW funding.

ABTC has not yet received an explanation as to why it did not meet the criteria, and department officials have agreed to meet with the members of ABTC to explain later this month. Without additional and prompt financial support, the delegates warned, the project will not be able to continue.

The delegation included Jeff Willmer, Laura Hamilton, Marion Thomson Howell and Father Toby Collins. ABTC had asked for $236,000 under ROW housing provider funding scheme. This money would provide for dedicated staff to actively support residents to further stabilize their lives and obtain permanent housing.

Laura Hamilton described how the group began as a crisis response to unsafe living conditions and how it transitioned from an illegal unsanctioned encampment to a registered charity with community partners and over 100 volunteers.  Despite these achievements, Marion Thomson Howell noted how demand is increasing, “One year ago today, we had approximately 65 people who came around on a regular basis looking for support. As of Thursday of last week, we had 96 and that number grows daily.”

When ROW Chair Karen Redman asked about volunteers, Hamilton described typical tasks and the increasing demands on volunteers. She also described how much of the success of ABTC comes down to one woman, Nadine Greene, and why that is problematic because it leads burnout for the volunteer and excessive dependence on one person, which is not good for the organization in the long run.

Councillor Berry Vrbanovic asked, beyond finances, what the main challenges for the group are and what supports are needed to confront these challenges. Father Collins answered by characterizing the struggles of the people who rely on ABTC are facing. He noted the people they take in are extremely unstable and they need to be stable before they can start to move beyond their struggles.

Councillors Rob Deutschmann and Chantal Huinink tried to understand why ABTC didn’t meet the Region’s criteria while Councillor Colleen James asked how they are funded, if there is any government support, and more about the request for additional staff. Father Collins explained the organization’s revenue streams, the financial short fall, and need for staff.

Council noted the excellent work ABTC is doing, but, and while they understood why the group had made the request, some councillors were unsure how to interpret the performance measures. Councillor Craig asked about turnover – or how many people move on into permanent housing — on average per year. Thomson Howell, Hamilton and Father Collins reiterated their approach, highlighting that they don’t have dedicated staff to help people move on to other housing, and that was why they had come to council.

Councillor Jan Ligget returned to the turnover number and expressed concern over what seemed like a low performance indicator. She asked the group to clarify how they will improve their scores. Delegates explained how they can increase transitions with the additional  staff and when waiting lists for affordable housing are reduced.

No motions were put in place regarding A Better Tent City. The next Community and Health Services meeting on December 6.


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CKMS News -2023-11-14- Motion 86 and voter-led electoral reform

CKMS News – 2023-11-14 – Motion 86 and voter-led electoral reform

electoral reform, citizens assembly, voting, federal election, democracy proportional representation, first past the post, waterloo region, fair vote canada, green party, ndp, by: dan kellar

Kitchener – On November 7th, Motion 86 on forming a Citizen’s Assembly on Electoral reform had its first debate in the house of commons. The motion seeks to establish a representative “Citizen’s Assembly” which would investigate alternatives to Canada’s first past the post electoral system, and inform the government on which proportional systems would best reflect the needs and preferences of the people in Canada.

The motion was brought forward by NPD MP Lisa Marie Barron, and built on the work of Mike Morrice, the Green Party MP for Kitchener Centre who was the first to second the motion back in June. Morrice’s second was followed by 18 other seconders from the NDP, Liberal, and Conservative parties, including Bardish Chagger of the Waterloo riding.  This cross party collaboration is exactly what Fair Vote Canada, one of the grassroots organisations who contributed to the motion, hopes will become standard operations in governments under an electoral system based on proportional representation. 

This show features interviews with Kitchener Centre MP Mike Morrice, and Evan Rosamond, the co-chair of the Fair Vote Canada chapter for Waterloo Region. 

Motion 86 was debated for its allotted hour, with many MPs announcing their support for the idea of electoral reform. Bloc Quebecois MP Martin Champoux applauded the motion, and called for MPs to have the courage to take action when it is time. Conservative MP Scott Reid stated the proposal was “half right”,  but recommended a referendum over a citizen’s assembly. 

