LEWG By-laws subgroup

The meetings with the City of Kitchener By-law staff started in September 2022. The group identified initial questions that they wish to explore with the city staff: 

When were bylaws last updated?

What are the system problems bylaw is facing to apply human rights lens in their work?

How can the group assist bylaw with the knowledge and its community networks?

What would it take for bylaws not apply to homeless people until they are adequately housed?

What is Kitchener Bylaws role in Region’s Housing ecosystem?

Does bylaw understand neo-vagrancy laws and what would it take to remove them?

Is the staff trained properly in human rights approach, trauma informed work with homeless populations?

What implicit values, assumptions and mandate exist for bylaw?

How can the group assist bylaw with the knowledge, training and its community connections?


Initial Conversation with the Bylaw staff reiterate that the city council is responsible for by-law changes but that they regularly report to the senior leadership. The LEWG identified the tension that lived experience remains ignored or undermined in delegations or reports to the council and that the current ways to change current bylaws are inadequate. 

The agreement as mutual that bylaw staff can learn from the group or A Better Tent City and this way adopt the approaches they use to work with residents in the encampments. Suggestion was also made that the members of LEWG can work through their networks to support tenuous communication between enforcement and residents in encampments. 

Working Session with bylaw staff identified the opportunities to collaborate first by composing a case study on adapted approach to encampments based on the overall evolution of enforcement towards supports of the people living rough.