Name of Act/Regulations
The Cooperatives Act CCSM c. C-223
Part 12 deals specifically with housing coops.
Cooperatives Regulation C-223-MR 95/99
Part 3 deals specifically with housing coops.
(note: link is bilingual)
The Residential Tenancies Act, CCSM c. R-119
Landlord/tenant legislation applies to housing coops in only one situation. Specifically, when a member's right to possess and occupy a unit in a housing coop has been terminated and he or she does not move out of the unit, the coop must apply for a writ of possession. The Residential Tenancies Act of Manitoba sets out the steps for getting a writ of possession.
Admitting New Members
The process for admitting new members is set out in the coop's by-laws.
Unless the bylaws state otherwise, a person who is 16 may become a member of the coop.
Unless the bylaws state otherwise, a person becomes a member of the coop once:
- his or her application for membership is approved by the board or a committee that has the authority to approve the application
- he or she has paid for the minimum number of membership shares in the coop
- he or she meets all other conditions set out in the by-laws.
Obligations of the Members to the Coop and of the Coop to its Members
All coops are expected to be run on a cooperative basis, which means that they are organized and operated and carry on business in the following way:
- open membership in a non-discriminatory manner to persons who can use the services of the coop and have accepted the responsibilities of membership;
- each member has only one vote
- surplus funds arising from the coop's operation are used:
- to develop the coop
- to provide or improve services to members
- to establish reserve funds
- for community welfare or to spread coop efforts
- to educate its members, officers, staff and the public about coop principles and techniques.
Special limitations apply to not-for-profit housing cooperatives. Key limitations include:
- that they cannot issue investment shares
- in each year, they must conduct 90 per cent of their business with their members
- they cannot be continued under any other laws or jurisdiction
- they may not amend their articles to change from a not for profit housing coop to any other form of coop
- upon dissolution, once all debts and liabilities have been paid, the remaining property must be transferred to or distributed among:
- one or more housing coops
- other coops with similar objectives and limitations
- charitable organizations with similar purposes.
Articles of Incorporation
Articles of incorporation ("articles") are the originating documents that create a housing coop. Articles include the name of the housing coop (including the word “Cooperative”, “Co-operative”, "Coop" or “Co-op” in its name) and the address of the coop, and must state that the business of the coop is restricted to providing housing to its members.
The articles of a not-for-profit coop must include a reference to:
- "not for profit"
Members must adhere to the articles of the coop. Members can vote to make changes to the articles by passing a special resolution. The Coop Act sets out what changes can be made by the members. For example, members can vote to amend the name of the coop subject to the above restrictions.
The Coop Act provides a framework for housing coops to create bylaws. Housing coop bylaws must address:
- the payment of housing charges
- how disputes between members, or between members and the coop, will be handled
- the maintenance of adequate reserve funds and insurance to protect the coop from loss
- how the coop will pay any money owed to a member if:
- the member withdraws his or her membership
- the member has been evicted from the coop
- the coop is dissolved
- the process for setting-off or collecting any money owed to the coop by a member.
The coop may also make a bylaw to allow its directors to create a system for providing subsidies for housing charges to its members, and other rules relating to the occupancy of a housing unit. Directors must treat all members in a fair and equal manner when administering these rules.
The Act requires the Registrar to have model forms for articles and bylaws available for coops to use. There is no requirement that the bylaws be submitted to the Registrar prior to incorporation. However, the Registrar must be provided with a copy of the bylaw enacted at the first meeting of directors within 30 days of the passing of the bylaw.
A housing coop must hold at least one members' meeting, called an annual general meeting (AGM), no later than 18 months after the coop is formed and no later than 15 months after the first meeting, and every year thereafter.
It is important that the coop give members enough notice of the meeting. Directors can set how much notice of the meeting must be given to members.
Board of Directors
The board of directors is the elected representative of the members. Members vote to elect a board of directors from the general membership. The Coop Act sets out who can sit on the board of directors and the process for electing members to the board of directors. Essentially, to be a director, legislation specifies that a director must:
- be an individual
- be at least 18
- be of sound mind
- not have an undischarged bankruptcy
- any other qualification or disqualification set by the coop in its bylaws, subject to human rights laws.
Elections are held at the AGM. Members vote by a show of hand or by secret ballot, if there are more candidates than there are positions on the board of directors.
Access to Information
Members may examine the articles and bylaws, minutes of meetings and the register of directors during the usual business hours of the coop. They may also make copies of the records or parts of them free of charge, and, where the coop has made a distribution to the public, any other person may do so upon payment to the coop of a reasonable fee.
Members of a coop are entitled, on request and without charge, to one copy of the articles and bylaws of the coop, including any amendments, and one copy of any unanimous agreement of the coop, including any amendments.
A coop that is guilty of an offence under the Coop Act can be fined up to $25,000.
Eviction/Expulsion of Members
Grounds for Terminating (Evicting) a Member
In evicting a member, the coop must first terminate the membership of the individual. If the individual fails to vacate the unit, the coop may then obtain a writ of possession.
The Termination Process
The termination process starts with a written complaint about an individual member to the board. The complaint is discussed at a board meeting and a decision on how to proceed is made by a resolution.
If the board decides that termination is necessary, the directors of the coop must:
- Make a special resolution to terminate the member's membership
- Hold a meeting to discuss and vote on the resolution
- Give proper notice to the affected member so that he or she may attend the meeting to discuss the proposed resolution.