However, support was not universal. Liberal MP Chandra Arya said that a citizen’s assembly would be “an attempt at an entry through the back door into a proportional system”. He then claimed that “Because of the proportional system, Israel cannot come to an agreement with Palestine.” Arya did not offer any evidence for either of his statements.

While the future of motion 86 and electoral reform in Canada is uncertain, the debate in the House of Commons will resume in the coming months, and with hope brewing around successful cross-party collaboration, Evan Rosamond remarked “it is better to talk a lot then to fight with everybody”.

CKMS News – 2023-11-10 – City of Waterloo develops a new hate incident reporting guide

CKMS News – 2023-11-10 – City of Waterloo develops hate incident reporting guide

by: dan kellar

Waterloo – As hate crimes and incidents of discriminatory hate have surged in Canada over the past several years, Waterloo Region has not been immune to the ugly trend, seeing the highest ever level of incidents in 2021 and then 2022.  As part of a response to these increases, the City of  Waterloo has developed a new guide to “support residents in navigating and reporting local incidents of hate and discrimination.”  The new resource “offers clear instructions on where to file a report and outlines what to expect throughout the process.”

In this show, we speak with Julie Legg, the Supervisor of Neighbourhood Services for the City of Waterloo, and Paulina Rodriguez, the Anti-Racism and Social Justice Advocate, also for the City of Waterloo.  The interview explores the development of the hate incident reporting guide, the importance of reporting hate incidents, and how this guide helps further the City of Waterloo’s inclusion and diversity initiatives, and create a city where as Julie Legg says “Hate isn’t welcome”.  

This new guide from the City of Waterloo was a collaboration which included community partners Community Justice Initiatives, and Coalition of Muslim Women of Kitchener Waterloo, as well as the regional police services.

In 2022, according to Statistic Canada, police-reported hate crime incidents in Waterloo Region doubled to 144 events  This represents  22.7 incidents per 100,000 of population compared to 6.7 per 100,000 in 2017 or 2.5 per 100,000 in 2018. In Canada, hate crimes rose 38% in 2021 from 2020, reaching 3358 incidents, and in 2022 surged even higher, with 3,576 hate crime incidents being reported.  That is on average 9.2 hate crime incidents per year per 100,000 of population.

As the Coalition of Muslim Women of Kitchener-Waterloo reported in their 2022 Snap Shot of Hate in Waterloo Region, only 10 of 97 incidents that were reported to them were ever reported to the police, suggesting that the police-reported numbers of hate incidents and hate crimes may be significantly lower than the actual number of these incidents that take place in the region.  

The new guide from the city, includes details on alternatives to reporting hate motivated incidents to the police, such as the website run by the Coalition of Muslim women of Kitchener-Waterloo.  According to Paulina Rodriguez from the City of Waterloo, these reporting alternatives are highlighted in an effort to support community members, and “meet people where they are at, where they feel most comfortable”.


CKMS News – Kitchener City Council takes advantage of extra time and defers lodging home motion

CKMS News – 2023-11-07 – Kitchener City Council takes advantage of extra time and defers lodging home motion

Lodging home licensing is on the way in Kitchener, but at Monday night’s council meeting, council took the opportunity to defer the motion until March 2024.

At last week’s council meeting, on October 30, a motion to remove restrictions on lodging houses was deferred. Councillor Bill Ioannidis introduced the deferral after questioning if fourplex apartments are a better option overall to increase affordability and if a pilot study would be a better approach to roll out licensing.

In response to those questions, at this week’s meeting, delegate Phil Marfisi noted how lodging homes differ from fourplex apartments, and that lodging homes do not require much in the way of preparation and can be occupied without additional construction or renovation. Because of this, Marfisi said, lodging homes can be a more economical mode of housing. Marfisi also explained how a lodging house pilot study would not meet the urgency of the crisis and would impede the delivery of this needed housing.

A second delegate, Lynn Intini, presented a description of lodging home residents and how the plan integrates with the city of Kitchener’s overall housing plan. She also pointed out that exclusionary zoning bylaws can have human rights implications if it restricts where people can live.

