Quebec

Name of Act/Regulations

Cooperatives Act, RSQ c. C-67.2
Chapter 4 of Title 2 — Special Provisions on Certain Co-operatives deals specifically with housing coops. This part does not set out specific steps for accepting new members or evicting members.
canlii.ca/en/qc/laws/stat/rsq-c-c-67.2/latest/rsq-c-c-67.2.html

Regulations under the Co-operatives Act, 2005 GOQ 2, 4736
www2.publicationsduquebec.gouv.qc.ca/dynamicSearch/telecharge.php?type=2&file=/C_67_2/C67_2R1_A.HTM

Housing coops must also comply with landlord/tenant legislation as set out in the Quebec Civil Code. (See Landlord and Tenant Legislation below.)

Admitting New Members

The process for admitting new members is set out in the coop's bylaws.

A minor may be designated as a member of a housing coop, regardless of age. When the minor is 14 years of age or older, he or she is deemed to be a person of full age for things related to coop membership.

A person becomes a member of the coop once:

  • the application for membership is approved by the board
  • he or she signs an agreement promising to comply with the bylaws
  • he or she pays a membership fee.

A new member of a coop may be subject to a trial period of not more than 6 months. During that time, the person is known as an auxiliary member. An auxiliary member cannot vote or be a director.

Obligations of the Members to the Coop and of the Coop to its Members

Cooperative Basis

The coop and its members are subject to the following rules:

  • membership in the coop is subject to members using the coop's services and the coop's ability to provide its members with the services
  • each member has only one vote
  • a reserve must be established
  • cooperation must be promoted among members, between the members and the cooperative, and between the coop and other coop organizations
  • the coop must promote coop related trainings for members, directors and employees, and inform the public of the nature and advantages of coops.  

Articles

Articles are the originating documents that create a housing coop. Articles include the name of the housing coop (including the word "co-operative", “cooperative” or “co-op” in its name) and the address of the coop. Members must comply with the articles of the coop.

Members can vote to make changes to the articles by adopting a bylaw to do so at either the annual general meeting or a special meeting called for that purpose. To pass, the bylaw must receive at least two-thirds of the votes cast.

Bylaws

Both the Act and Regulations refer to many aspects coop organization, operation and management that can be made the subject of bylaws. However, only two bylaws are required:

  • Housing coops are required to adopt a bylaw dealing with mediation of disputes
  • If the coop wants to lease a unit to two members or lease a unit to a member on a trial basis, this must be authorized by bylaw.

Apart from the above, there are no specific requirements for the bylaws of housing coops. The Quebec Act does not require that the bylaws be approved prior to incorporation.

Meetings

A housing coop must hold at least one members' meeting, called an annual general meeting, no later than 4 months after the end of the fiscal year of the coop.

Board of Directors

The number of directors is determined by the coop's bylaws, but cannot be fewer than three or more than fifteen. The Act sets out rules for who may serve as a director:

  • Members can be directors
  • Employees of the coop may not be directors unless the bylaws provide otherwise
  • Minors can be directors.

The term of office of a director is one year unless a different term is set out in the bylaws. When the term is set in the bylaws, it must be no longer than three years.

Access to Information

A housing coop must allow its members to examine certain documents of the coop during normal business hours, and members are allowed to make copies of the documents. These documents include:

  • the articles
  • the coop's bylaws
  • member agreement not to elect directors for one year, where applicable
  • the register of directors
  • the minutes of all meetings of members and committees
  • the register of all transfers of securities
  • the resolutions of its general meetings
  • a list of members.

Offences

A coop that is guilty of an offence under the Coop Act can be fined up to $10,000 and up to $20,000 for repeat offences.

Landlord/Tenant Legislation

Housing coops must also comply with landlord/tenant legislation as set out in the Quebec Civil Code. The Régie du logement, the body that deals with landlord/tenant matters, will not deal with matters involving housing charges or matters covered in the bylaws of the housing coop, since members vote democratically and agree to abide by the bylaws. However, a member can submit to the Régie du logement matters relating to the right to occupy his or her unit. Alternatively, a coop has recourse before the Régie du logement to terminate a lease with a tenant. Once the tenant loses his membership status, the coop will have grounds to expel him or her from the coop.

The Régie du logement will also deal with issues surrounding a housing coop's failure to meet its obligations to its members and members failing to meet their obligations to the housing coop. For example, although the Régie du logement will not deal with complaints involving the increase of housing charges, the Régie du logement will help a housing coop collect housing charge arrears from a member or former member.

Eviction/Expulsion of Members

Grounds for Terminating (Evicting) a Member

The coop bylaws, in accordance with the Act, set out how a member can be evicted from a coop. The Act provides a fairly specific framework for the expulsion of members. The coop can evict a member if the member:

  • has not used the coop's services
  • fails to comply with the coop's bylaws
  • has not paid for the qualifying shares as required in the bylaws or has had his or her qualifying shares taken away
  • fails to meet his or her undertakings with respect to the coop
  • competes with the coop.

