About Us

Do you seek community-based responses to current social challenges?


The idea for a social planning council emerged in the 1950's when local leaders recognized the need for reliable information management about social services and wanted
to build capacity to respond to changing needs in the community.

Craving some history? A Snippet of History of the Social Development Centre Waterloo Region.

Every Voice Counts

In the early years, volunteers did the work of the Council, addressing issues such as affordable housing and the needs of groups such as youth, seniors and persons with different abilities. Our continuing concern about the issues faced by these and other vulnerable members of our community have been a beacon shedding light on unresolved gaps in services and policy, as well as illuminating future trends and opportunities.

50 Years: Looking to our past to set direction for our future!

2017 Activity Report  
2016 Annual Activity Report Presentation2016 Financial Summary Report 
2015 Annual Report Presentation
2014 Annual Activity Report Presentation
2013 Annual Report 

Meet our Board 

Board of Directors 2018-2019:

Nathan Pike, Treasurer
Brad Ullner, Director
Chris Hodnett, Director
Barbara Spronk, Director
Diana Bumstead, Director
Ambika Opal,  Director

Nomination Package for a Board Poistion

Our Priorities 2018-2019 

At the 2018 Annual General Meeting, on June 28th, our priorities have evolved and merged into three main streams of activity: 

  • Advanced Service Systems Navigation
  • Social Inclusion and Meaningful Engagement 
  • Networking of lived-experience groups, small organizaitons and nonprofits

And they have evolved from the 2014 -2018 priorities:

  • Decent Lives in Strong Neighbourhoods
  • Access to Information about Social Services and Community Supports 

The process that led us to reaffirm our role and our approach in the community as we set our priorities for the next 4 years

Our Vision

Fair and equitable access to social, economic and political life for everyone in Waterloo Region.

Our Mandate

The Social Development Centre Waterloo Region is a learning organization that supports all voices in creation of community wide solutions ensuring that lived experience is the basis for collective action.

Our Strategies

  • Creating open forums and supporting lived experience groups that promote meaningful participation and deliberation
  •  Designing collaborative approaches to research that draw policy lessons from lived experiences     
  •  Disseminating information resources and tools that support navigation and transformation of social service systems.

Our Goals

1. Increase citizen participation in social, economic and political life of the community.

2. Increase understanding of social context, resources, assets, issues and challenges of the local community for those who need this knowledge to take action.

3. Build the social infrastructure of the community – people, organizations, services, policy.

4. Reduce inequitable access to information particularly the one resulting from emerging technologies. 

Our Values

Social Justice We are committed to equal treatment and fair access for all members of the community.

Participatory Democracy We value democracy practiced daily and encourage everyone to participate in decisions or on issues that affect people.

Community Knowledge We believe local community based knowledge is a public good and is essential to help all stakeholders understand the community and its people, assets, resources and needs.

Diversity We recognize, highly value and seek out the multi-dimensional character of community members which includes a rich variety of backgrounds, abilities and experiences.

Relationship Building (Social Capital) We are committed to building positive relationships in all areas of community and in our face to face contacts, organizational connections and community action.

Our Operating Principles

Community We focus on geographic community where we find issues and seek solutions. We acknowledge and work with communities of interest as ways people come together to improve quality of life.

Accountability We are accountable to the community and seek direction from those who use our services and from our membership. Our governing board is elected annually by community members.

Independence Being community-driven and accountable, we have greater freedom than public sector organizations or direct service providers, to critique existing policies and systems or to propose alternatives.

Knowledge-based Action We link independent research and lived community experience to the development of action proposals and solutions to identified problems that eliminate inequity and injustice.

Inclusion We aim to engage everyone, especially those who voices are not typically heard. When we do engage we will be mindful of how we do this to be as inclusive as possible. Collaboration We work in partnership and collaboration with others to share resources, expertise and/or experience.

Effectiveness and Efficiency We aim to provide effective services based on efficient operations and innovative use of technology that builds on our long tradition of knowledge management and community engagement skills.

Our Affiliations