Vital Signs


Between 2007 and 2016, Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation measured the vitality of the Waterloo Region through Vital Signs®. In addition, we commissioned a study on Belonging to further understand the state of belonging in Kitchener, Waterloo and the surrounding areas, and to develop and prototype an approach for improving on the current state of belonging in Kitchener, Waterloo and surrounding area.

In 2017, a decision was made to align with Wellbeing Waterloo Region for our areas of focus for grants through our Smart and Caring Granting streams. The areas of focus include: Healthy Children & Youth, Social Inclusion and Affordable Housing.

Community Foundations of Canada is continuing to lead Vital Signs analysis in communities across Canada. Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation will stay connected to that work, and in future may determine it is important to participate in Vital Signs to effectively analyze and report on trends in Waterloo Region.

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Vital Signs Background in Waterloo Region

Waterloo Region's Vital Signs identified significant trends, and invited community supporters to assign grades in the following 11 key areas critical to Waterloo Region's quality of life: The Gap Between the Rich and Poor, Safety, Health and Wellness, Learning, Housing, Getting Started in Our Community, Arts and Culture, The Environment, Work, Belonging and Leadership, as well as Getting Around. There is also an economic context provided within the report.

The report card data was a compilation of many trusted research sources, much of them local.  The report assisted the community in making connections between issues and trends in different areas.

The four priority areas in Waterloo Region’s most recent report were: Belonging and LeadershipArts and CultureGetting StartedHealth and Wellness with a special focus on Getting Around.


We consulted with a number of community organizations and leaders, including the Region of Waterloo, Social Planning Councils, Canada's Technology Triangle, Local Health Integration Network etc. and gathered valuable research information from numerous other sources in the community. An expert resource panel of community leaders has provided insight into the data and indicators chosen for the report.

Data was collected from various trusted and respected sources including Statistics Canada, Ontario Municipal Benchmarking Initiative (OMBI), Municipal Performance Measurement Program (MPMP), Environment Canada, Region of Waterloo, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Elections Canada, Crime Severity Index, Ontario Education Quality and Accountability, and Industry Canada.

Waterloo Region's Vital Signs is based on a project of the Toronto Community Foundation and is coordinated nationally by Community Foundations of Canada.

Each community chooses its own indicators, but there are common themes and core indicators on which Community Foundations of Canada will issue a national report.  To find out more about Vital Signs reports published across Canada, visit


Knowledge Capital Goals

In 2006, University of Waterloo President David Johnston shared with the community his vision of making Waterloo Region Canada's Knowledge Capital by 2010. President Johnston has asked Waterloo Region's Vital Signs to assist him in capturing the metrics for this vision.


10 Knowledge Capital Goals

  1. Engage our community and school boards to provide educational experiences and outcomes embodying a culture of continuous learning, innovation, and achievement.  Click here for some metrics.
  2. Ensure our universities and colleges remain innovative leaders and are seen as outstanding across Canada.
  3. Waterloo Region should be one of the top three healthiest places to live in Canada.  Click here for some metrics.
  4. Attract and grow transformational investment in research and development. Click here for some metrics.
  5. Waterloo Region should be as good in social innovation as it is in technological innovation.  Click here for some metrics.
  6. Invest in "smart" infrastructure.  Click here for some metrics.
  7. Encourage immigration and integrate immigrants.  Click here for some metrics.
  8. Reduce poverty.  Click here and here for some metrics.
  9. Develop and promote a vibrant cultural community.  Click here for some metrics.
  10. Celebrate leadership. The Barn Raiser Award was set up in partnership with the University of Waterloo and the Waterloo Region Record to celebrate community leaders who contribute to the Waterloo tradition of inspiring, collaborative achievement.