Skip to main content

Six Region of Waterloo councillors announce support for amalgamation

One unified city – that’s what six Region of Waterloo councillors say they want when it comes to the future of the region’s municipal governance.

The councillors hosted a news conference Wednesday morning to make the announcement, sharing statements and explaining why they’re pushing for amalgamation.

Those in attendance supporting the potential move were councillors Colleen James, Michael Harris, Kari Williams, Robert Deutschmann, Jim Erb and Chantal Huinink.

“The holistic approach, as a result, will maintain stronger arts and culture, social services, economic vitality,” Coun. James said during the press conference.

They said one unified city, as opposed to the seven separate municipalities that exist now, would better serve residents.

“Overall, I think we reorganizing the government to one level will save taxpayers money and will increase the level of service in the region [we] will be able to provide,” Coun. Williams said.

Regional Councillor Rob Deutschmann helped organize the conference after a discussion with Coun. James. He acknowledged that a press conference where six councillors make joint statements is “unchartered waters,” but he said they wanted to get the attention of residents and the province.

He said amalgamation would be “more effective and efficient in the future.”

“A partial amalgamation, such as the north and south of [Highway] 401, would be less effective than one unified, region-wide city,” Deutschmann said during the conference. “It would not allow for the true potential of the entire region to be maximized. As regional councillors we are seeing the impact of our growing community, the social impact and the rising costs associated with addressing the needs of our community.”

The news conference comes weeks after the Doug Ford government  announced the break up the Region of Peel, paving the way for Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon to become independent cities.

The Waterloo regional councillors who spoke Wednesday said it’s important for them to take a firm stance on the hot-button issue.

“We can't whisper. We’ve got to roar. We have to let people know what’s going on,” Coun. Deutschmann said.


Regional councillor Doug Craig, who represents the City of Cambridge, was not included in the press conference. Craig said he did not find out that it was happening until Wednesday morning.

“I’m shocked that they would act this way,” Coun. Craig told CTV News, after the conference ended. “It’s complete nonsense. We’re getting from these people or opinions you’re not getting any facts.”

The six councillors who spoke at the conference represent constituents in Kitchener and Waterloo.

“This group here talks about silos, collaboration, about stronger together and leaves out a city out, the City of Cambridge and four townships,” he said.

There are 15 Regional of Waterloo councillors, including mayors of cities and townships, plus the regional chair.

The six who banded together said amalgamation would be better for tax payers and for the future of the region. Craig thinks the opposite is true.

“You’ll get higher taxes. You’re going to end up having less input into the system because you’ll have less elected officials,” Coun. Craig said.


The six regional councils said the point of the news conference was to start a discussion and let the province know they are interested in amalgamation. Nothing is set in stone at this point.

“We have lots of research to do. Let’s keep talking. Let’s see what the numbers say,” Deutschmann said.

They admitted it is very early days, and they are open to different opinions and future discussions.

“Politics is a lot about agreeing to disagree respectfully, and I would hear their concerns particularly around maintaining community identity,” said Coun. Huinink after the conference.

Waterloo region is one of five in the province that will see a provincial facilitator appointed to assess what's working and what isn't in local government.

“We know that a provincial Facilitator will be coming in in the foreseeable future, and we have a solution to offer, and so we need to share that,” Coun. Huinink said. Top Stories

What you need to know about the election of a new Speaker

On Tuesday, MPs will be electing a new Speaker of the House of Commons, in the wake of Anthony Rota's resignation. It will be a day for the Canadian political history books, as well as a day full of pomp and procedure. Here's what you need to know about the role, the contenders, and the process.

Stay Connected