The Region of Waterloo is a two-tier government. The upper tier is the Region of Waterloo. The lower tier consists of seven area municipalities: three cities (Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo) and four townships (North Dumfries, Wellesley, Wilmot, and Woolwich).
The elected body that governs the upper-tier Region of Waterloo is called Regional Council. Its membership consists of:
Each of the seven area municipalities has a mayor and a ward council, consisting of ward councillors. The number of ward councillors varies from municipality to municipality.
Not including school boards, voters will be able to cast votes for the following positions municipally:
For a deeper exploration of this municipal structure, listen to this recording of the Communitech Summer School: Civics 101 panel discussion with outgoing chair Ken Seiling and political science professor Robert J. Williams.
Unlike provincial or federal politics, the Regional Chair does not set policy alone, and is not the leader of a party. Rather, the Regional Chair gets one vote on council votes, just as other members of council do.
The regional and area municipal governments each have their own jurdisdictions, and understanding who does what can get complicated. For example, some roads (usually major and arterial roads) are designated as regional roads and are controlled by the Region, while other roads are controlled by the municipality. You can find a list of regional roads on the Region of Waterloo website.
Also on the Region of Waterloo website you can find a more detailed list of who does what.
Some of the more prominent roles the Region is responsible for include:
Some of the prominent roles played by the area municipalities include:
That’s a long list of things that have a direct impact on your daily life.
Karen Redman’s campaign page has an informative list of responsibilities broken across the different levels of government, including provincial and federal levels. (Note that linking to this page does not imply endorsement of the candidate. It is just a nice list.)