Council was informed on Monday night that the bylaw will be back in March 2024. Councillor Scott Davey moved to defer the lodging house motion as nothing would be able to be enacted until the lodging house licensing bylaw was ready anyway. Councillor Jason Deneault agreed with the deferral and noted that by deferring, more research can be done into issues such as short-term rentals that overlap and influence the affordable rental market.

You can listen to the show above


CKMS News – The GRT proposes increased accessibility measures and increased fare hikes in the 2024 regional budget

CKMS News – 2023-11-03 – Proposed GRT increase

MP Holmes
Kitchener, Ontario

Proposed changes to the Grand River Transit (or GRT)  fares would see cash fares rise, but under these proposals, accessibility services would also increase. Commissioner for Transportation Services Mathieu Goetzke presented the proposals to Regional Council during a budget consultation meeting on Wednesday November 1.

This budget consultation meeting, one of several in the run-up to the final budget day on December 13, focused on determining the budgets for the Region’s equitable services and opportunities. Items of discussion included improving community safety and well-being, automated speed enforcement, youth-focused initiatives, paramedic services, transportation, and proposed transit fare changes to the GRT.

These proposed fare changes include increasing the electronic cash fare by two cents from $2.98 to $3.00, increasing monthly passes from $92 to $96; and increasing cash fares from $3.75 to $4 per single ride.

GRT fares last increased this past July, by 25 cents, from $3.50 to $3.75, which means that, with this proposed increase, fare hikes of will have increased by 50 cents or 12.5% in two years. Despite this, ridership has never been higher. In September, the GRT set a new ridership record with 150,000 boardings per day.

Commisioner Goetzke explained why this cash fare price increase is needed, but several councillors expressed concern. Councillor Natasha Salonen wondered if the cash fare increase wouldn’t hurt the most marginalised.

Another proposed increase is the fare window, which is how long one bus ticket is good for. Currently the GRT offers a 90-minute window and is proposing a 120-minute, or two-hour, window. Councillor Rob Deutschmann suggested increasing the fare window to three hours, arguing the size of the region justified increasing the transfer window. Councillor Jim Erb agreed and noted that Waterloo Region riders often switch between the bus and ION train systems, which takes more time.

Commisioner Goetzke listed the proposed measures to increase accessibility, including removing $5 minimum load on easy go card, developing a mobile payment app, increasing the discount on needs-based fares, and introducing a new group pass for $12, which would allow unlimited travel for up to five people regardless if they are a family or not.

These proposed changes were presented as a preview of what will be discussed in more detail at a later council meeting. The intention of this review was to bring forward a budget-day motion to adopt a new user fee and charge bylaw.

Councillors have until December 4 to make a motion to amend the budget before the final budget day on December 13.

At the next Strategic Planning and Budget Committee, on November 8, Council will be examining the draft 2024 budgets focusing on the theme homes for all.


You can listen to the show below:

CKMS News Removing restrictions on lodging houses deferred while city council wrestles with affordability

CKMS News 2023-11-02- Council considers lodging homes

MP Holmes
Kitchener, Ontario

Kitchener city staff have drawn up new guidelines for land use and zoning changes for lodging houses in the city, but Council isn’t satisfied. At the Planning and Strategic Initiatives Committee meeting on October 30, Kitchener Council examined these changes, and given the mix of opinions on council, deferred their decision until the next council meeting on Monday November 6.

Several review studies, including Kitchener’s Housing for All Housing First strategy and the March 2021 Lower Doon Land Use Study, among others, encouraged the city to examine how lodging (or rooming houses) can play a role in alleviating the housing crisis. And so, at Monday evening’s council meeting, Kitchener city planning staff came back with a proposal that would remove references in the official plan and zoning regulations to minimum distance separations, lodging houses parking regulations, and geographical limitations on lodging houses.

Two delegates presented to Council in favour of lodging houses. Nelson Chukwuma from the Conestoga Student Inc.‘s Board of Directors and Martin Asling of the Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY) housing advocacy group. Both explained the importance of lodging houses to help both students and permanent city residents secure affordable housing.

In the mid 2000s, as part of then-official plan, the City of Kitchener sought to limit the creation of new lodging houses. Currently there are about 20 licensed lodging houses located across the city and an unknown but an assumed large number of unlicensed lodging houses.

