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The City of Waterloo offers a range of incentives to attract business and growth.

The Brownfield Community Improvement Plan

Brownfields are properties that are undeveloped or previously developed, usually former industrial or commercial properties that are contaminated. A series of high-profile brownfield properties have been successfully redeveloped over the last 20 years, with a number of these properties assisting Waterloo in transitioning from an industrial to post-industrial economy.

  • the former Sunar Hauserman property, now Lutherwood retirement residence
  • the former Labatt's property, now the Terrace on the Square and Catalina Townhomes
  • the former Seagram's property, now the Seagram Lofts, CIGI, Balsillie School of International Affairs
  • The former La-Z Boy site, now the new Regional Police station and Columbia Corporate Centre
  • the former Canbar property, now being actively redeveloped as the Barrel Yards project

The Brownfield Community Improvement Plan (CIP) will attract potential investors and developers with its comprehensive tax incentives.

The Northdale Community Improvement Plan

This plan resulted in a land-use plan, community improvement plan and urban-design guidelines for this neighbourhood. Approved by Waterloo city council in June 2012, the plan resulted in a comprehensive planning and regulatory framework to guide change in Northdale.

The Stormwater Credit Program

The cities of Waterloo and Kitchener have developed a stormwater credit program that offers you financial incentives for reducing the amount of stormwater runoff and pollutants that enter the municipal stormwater-management system from your property.

The program offers incentives - including lower monthly stormwater management fees - to all ratepayers who demonstrate best practices in managing stormwater runoff.

The Uptown Waterloo Community Improvement Plan

The City of Waterloo is inviting interested organizations, property owners and/or commercial tenants in the Uptown Community Improvement Plan (CIP) Boundary to participate in this year's round of Uptown CIP Programs. Below are the 2017 program release dates.

Program schedule

The Fall 2017 CIP application round closed on Oct. 6, 2017. There will be a spring round of applications, dates to be determined.

For information on Tax Increment Grants (TIGS) and parking exceptions, which are available year round, please contact our office.

There are several ways uptown businesses, developers and investors can participate in this program.

Matching grants

Façade improvement grant
  • Improve the appearance of the streetscape and buildings, and conserve heritage properties in the CIP boundary.
  • A maximum matching grant of $10,000 per street-facing façade or $15,000 for both facades on a corner lot is available.
  • Maximum grants for non-residential buildings within the UpTown Waterloo Business Improvement Area (BIA) boundary will be doubled in the short term to a maximum grant of $20,000 per project/property or $30,000 for both facades on a corner lot.
  • An additional matching grant of up to $5,000 per building is available where a property is designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.
Study grant 
  • This program is intended to encourage interested parties to prepare and submit high quality professional urban design studies and drawings, as well as heritage feasibility studies and assessments to the City of Waterloo.
  • There is a matching grant of up to $3,000 per project/property.
 Fee grant
  • This grant is intended to facilitate renovations and small expansions through the provision of an additional financial incentive to offset planning and development fees. The maximum grant available is $10,000 per property/project. 
Major activity grant
  • Large re-urbanization projects (over 5,000 square feet) that create new floor space for affordable housing uses and/or non-residential uses that include an office employment component are eligible for this grant.
  • Additional incentives will be provided for developments that include heritage conservation and/or sustainable building design.
Minor activity grant 
  • This grant is intended to facilitate small expansions and new construction that create spaces of up to 464.5 square metres (5,000 square feet) for affordable housing uses and/or office employment uses.
  • The program provides additional incentive for development that includes heritage conservation and/or sustainable building design. There is a maximum grant of $50,000 per project/property.
  • Additionally, an interior grant includes specific criteria for small office conversions that will lead to greater employment in the uptown core.


Commercial building improvement loan
  • This loan will help fund interior renovations and maintenance that improve the usability and/or accessibility of non-residential buildings within the uptown core.
  • There is a maximum interest-free loan of $30,000 with a five-year term and potential partial loan forgiveness.


Parking exemption program
  • This program will facilitate small non-residential (with emphasis on office) expansions or changes in use where the developer is unable to provide the on-site parking as required by the city's zoning by-law.


More information

For more information on these programs and the Major Activity Grant Program and Parking Exemption Program (available year-round), please contact economic development staff. 

For applicants with projects that require site plan approval, please contact economic development staff to discuss timelines and award process. All projects must be awarded a grant first before any work is started.


Sandy Little
Economic Development Officer
P: 519-747-6064



CIGI Balsillie Campus, Waterloo

Balsillie School of International Affairs,
Auditorium stage. (Photo by Maris Mezulis)

Take advantage of these programs and incentives today!

For further information, contact the UpTown Business Improvement Area at 519-885-1921 or the City of Waterloo economic development team.

The Region of Waterloo is another great resource for incentive programs that may apply to specific projects and investments, such as the Brownfields Incentive Program.

A broad range of other incentives that provide greater financial and resource support are provided by the Province of Ontario and the Federal Government of Canada.

We also facilitate investment through other funding programs and opportunities, such as the Canada's Technology For Food (CTFF) initiative

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