The Region of Waterloo is going ahead with a revised policy that aims to eradicate Islamophobia.

Councillors unanimously voted in favour of the policy Wednesday night that will see Jan. 29 recognized as a day of mourning in remembrance of the Quebec City mosque attack, anti-Islamophobia training for staff, amend the code of conduct to address harassment based on race, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation, and engage area municipalities to consider similar bylaws.

"I'm looking forward to the difficult work that is ahead and that we can find many ways as a region to continue to support this," said Coun. Jim Erb.

A previous attempt to pass the policy failed around a month ago due to objections from key community group Coalition of Muslim Women K-W.

They noted that no money was attached to back up a program that is seeing federal funding pulled.

On Wednesday, council approved up $100,000 for the coalition's Hate or Discrimination Reporting and Support Program for 12 months beginning on April 1.

"Islamophobia happens at the intersection of racism, xenophobia, anti-Islam, anti-Muslim biases, and prejudices," said Fauzia Mazhar with the coalition.

Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic adds that the set of recommendations speaks to the seriousness of an increasingly disturbing trend of hate against Muslims.

"Inevitably, there will be more work that needs to be done even beyond this, but there always needs to be a starting point," he said. "I think this reflects that and speaks to the values we share as a region."

The region is also committing to develop longer-term investments and funding programs aligned with its goals for community safety and well-being.

The latest Statistics Canada figures for police-reported hate crime incidents tied to race, ethnicity, and religion, rose from 1,126 in 2016 to 2,109 in 2020 across the country.

"For me this work is not only professional, but personal," said Fauzia Baig, the director of equity, diversity, and inclusion for the region. "Recent events continue to reinforce how important it is to acknowledge and track acts of hate, the impact on communities and families, and to find ways to act and counter these."

The federal government is also planning on appoint a special representative to combat Islamophobia as part of Canada's anti-racism strategy.