One of the recommended zoning changes is to scrap the minimum distance provision, which limits lodging houses from being too close to one another. Up until now, lodging houses have to be at least 400m from one another. Martin Asling explained that this, according to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, is a form of ‘people zoning’ and is illegal in Ontario. In considering this change, Councillor Scott Davey expressed concerns about a possible overconcentration of lodging homes in an area, and he wondered what the consequences of that would be.

City staff also recommended that parking regulations be removed. Martin noted that these regulations are from an earlier time and are now out of date and no longer in line with the city’s aims.

Another recommendation from staff, that both delegates agreed with, was to lift restrictions to allow lodging houses in all residential zones throughout the city.

Affordability was a concern for many of the councillors. Councillor Bill Ioannidis asked Martin how to keep lodging houses affordable and prevent landlords from overcharging. In response, Martin listed a series of studies that have examined the implementation of lodging houses and which found that affordability stayed intact. Councillor Debbie Chapman asked Martin if he knew of any measures that could be put in place now to ensure affordability, and Martin explained how preventing the loss of lodging house supply is important.

City staff made a point to note that this meeting was not about licensing lodging homes but rather land use and zoning changes. Despite this, throughout the meeting, questions on licensing and enforcement popped up, Mayor Berry Vrbanovic asked if both the zoning and licensing could be dealt with concurrently given the importance and urgency of this measure. Staff were quick to point out that the licensing depends on removing some of the zoning and land use restrictions, and perhaps it could be done concurrently, but the changes to zoning and land use must occur before a licensing program is overhauled.

Other issues of licensing that were raised included how to incentivize landowners to obtain a licence, how licensing would be enforced, and what repercussions there currently are if landowners choose not to obtain a license.

Councillor Ioannidis expressed a preference for the four-plex housing strategy, which was passed at council previously. By the end, the Councillor noted he had more questions than answers and pushed for a deferral to the next council meeting. The deferral motion was passed and the issue will be readdressed at Council meeting on November 6.


You can listen to the show above

CKMS News – City of Waterloo offers free sidewalk and windrow snow clearing to eligible residents

MP Holmes
Kitchener, ON

The City of Waterloo is offering a free assisted sidewalk and windrow snow-clearing service for eligible residents who are unable to clear their sidewalks and windrows during the winter months. Earlier this year and after obtaining community feedback on how to proceed with future snow clearing in the city, City Council decided to open applications for a trial snow-clearing service.

Tiffany Smith, Manager, Senior Services and Community Services at the City of Waterloo, explained who the program is meant to help, how to apply, and what the future plans are.

Demand has been high and the city has quickly received applications for half of the forty spots available. Smith explained how this initiative is the first of a four year phase-in program that will see snow-clearing services expanded. Council approved this plans in a May 2023 meeting. A synopsis of this report can be found at EngageWR. There are plans to assess the program and gather further input from homeowners and the community after this first trial season.

As a part of its current snow-clearing responsibilities, the city clears multi-use trails and paths around the city, as well as walkways and bike lanes. City plows also currently clear about 85 km of sidewalk in and around various city parks and facilities

Applications open until October 31st and can be found online here.

You can listen to the show above:

Chief medical officer announces COVID-19 vaccine availability timeline

MP Holmes
Kitchener, ON

Up-to-date COVID and flu vaccines will be available for all residents on Monday, October 30. The announcement was made at last  week’s Waterloo Regional Council meeting by Dr. Hsui-Li Wang, the chief medical officer for Waterloo Region.

Up until now, vaccines had been reserved for vulnerable individuals, but starting Monday, the new vaccine will be made available to the wider public at local public health clinics and participating pharmacies and health care providers.

There are no walk in appointments at this time, and clinic appointments must be made through the provincial booking system.

Also on October 30, the Board of Health will begin sending notifications to parents as reminders to update children’s immunization records and vaccines.

The update also stated that while COVID 19 has been increasing slightly in the Region, wastewater data remains at elevated levels with signals dominated by most recent variant (XBB).

