Established in 1987, Pragma Council is a forum of business, education and government leaders that meet at the University of Waterloo semi-annually to discuss issues relating to economic growth, the environment, development and land use change, and, in general, the quality of life in Canada.

Membership includes individuals who have extensive professional experience and broad expertise in planning, environment, and the development of our human and fiscal resources. Representation is from a wide range of fields and varying degrees of knowledge, perspectives and personal viewpoints.

One can best describe the conference sessions as similar to a think-tank, whereby participants (limited to approximately 28-30 people) engage in a free debate on current issues. Since several of Pragma's members are Planning alumni, Pragma also helps keep the Planning programs and research here at Waterloo current.


  • to provide financial and other support for School of Planning projects such as field trips and student awards
  • to support a planner-in-residence program that allows an experienced professional to spend time in the School teaching and advising students
  • to collectively address problems of common concern that are linked to the challenges of growth and change in society, present and future
  • to serve as an advisory body to Waterloo's Planning program, giving advice and assistance to ensure programs and research remain relevant and effective

Discussion topics

The following are examples of issues that have been discussed at Pragma conferences:

  • The changing role of Federal and Provincial Governments - immigration
  • The case for a Federal role in urban issues

Pragma conferences provide opportunities for graduate and senior level students to attend sessions and discussions. Pragma also holds a dinner session in conjunction with every meeting and invites students to come and mingle with the members of Pragma.


Benefits of attending the Pragma seminars and dinners include:

  • opportunities to network and exchange ideas with professionals who bring a broad range of career experiences, personal insights and perspectives to urban and environmental issues
  • information regarding current issues and new research activity
  • review and serious consideration of development issues that are of particular interest and concern to council members


Pragma members include participants from many varied employment background and experience. The following is a partial list of people and agencies represented at Pragma:

  • Chairman, GO Transit - Toronto, ON
  • Chief of Technology Officer, Trilogic Technologies Inc. - Vancouver, BC
  • General Manager, Corporate Services - Burlington, ON
  • President, C. Fleming Developments Ltd. - Ottawa, ON
  • President and CEO, The Conference Board of Canada - Ottawa, ON
  • President, Urban Development Institute - Toronto, ON
  • Chairman, Regional Municipality of Waterloo - Waterloo, ON

Upcoming conference - Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Previous conferences


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