The board can suspend a member's right to vote at a members' meeting if, in the two fiscal years before the meeting, the member has not done business with the coop, as may be set out in the bylaws.

If the member is on the board of directors, he or she cannot be suspended or evicted until he or she is removed from office.

The Termination Process

The termination process starts with a complaint about an individual member. This complaint is submitted in writing to the board. At a board meeting, the board discusses the complaint. The decision on how to proceed is made by a resolution. At least two-thirds of the directors who are present at the meeting must vote for the resolution, in order for it to pass.

The board must first give the member written notice stating the reasons for the suspension or eviction along with the date, time and location of the board of directors meeting where it will be decided whether to suspend or expel the member. The member must be given sufficient notice of the meeting.

The member has the choice of either going to the meeting, where he or she is allowed to explain why he or she should not be suspended or evicted, or sending a letter to be read at the meeting by the chairperson.

The coop must give the member written notice of its decision within 15  days of the decision.

A member whose lease is terminated (the legal terms that will be used are "resiliated, cancelled or not renewed") is deemed to have resigned from the coop on the date the lease is terminated.

Suspension

The coop must give the member at least 30 days' written notice of its decision to suspend the member's right to vote, before the date of the next meeting.

Member's Right to Appeal

A member can appeal the decision to suspend his or her right to vote within 15 days of receiving the notice from the board of directors. The member must submit a written appeal to the coop.

The board of directors must:

  • examine the grounds raised in the member's appeal
  • make a decision
  • inform the member in writing of its decision.

A member cannot be suspended for longer than 6 months. A member who has been suspended loses, during the suspension, all of his or her rights as a member, unless the board of directors decides otherwise.

A member can turn to the Régie du logement in matters relating to the right to occupy his unit.

Collecting Money Owed

Allowed claim amounts for Small Claims Division of the Court of Quebec:

  • up to and including $7,000.

The coop can recover unpaid housing charges from a current or past member, as well as any other monies owed to the coop by the member.

Accepting payments for arrears, costs and interest, where applicable, stops the coop from terminating membership or repossessing the unit.

The coop can apply to the Régie du logement to terminate a lease with a tenant. If such tenant is a member of the coop, losing his status as a tenant shall constitute grounds to expel him from the coop.

For an overview of the small claims court process for each province and territory, see the section: An Overview of the Small Claims Court System.

If the amount claimed is more than $7,000, the claimant must take the claim to the Court of Quebec and follow the Rules of Court applicable to that court. The Rules of Court tend to be very complex and it is suggested that the claimant consult a lawyer.

Related Links

Conseil québécois de la coopération et de la mutualité
5955, rue Saint-Laurent, Suite 204
Lévis, QC
G6V 3P5
Tel.: 418-835-3710
Email: info@coopquebec.coop
www.coopquebec.coop

Commission des droit de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse
360, Saint-Jacques Street, 2nd floor
Montréal, QC
H2Y 1P5
Tel.: 514-873-5146 or
Toll free: 1-800-361-6477
Email: accueil@cdpdj.qc.ca
www.cdpdj.qc.ca
Provides information on how to bring a human rights complaint to the Quebec Human Rights Commission.

Fédération des cooperatives d’habitation de l’estrie (FCHE)
548 rue Dufferin
Sherbrooke, QC
J1H 4N1
Tel.: 819-566-6303
Email: fche@reseaucoop.com
www.chfcanada.coop/eng/pages2007/feds_2_1.asp
Provides basic information about the association.

Fédération des coopératives d'habitation montérégiennes (FÉCHAM)
310 – 150, rue Grant
Longueuil, QC  
J4H 3H6
Tel.: 450-651-5520
Email: fecham@cam.org
www.chfcanada.coop/eng/pages2007/feds_2_2.asp
Provides basic information about the association.

Fédération des coopératives d'habitation du Royaume Saguenay Lac St-Jean (FÉCHAS)
30, rue Racine Est, Suite 110
Chicoutimi, QC
G7H 1P5
Tel.: 418-543-6858
Email: fechas@qc.aira.com
www.chfcanada.coop/eng/pages2007/feds_2_3.asp
Provides basic information about the association.

Fédration des coopératives d'habitation intermunicipale du Montréal métropolitain (FÉCHIMM)
7000, avenue du Parc
Montréal, QC
H3N 1X1
Tel.: 514-843-6929
Email: info@fechimm.coop
http://fechimm.coop
Provides basic information about the association.

Fédération des coopératives d'habitation de la Mauricie et du centre du Québec (FÉCHMACQ)
235, rue Hériot, bureau 230
Drummondville, QC  
J2C 6X5
Tel.: 819-477-6986
www.chfcanada.coop/eng/pages2007/feds_2_5.asp
Provides basic information about the association.

Fédération des coopératives d'habitation de Québec Chaudière-Appalaches (FÉCHAQC)
275, du Parvis
Suite 205A
Québec, QC G1K 6G7
Tel.: 418-648-1354
Email: info@fechaqc.qc.ca
www.chfcanada.coop/eng/pages2007/feds_2_8.asp
Provides basic information about the association.

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