Listen to the show above:

CKMS News -2023-10-27- Delegates tell council to reaffirm the Regional Official Plan in response to Ford’s policy reversal.

CKMS News 2023-10-27-Reaffirming The Regional Plan

by: dan kellar

During presentations on October 25th to Waterloo Regional Council, 2 delegates asked the council to respond to the Ontario government’s reversal of the forced expansion of the region’s urban boundaries by reaffirming their commitment to the 2022 Regional Official Plan and by informing the Government that no changes will be identified.  

In today’s show, we hear excerpts from the delegations of Sam Nabi, the director of  Hold the Line Waterloo Region, and Kevin Thomason of the Grand River Environmental Network to the regional council, along with responses from councilors Rob Deutschmann and Dorothy McCabe. 

These delegations were in response to the October 23rd announcement from the  Ontario minister of municipal affairs and housing, Paul Calandra, that affected municipalities had 45 days to respond to his government’s policy reversal.

Before we get into those presentations, here is a bit of background on the situation.

On October 23rd Ontario’s minister of municipal affairs and housing Paul Calandra announced the reversal of his government’s plans which would have forced the extension of the urban boundaries of 12 Ontario municipalities.  In the case of Waterloo Region, this reversal could be accompanied by a return to the 2022 Regional Official Plan which was the product of an extensive public consultation and negotiation. 

This recent flip-flop by the PC government, follows the reversal of the Greenbelt development plans which received widespread condemnation, was the catalyst of province-wide protests, and is also the focus of an RCMP investigation.  

In April 2023, Ford’s Progressive Conservative government upended the plans of many municipalities by overturning their urban boundary and development plans, forcing municipalities to start new processes to approve previously protected land, for new urban sprawl. 

At the time of the original upending of the region’s official plan, local grassroots organisation Hold the Line WR were adamant the Region needed to fight back against the conservative government’s plans. Now, Sam Nabi, the director of the group, and Kevin Thomason of GREN are asking the regional council to reaffirm their commitment to the 2022 Regional Official Plan and to tell Minister Calandra, within his 45 day limit, that there will be no changes identified.


Poverty Reduction Forum encourages people to get involved in police budget consultations

by MP Holmes
Kitchener, ON

“Show up and tune in” was the message from the Poverty Reduction Forum, when asked how people can engage with 2024 police budget consultations. The Forum, which was hosted by the Kitchener Public Library and presented by the Waterloo Region Community Legal Services, was held on October 17, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

The Forum consisted of two four person panels that included outreach workers; people with lived experience of poverty; academics; a former politician; and social workers.

Some of the conversation at the Forum revolved around the problems and challenges when dealing with the police. Consistently, across the panels, delegates encouraged all members of the public to get involved in the community consultation process, in particular to attend the upcoming public consultations on the police budget on October 26 and November 6.

Earlier this year, the Waterloo Regional Council approved a motion that demanded the WRPS board consult with council and the public before approving its annual budget, in an effort to encourage transparency and improve relations between the police and the public. Up until now, Regional Council could only approve or reject the police budget and had no control over individual budget items or the process.

As reported by CKMS news last week, Regional Councillor Rob Deutschmann presented a motion to council to express dissatisfaction and disappointment in the engagement process so far and that the WRPS budget seems to have been finalized with neither public nor council input. That motion ultimately failed, though the vote was close.

At the Poverty Forum, advocates Kamil Ahmed, a community organizer and mediator at Community Justice Initiatives, and Sara Escobar, co-founder of Peregrine Outreach, both stressed the importance of public participation. Kamil also discussed the importance of gaining a wider perspective and understanding of the police’s increased budget requests.

The WRPS is the 12th largest police service in Canada and the 7th in Ontario. In 2023 the police budget was $214 million. Despite a surplus, the WRPS has asked their 2024 budget to be increased by $16 million, in large part to fund additional 18 new officers in 2024 and 2025. The reason, according to police, is because officer staffing in the region has fallen short of other major municipalities, noting that as the population has grown in size, staffing has not increased.

To bolster their request, the police pointed to the rise in crime from 2012 to 2021 has risen 34 percent.

