Keeping Kitchener-Waterloo Safe: A Community Guide

We’re passionate about building a safe community in Kitchener-Waterloo. It’s important to know what our responsibilities as citizens are and when to report a problem. By being informed and acting correctly, we are choosing to become responsible citizens. Further, we are contribution, individual by individual, to building a better Kitchener-Waterloo.

In the spirit of good neighbourliness, here’s a helpful guide to safety in our community.

Backyard Pools

To keep swimming safe and fun, the city of Kitchener has a list of pool rules which can be printed off and posted in your backyard pool. As well, a a pool safety checklist is available for download, containing tips like “keep gates to pool area latched at all times” and “alcohol and swimming do not mix”.

A supervisor should be designated for any pool area. The city of Kitchener recommends that this person know basic water rescue and first aid knowledge, including how to call 911 during an emergency, and the Lifesaving Society recommends a minimum of Bronze Cross and Standard First Aid certification for supervisors.

For pool fences, Kitchener has a series of relevant bylaws to consider. This pamphlet offers some helpful information about fence-building, including around pools, regulations in Kitchener. For more information about permit requirements for all aspects of backyard pool installation, call 519-741-2312.

To register for a swimming or pool safety course through Active Kitchener, please click here.

Encountering Wild Animals

Both Kitchener and Waterloo do not want residents to feed wild animals. Both cities have experienced animals, such as coyotes, entering communities to find food. This has been heightened by urban development into green space. This puts the entire community at risk, especially smaller animals (e.g. smaller dogs and cat breeds). 

To avoid incidents, dogs should be on leashes and residents should utilize caution when accessing woodlots. Should a resident come into contact with a coyote, they should back away slowly, remaining calm and allowing the animal room to escape. 

Information or concerns about coyotes (especially abnormal behaviour) can be reported to the Ministry of Natural Resources or Forestry Guelph District by calling 519-826-4955 ext. 3 or by emailing nrisc@ontario.ca. If someone is in danger, please call 911.

A FAQ sheet is available from Coyote Watch Canada with helpful information and Ontario.ca has helpful links for preventing conflict with various animals. 

Traffic and Construction

Kitchener maintains hundreds of kilometres of roadways and thousands of construction zones. There are many ways to be safe when driving on these roads or near these zones. Slowing down, considering alternate routes, following the signs and watching for trucks are all ways to ensure safe travel. A construction schedule is available on the Kitchener city site. Information on road closures in Waterloo, due to construction or otherwise, is available here.

For tips on staying safe in construction zones, this guide can help. If you’re approaching the scene of an accident, be sure to follow this approach.

Emergency Aervices

There are a number of emergency services in the community to be aware of. The hospitals in the Kitchener-Waterloo area include Grand River Hospital, St. Mary's General Hospital and Cambridge Memorial Hospital (Cambridge). There are a number of walk-in clinics as well which can be located through Ontario.ca. The Region of Waterloo has a distinct EMS (ambulance) service and public health branch, as well as a police service. Fire rescue, however, is local with the Kitchener Fire Department and Waterloo Fire Department providing coverage.

Extreme Weather

During extreme weather conditions, including extreme cold or heat, members of the public can visit a number of locations during the day around Kitchener-Waterloo for relief. Here is a list of Kitchener sites you can visit and here is a list of Waterloo sites you can visit. For after-hours relief, the Region of Waterloo offers a number of emergency shelters.

Environment Canada is a great resource for weather-related article and updates.

Fireworks Safety

Fireworks are a lot of fun - but they can be unsafe if handled poorly. 

Both Kitchener and Waterloo have specific rules about fireworks. Kitchener, for example, only allows fireworks to be set off on Victoria Day, Canada Day and Diwali, as well as the day immediately preceding and following each of these holidays. Waterloo also fireworks on all of the above days, as well as Chinese New Year, and the seven days before and after these holidays.

For a more detailed description of Kitchener’s bylaws, click this link. For more information on Waterloo’s bylaws, and information on enforcement, click here. For fireworks safety tips, check out our helpful guide.

Reporting a Local Problem

To report a traffic signal in the Region of Waterloo that doesn’t work, you can call 519-575-4400. Street lights, however, are city responsibility. To report a burnt out street light in Kitchener, please email CustomerService@KWHydro.ca with your name, phone number, location of the issue, nearest cross street, city or township and a description of what you saw. To report a burnt out street light in Waterloo, please call Waterloo North Hydro at 519-888-5577 or email operations@wnhydro.com.

For more information on reporting a problem to police in the region, please visit here.

To report any other problem, including fallen branches or cement cracks, you should contact the city directly. Waterloo’s city government has this helpful page on the reporting process, including information on complaints to specific departments. Kitchener’s city government, however, has a central input point for all issues, which is located here.

If you get injured on public property, we can help.

Harris Law is Kitchener-Waterloo’s top personal injury law firm, helping KW residents get the justice they deserve. For a free consultation, please call 519-725-8000.