Copyright © 2017 Federation of Students ~ Your Student Union.
The Municipal Affairs Commission's (MAC) advocate on behalf of students on all things local!
We work with municipal staff, elected officials and community organizations to provide students with the opportunities and services necessary for a positive community experience while studying at the University of Waterloo. Our projects include representing UW students at the City of Waterloo’s Town and Gown committee and UPass fee and contract negotiations.
We are working with the City of Waterloo to develop a central resource for students to access support on local-level issues such as housing and transit. You will be able to find it at waterloo.ca/students External Link in Winter 2016. Meanwhile, you should be aware of the following resources
- Need help finding a place or signing a lease, check out UW Off-Campus Housing at uwaterloo.ca/off-campus-housing External Link
- Want to know your rights as a tenant? Check out this helpful document, Residential Tenancies Act (DOCX), courtesy of our friends at WLU Students Union.
- To report a by-law complaint in the City of Waterloo call 519-747-8785 during office hours. On evenings and weekends, call the Waterloo Regional Police Service at 519-653-7700 and ask for dispatch.
For more information, or to voice a concern about any local issue, please contact Antonio Brieva (Municipal Affairs Commissioner) at email@example.com.
As a student in Waterloo, there are two smartphone apps that you will want to download. Grand River Transit app with bus schedules and real-time updates is called "GRT EasyGO" and is available on all major app stores. The City of Waterloo also has called "PingStreet" which allows you on-the-go access information about living in Waterloo. It also has a built-in function for reporting by-law complaints.
Grand River Transit operates all public transit services in the Region of Waterloo. For information about schedules and services, visit the GRT website External Link. The MAC has started a public transit feedback service which we will use to collect data and lobby GRT for service improvements. To tell us about your transit experience, by completing the GRT Transit Survey External Link.
In 2017, Waterloo Region will welcome the ION, a light-rain transit system that will run from north Waterloo to south Kitchener, including stops on uWaterloo campus and Uptown Waterloo. For ION progress reports, visit the ION website External Link.
All low-density rental housing properties in the City of Waterloo must have a licence to rent. This helps ensure that properties are safe and adequately maintained. So before signing a lease, find out if your unit is licensed External Link!
Feds advocates to municipal and provincial levels of government to ensure that students' rights as tenants are respected by landlords and property managers. We also work with local partners to educate students on their rights and responsibilities as tenants. Check out this helpful document, Residential Tenancies Act (DOCX), about your tenants rights, courtesy of our friends at WLUSU.
Know Your Rights As A Tenant
If you are renting in Waterloo or Kitchener, be sure to know your rights before and after signing a lease or rental agreement. Tenants are protected under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), except when subletting or sharing any amenities with the owner (such as a bathroom or kitchen). Read more about what you should know and what rights you have as a tenant.
What tenants cannot be asked for/to do:
- Extra charges
- Advance payments
- Purchase other items for the apartment to get the apartment (ex. Purchase lighting, curtains, etc. before moving in).
- Post-dated cheques
- Automatic rent payments
- Discriminate against you based on race, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, nationality, religion, disability, if you receive social assistance, or if you have children
- Damage deposit
- Commission Cut off or interfere with any vital services such as supply of water, electricity or heat
- Evict you or lock you out without first getting an order from the Landlord and Tenant board
- Raise your rent for the first 12 months after you first move in. After that, they must give you 90 days written notice before they can increase rent. Once they increase rent, they cannot increase it again for another 12 months. They also cannot raise it more than 2%.
Other things tenants should know:
- Don't sign a rental unit that isn't completed (either structure or renovations)
- You need to get your own insurance to have your personal items be covered, you are not covered under your landlord's insurance.
- Obtain a rent receipt each time you pay your rent as proof and then you may use it for an income tax return.
- Your landlord must pay you your interest on your rent deposit each year.
- Your landlord is responsible for maintenance and repair of your place to ensure it is fit to live in, even if you knew of a problem prior to moving in as well as even if your lease said "as is".
- Your landlord must give you notice in writing 24 hours ahead of time before entering the premises. Your landlord can only enter your place between 8am - 8pm. The only times your landlord can enter without notice is if there is an emergency or your lease agreement says it gives you cleaning services.
- After your fixed term lease comes up, your landlord might offer for you to sign another year lease or you can move out or continue on a month-to-month basis.
- If you pay rent by the month, you must provide 60 days' notice to move out.
Make sure to read your lease or rental agreement carefully before signing. If you have any specific questions, you can contact Waterloo Region Community Legal Services:
Facebook: Waterloo Region Community Legal Services
You can also contact your Feds Vice President Education, Andrew Clubine, at firstname.lastname@example.org, for more general information.
Living In The Community
Whether living in residence or off-campus, students are members of their local community. This comes with rights and responsibilities. We encourages students to be respectful of their neighbours and to be good ambassadors of the University of Waterloo in the community. Should you ever have a by-law concern (ex. noise or nuisance complaints), you can report it to your city's bylaw department.
To report a by-law complaint in the City of Waterloo call 519-747-8785 during office hours. On evenings and weekends, call the Waterloo Regional Police Service at 519-653-7700 and ask for dispatch.
In Waterloo, we have a City Council and a Regional Council. Between these two tiers of government, dozens of services are provided to citizens including:
- By-law enforcement
- Community housing
- Community services
- Economic development
- Leaf collection and snow removal
- Planning, development, parks and roadways
- Public transit (Grand River Transit and ION LRT)
- Police, fire and emergency services
- Public health
- Recreation, culture and leisure programs and facilities
- Waste management and water treatment
- Waterloo Regional International Airport
Our satellite campuses in Waterloo Region - the schools of Pharmacy and Architecture - share the same regional government as Main Campus, but are located in the cities of Kitchener and Cambridge, respectively. Our satellite campus in Stratford has a single-tier local government: the City of Stratford. The Education and Internal departments advocate on behalf of uWaterloo undergraduate students in all of these municipalities.
Click on the links below to find your elected representatives on municipal councils. Any questions about your local issues or ideas for how to improve student-community relations can be sent to your councillor.
- Region of Waterloo External Link
- City of Waterloo External Link
- City of Cambridge External Link
- City of Kitchener External Link
- City of Stratford External Link
Students have a lot of power! In the City of Waterloo, there are 40,000 students, and across Canada there are almost 2 million. Speak up and you will have an impact!
Talk to a Politician
Politicians are elected to serve and represent their constituents. Local politicians, Members of Parliament, Members of Provincial Parliament, Regional Councillors and City Councillors want to hear from you. The University of Waterloo main campus is located in the federal and provincial ridings of Kitchener-Waterloo, and Ward 6 in the City of Waterloo. Follow politicians on Twitter, send them letters, or visit their offices.
Hon. Bardish Chagger
Coun. Jeff Henry