The Police budget public consultations begin with a virtual meeting on Thursday, October 26 at 1 pm. You can join this consultation by watching on Waterloo Regional Police Service Board’s YouTube channel.


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CKMS News -2023-10- 20- Councilor Deutschmann wants police to adhere to council resolution on draft budget presentation.

CKMS News – 2023-10-20 – Councilor Deutschmann wants police to adhere to council resolutions.

by: dan kellar

On Wednesday October 18th, regional councilor Rob Deutschmann presented a motion asking council to “express its dissatisfaction and disappointment” in the “Waterloo Region Police Services Board and the Waterloo Region Police Service Chief of Police”.  

The motion in response to the police board ignoring a February 2023 resolution from the regional council which asked the police to present their draft budget ahead of the budget being approved by the police board. Deutschmann says the police have ignored 3 follow up requests for engagement ahead of this year’s budget season.

Further, Deutschmann’s new motion again calls for the police to present their draft budget to the regional council before it is approved at the police board in the coming weeks.

In a response to questions posed by CKMS News regarding the police presenting their draft budget as previously requested, Cherri Greeno the director of corporate affairs for the Waterloo police indicated the police were not planning to present their draft budget ahead of time saying:

“The 2024 WRPS Operating and Capital Budget will be presented to Waterloo Regional Council on November 22, 2023.” Greeno Added “Two public engagement sessions are being held on October 26, 2023 and November 6, 2023.”  The police board will be meeting on November 15th to approve the police budget.

Greeno concluded “WRPS is confident that through this enhanced and purposeful engagement with Regional Council, that we will build on our existing relationship of collaboration and trust while continuing to ensure that all people in Waterloo Region are safe and feel safe.”

At the meeting councilor Deutschmann presented his argument to have council again ask police for respectful collaboration in finalising the budget, and without any questions from other councilors, a vote was soon called. 

In the end the vote failed after a 6-6 tie as councilors Deutschmann, Liggett, Wolf, James, Williams, and Huinink voted for the resolution, while Councilors Shantz, Redman, Foxton, Erb, Harris, and Craig voted against it. Councilors Salonen, Vrbanovic, Nowak, and McCabe were not present for the vote. Of the 6 “no” votes, Councilors Redman, Shantz, and Craig are all on the police services board.

Today’s episode features an interview with Waterloo Regional councilor Rob Deutschmann, discussing the motivations behind his motion including how the police ignoring the council’s previous requests for early engagement are “disrespectful” and quite disruptive to the overall budget process as it typically represents around ⅓ of the overall budget. 

Kitchener City Council approves motion to examine construction of fourplexes on single residential lots

by MP Holmes
Kitchener, Ontario

Kitchener City council unanimously passed a new motion to begin the process to increase the missing middle housing stock by allowing fourplexes on single residential lots.

The housing advocacy group YIMBY delegated in favour of the motion at the Council meeting. “YIMBY” is an acronym which stands for “Yes In My Back Yard”.

The ‘missing middle’ is defined as medium-density housing that sits somewhere between single-family residential properties and high-rise condominiums. The intention behind missing middle housing is that it is cheaper for each resident because costs of living on a property are split between four residents rather than one. Currently, fourplexes need special zoning approvals to be built in Kitchener. This new possible bylaw would legally allow fourplexes under the municipality’s zoning bylaw, so special permission to build will not be needed.

Councillors were mostly open and optimistic although wary of opposition. Councillor Paul Singh encouraged city staff to prioritise issues of parking in their development. Councillor Debbie Chapman raised the issue of affordability and how the city will ensure this initiative doesn’t fall prey to the allure of AirBnB revenue, and Councillor Bill Ioannidis lamented the community’s expectations related to housing.

The idea of fourplexes has been brought forward in other Ontario municipalities. Mississauga has decided to not move forward on fourplexes, while Toronto passed a motion to allow fourplexes back in May.

The motion in Kitchener City Council was similar to a motion the mayor of Guelph brought to a council meeting in Guelph on Tuesday afternoon. That motion was passed unanimously as well. Waterloo City Councillor Royce Bodaly has also brought forward a motion looking at permitting four units on one lot in Waterloo. That motion is set to be discussed at the October 30 Council meeting.

