Name of Act/Regulations
Co-operative Associations Act, SNB 1978, c. C-22.1
The Co-op Act does not have a section that specifically addresses housing co-ops.
Co-operative Associations, NB Reg. 82-58 (OC 82-289)
Landlord/tenant legislation does not apply to housing coops if the premises are occupied by a member of the coop.
Admitting New Members
The process for admitting new members is set out in the coop bylaws.
A person will become a member of a coop once:
- his or her application for membership is approved by the board of directors; and
- he or she has paid a membership fee on such terms and conditions as set out in the bylaws.
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 they are organized, operated and administered according to the following principles:
- each member has at least one share
- each member has only one vote
- no member may vote by proxy
- the coop operates as closely as possible at cost and any surplus is used for:
- the maintenance or improvement of services to its members
- community welfare
- the spread of cooperative principles to members of the coop.
Letters of Incorporation
Letters of incorporation ("letters") are the originating documents that create a housing coop. Letters include the name of the housing coop (including the word "Co-operative/Cooperative" as part of its name and the word "Limited" (or the contraction Ltd. as the last word in its name) and the names and addresses of the founding members of the coop. Members must follow the letters of the coop.
A copy of the bylaws must be given to the members upon demand. Members can make changes to the bylaws, subject to the approval of the Inspector, who is appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council.
Before the coop is incorporated, the incorporators must submit a copy of the bylaws (together with the letters of incorporation) to the Inspector for his or her examination and approval. The bylaws set out such matters as the qualifications, powers and duties of directors, membership fees, the fiscal year of the coop, the procedures for the holding of meetings and the withdrawal of members. The bylaws may also regulate the conduct of the members and set out their obligations to the coop and each other.
A housing coop must hold at least one member's meeting called an annual general meeting (AGM) no later than 4 months after the end of the fiscal year of the coop.
The coop must keep a record, known as minutes, of all of the discussions that take place at a meeting. Minutes are normally in writing.
Board of Directors
Members who are at least 16 years of age vote to elect a board of directors from the general membership. The Coop Act regulations and bylaws set out who can sit on the board of directors and the steps for electing a board of directors. Essentially, legislation specifies that, to be a director, the member must:
- be at least 16 years of age
- have any other qualification set out in the bylaws
Elections are normally held at the AGM. A director serves for a term of 3 years. The terms of directors are staggered so that not all director positions are newly filled at one time.
Access to Information
The minutes of any annual or special meeting of a coop must be kept at the coop's office. The office must be open at least two hours each business day for the inspection of the minutes by any member without charge.
An individual or coop that is guilty of an offence under the Coop Act is liable to a fine equal to $1,070 multiplied by the number of weeks the offence continues.
Eviction/Expulsion of Members
Grounds for Terminating (Evicting) a Member
The board of directors can evict a member from the coop if the member breaks a coop regulation, contract or bylaw, which may include late payment of housing charges.
The Termination Process
The coop creates its own bylaws for evicting a member.
The board sends a notice of eviction to the member by registered mail. The notice of eviction must set out:
- why the member is being evicted
- the date of the eviction, which cannot be earlier than one month from the date that the notice was mailed to the member.
Member's Right to Appeal
The member can, any time before the eviction date, ask the board of directors to place the matter on the agenda for the members to consider during the next special or annual meeting of the members. The member can attend the meeting to explain why he or she should not be evicted from the coop. The decision of the members is final.
Obtaining a Writ of Possession to Remove the Terminated Member
The Act does not contain specific provisions related to writs of possession. If the coop wishes to obtain possession of a unit after evicting a member, the coop must bring an application or commence an action for recovery of land in the New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench.
Collecting Money Owed
Allowed claim amounts for Small Claims Court of New Brunswick:
- up to and including $12,500.00.
The coop can recover from a current or past member any money owed to the coop.
The coop can use a member's deposit to off-set the member's debt.
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 $12,500, 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.
Brunswick Co-operative Housing (BRUNCH)
P.O. Box 750
Provides general information about BRUNCH.
New Brunswick Human Rights Commission
Explains how to bring a complaint to the Commission.