Strategic Advisory Group on Downtown Guelph

In July 2022, Council endorsed the creation of a new Strategic Advisory Group on downtown, to function as a subcommittee of the Mayor’s Task Force on Homelessness and Community Safety.  Co-Chaired by Mayor Cam Guthrie and Guelph Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Shakiba Shayani, the group is building on the Task Force’s progress with a focus on Guelph’s downtown.

The Advisory Group has developed an Action Plan and operational plans are underway.

Meeting summaries

  • September 19, 2022: At its first meeting, the Advisory Group agreed on a vision and identified six priorities: accelerating permanent supportive housing; expanding daytime and overnight services and facilities; enhancing safety; strengthening resilience and prevention; making service changes for acute needs; and advocating for policy and system change (including funding from upper levels of government). Leads have been assigned to each priority, and they will create operational plans and bring them to the next meeting for discussion.
  • October 31, 2022: At the second meeting, the priority leads presented draft operation plans to the Advisory Group for discussion and input. Each draft operation plan identified potential tasks and solutions to address issues within their priority area for discussion. The Group discussed what resources will be needed to implement these solutions and identified any gaps to be addressed. The Advisory Group is working on prioritizing and finalizing the operational plans and will share the final document with the community after it has been confirmed at the next meeting.

Strategic Advisory Group on Downtown Guelph


A thriving downtown Guelph where:

  • everyone feels safe and everyone feels like they belong
  • the area is prosperous, activated and welcoming
  • effective health and social service delivery is provided

Action Plan

Immediate term

Activity Objectives Tactics in progress as of November, 2022
Accelerate permanent supportive housing Grace Gardens, Kindle, Delhi, and Wyndham House projects

Capital funding, operating funding, successful Home for Good campaign

  • Create and execute an advocacy strategy to secure operational funding
  • Amplify Home for Good campaign 
Enhance and expand daytime and overnight services and facilities More places for people in need to go at all times of the day that includes integrated wrap-around services
  • Approve funds to increase day-time service hours at Royal City Mission for 1 year while,
  • Conducting review of shelter system;
  • Integrating mental health and clinical care where possible;
  • Identifying how hygiene and storage facilities to be made available
Enhance safety (perceived and real)
  • Increased and improved presence of authority and supports (Police, Welcoming Streets Initiative, clean and litter-free streets)
  • Increased sense of safety
  • Multi-disciplinary teams (GPS, Welcoming Streets, By-law, outreach workers, etc.) to conduct morning check-ins
  • Increase Clean Streets Team impact
  • Cost analysis to be conducted on installing safety measures
  • Create crisis response plan
  • Identify cost of additional downtown resource officer coverage

Medium term

Activity Objectives Tactics in progress as of November, 2022
Service design and delivery changes for acute needs Enhance continuum of supportive housing services and wrap around supports

Data-based approach to what’s currently in place, what outcomes and resources can be coordinated better

Prepare an advocacy strategy to achieve comprehensive specialized health care services for high-risk populations, which would include:

  • Clinical treatment pathways
  • Crisis stabilization
  • Expansion of addiction treatment programming
Strengthen community resilience and prevention Community safety and wellbeing plan

Programming to proactively build resilience (e.g. neighbourhood groups, library, employment supports)

Medium to long-term

Activity Objectives Tactics in progress as of November, 2022
Policy and system change
  • Coordinated advocacy to upper levels of government
  • Engage Province in governance and delivery review of social and health services
  • Advocacy for adequate, sustainable funding for all aspects of the plan
To be determined


  • Mayor Cam Guthrie, Co-Chair
  • Shakiba Shayani, President & CEO, Guelph Chamber of Commerce, Co-Chair
  • Lloyd Longfield, MP Guelph
  • Mike Schreiner, MPP Guelph
  • Kelly Linton, Warden, County of Wellington
  • Glenna Banda, Executive Director, United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin
  • Chief Gord Cobey, Guelph Police Service
  • Helen Fishburn, Executive Director, Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington
  • Kristen Kerr, Executive Director, Stonehenge Therapeutic Community
  • Steve Kraft, CEO, Guelph Public Library
  • Melissa Kwiatkowski, Chief Executive Officer, Guelph Community Health Centre
  • Stacey Laughlin, Downtown Revitalization Advisor, City of Guelph
  • Dominica McPherson, Director, Guelph & Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination
  • Ben Minnett, Co-owner, The Bookshelf
  • Mark Poste, Director of Housing, County of Wellington
  • Scott Stewart, CAO, City of Guelph
  • Marty Williams, Executive Director, Downtown Guelph Business Association

For more information:

Juzbi Walia, Communications Advisor
Mayor’s Office
[email protected]