In addition to the notice, the coop must give the member:
- a notice informing the member of his or her right to appeal the decision of the board
- a copy of the notice of appeal in the form approved by the Registrar under the Coop Act.
The individual whose membership is being considered for termination must have the opportunity to respond to the allegations against him or her. The board must give the member at least 7 days' written notice of the meeting and the notice must state:
- the resolution to be considered at the meeting
- the reasons for evicting the member from the coop
- how the member may appeal the decision to evict him or her from the coop.
The member can go to the meeting alone or with a lawyer to defend against the eviction.
In order to evict the member, the directors must pass a special resolution. If the directors vote to terminate the member's membership, the directors must give the member written notice that his or her membership has been terminated within 7 days of the vote. Notice must be delivered:
- by pre-paid ordinary mail addressed to the person at his or her latest address shown in the coop's records or
- by delivering the notice to that address.
Member's Right to Appeal
The member has 7 days, excluding weekends and holidays, from the date he or she received the notice of his or her membership termination to submit a written notice of appeal to the Registrar under the Coop Act. The appeal must set out the reasons why the resolution should be set aside.
Once the Registrar receives a notice of appeal, the Registrar must immediately notify the coop; and the member and the coop must give written submissions to support their positions to the Registrar within 7 days from the date they received notice of the appeal.
An appeal tribunal consisting of coop members is created to hear the matter within 14 days, excluding weekends and holidays, from the date the Registrar received the notice of appeal. The Registrar will provide the panel with written submissions of the member and the coop. The member and the coop will also get a copy of each other's submissions.
The appeal hearing is a closed hearing, which means that only the member, the board, and their lawyers or representatives, and witnesses of the parties can attend the hearing. No one is permitted to record the hearing electronically, but the parties and the members of the appeal panel may take notes.
First, the coop, or its counsel, will present its arguments. The coop must give its reasons for terminating the member's membership and may call witnesses to support its position.
Next the member, or his or her counsel, must give reasons why the membership should not be terminated and may call witnesses to support this position.
Each party to an appeal may cross-examine the other party or any of the witnesses of the other party. The appeal panel may also choose what evidence to accept and to ask questions of the parties and the witnesses.
When making its case to the panel, the co-op must demonstrate that:
- it provided the member with at least 7 days' notice of the meeting to consider the termination of membership
- the member was given the reasons for the termination
- the member knows that he or she is entitled to appear at the meeting, either personally or by or with an agent or a lawyer, and to make submissions at the meeting.
The panel will decide whether the decision to terminate the membership complied with the bylaws regarding termination of membership and whether the actions or conduct of the member, or of other persons living with the member, constitute sufficient grounds under the coop bylaws for terminating the membership.
The panel can confirm or set aside the directors' decision to terminate the membership and must, within 7 days, excluding weekends and holidays, after hearing of the appeal, give its decision to the Registrar, the member, and the coop.
The panel will set aside the directors' decision to terminate a membership if it finds that the coop failed to follow the required process.
The member continues to be a member of the coop until the termination of the membership is confirmed by the appeal tribunal.
The decision of the appeal tribunal is final. A terminated member can be re-admitted to the coop only by a special resolution of the members.
Obtaining a Writ of Possession to Remove the Terminated Member
If the terminated member does not vacate the unit, the coop can apply to the Residential Tenancies Branch of the Consumer and Corporate Affairs Division of Manitoba Finance for a writ of possession. A writ of possession permits the coop to take over the unit and is generally granted if the member:
- did not pay housing charges on time
- did not maintain the housing unit in a clean condition
- did not repair any damages caused to the unit or complex by the tenant or the tenant's guests
- endangered the safety of others
- disturbed others
- did not comply with reasonable terms and conditions of an occupancy agreement
- did not move out after giving notice
- gave false or fraudulent information on their membership application.
The decision of the Residential Tenancies Branch can be appealed to the Court of Appeal.
Collecting Money Owed
In Manitoba, coops treat all moneys payable by the member as a debt owed to the coop. This means that the coop can use any money that it has on deposit for the member until the member's debts to the coop are paid off. If the member leaves the coop, he or she is still required to pay all arrears. The bylaws of the coop give the coop the right to recover any money owed by the member to the coop.
Allowed claim amounts for Small Claims Court:
- up to and including $10,000.
The coop can recover from a current or past member:
- any money owed
- charges related to occupation of the unit after his or her membership has been terminated.
Accepting payment of arrears does not stop the coop from terminating membership or taking back the unit. 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 $10,000, the claimant must take the claim to the Court of Queen's Bench 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.
CHFC's Manitoba office
162 – 2025 Corydon Ave., Suite 192
Tel.: 204-947-5411 (in Winnipeg) or
Toll free: 888-591-3301
Provides general information about the services and programs offered to members through CHFC’s Manitoba Office.
Provides links to all the courts in Manitoba.
The Manitoba Human Rights Commission
Provides information on bringing a complaint under the human rights code
Housing and Community Development
Main branch: 2nd Floor — 352 Donald Street
Toll free: 1-800-661-4663
Information on the resources and services available to housing coops, including brief overviews of the program, eligibility criteria and contacts.
Co-operative Housing Program
Portfolio Administration Branch
Manitoba Housing and Community Development
600 – 352 Donald Street
Manitoba Co-operative Association Inc.
Manitoba Cooperative Association
400 – 317 Donald Street
This is the provincial association of cooperative organizations.