The music on today’s show is called “Maple Music” by Godmode courtesy of by Expectantly Maple Music on youtube.

Listen to the radio story above:


CKMS News -2023-10-17- Radio Waterloo Responds to Meta’s C-18 Reaction

CKMS News – 2023-10-17- CKMS Responds to Meta’s C-18 Reaction

by: dan kellar

Waterloo – “We have not been able to engage with any of our listeners on those platforms… We’re just getting caught up in it and it is not very fair to us.” is how Radio Waterloo’s president Nat Persaud responded when asked by CKMS News about the effects of Meta’s actions which de-platformed and restricted the community radio station’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

Similar to many community radio station across the country, Radio Waterloo, also known as CKMS, started to see restrictions on Facebook posts in August, and by September the station’s Facebook posts and profile were not viewable by folks inside of Canada. In early October, Radio Waterloo’s Instagram account had the same restrictions.

Meta has introduced restrictions on their platforms in response to the Canadian government’s bill C-18, which became law in June 2023 and is on track to come into full force in December. The bill, known as the Online News Act, in part seeks to impose fees on large social media and search engine companies for allowing Canadian created news content to be shared as links on their platforms, in effect charging the internet companies for re-publishing content if they profit from the interaction through selling advertising space or collecting and selling user info.  

At this time, only Google and Meta meet the triggering guidelines of the legislation, though if other companies increase their revenues or presence in Canada, they too would have to follow the new regulations. Google has said they will implement their reaction to C-18 in December, with the delisting of news from the platform. 

For today’s show, CKMS News spoke with CKMS President Nat Persaud and CKMS News editor Bob Jonkman, who are both members of the station’s technical team, and Barry Rooke, the executive director of the National Community and Campus Radio Association.  The interviews included questions about the effects of bill C-18 on station operations, adaptations to the social media restrictions (like joining the fediverse), and ideas of the role of the government in funding community radio and local news.

For more in-depth background and analysis on Bill C-18, lawyer Michael Geist has discussed C-18 thoroughly on his website and podcast, which you can find at

Waterloo Region community responds with generosity after community fridge theft


By MP Holmes
Kitchener, Ontario

A gathering was held on Sunday to celebrate the return of a community fridge and the community collaboration that made it happen.

The fridge, which is run by the 519 Community Collective and located behind the Café Pyrus outpost at the Spur Line and Roger Street, had been at the location for almost two years before it was stolen in August.

Although the theft shocked the community, the theft was not reported to the police and there are no suspects. The incident was well covered by major media outlets, and thanks to that exposure, many individuals and businesses have contributed to the installation of two new fridges.

Several members of the community and the 519 Community Collective spoke to CKMS News about the theft and subsequent response. Lisa Braun, one of the 519 Community Collective Board members, explained the community’s reaction to the original theft, and Tyzun James, owner of the Café Pyrus Outpost, which hosts the fridge, also noted the outpouring of support. Julie Sawatzky, the founder and also a board member of the 519 Community Collective, described the collective’s stoic and resilient response to the theft.

About 25 people attended the early afternoon ceremony on Sunday October 15, including Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic who said, “There are many challenges around the community right now for some folks in terms of food security and this is a very meaningful way to help those who need supports to get access to them.”

The 519 Community Collective is a non-profit Kitchener-based organization with eleven different programs that cater to those who are in need across the region. At this time of year, with Thanksgiving and Christmas weighing heavy on organization’s like the 519 Community Collective, Julie Sawatzky explained that they are focusing their efforts and how they are planning to deal with additional demand.  “We just finished our Thanksgiving community event where we served over 800 hot turkey dinners to the community, and we’re super excited that we’re going to be doing something similar this Christmas.”

The fridge will return to normal operations within the week. Food donations can be made at the fridge directly, and other donations, including monetary donations, can be made by contacting the 519 Community Collective.

The music on today’s show is called “Maple Music” by Godmode courtesy of by Expectantly Maple Music on youtube.

Listen to the radio story below:



The music on today’s show is called “Maple Music” by Godmode courtesy of by Expectantly Maple Music on youtube.