Northwest Territories

Name of Act/Regulations

Co-operative Associations Act, RSNWT 1988, c. C-19
The Co-op Act does not have a section that deals specifically with housing co-ops.
www.canlii.org/en/nu/laws/stat/rsnwt-nu-1988-c-c-19/latest/part-1/rsnwt-nu-1988-c-c-19-part-1.pdf

Co-operative Associations Fees Regulation RRNWT 1990, c. 2 (Supp.)
www.canlii.org/en/nt/laws/regu/rrnwt-1990-c-2-supp/latest/rrnwt-1990-c-2-supp.html

Co-operative Associations Standard Bylaws RRNWT 1990, c. C-17.
www.canlii.org/en/nt/laws/regu/rrnwt-1990-c-c-17/latest/rrnwt-1990-c-c-17.html

Admitting New Members

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

Unless the bylaws provide otherwise, a person who has reached the age of 16 years may be a member.

A person becomes a member of the coop once:

  • his or her application for membership is approved by the board
  • he or she has complied with the bylaws governing admission of members.

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

Cooperative Basis

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 to:
    • develop the coop
    • provide or improve services to members
    • establish reserves.

Memorandum of Association

The memorandum of association ("memorandum") is the originating document that creates a housing coop. The memorandum includes the name of the housing coop (including the word "co-operative/cooperative" in its name) and the address of the coop.

Members must follow the memorandum of the coop. Members can vote to make changes to the memorandum by passing an extraordinary resolution, subject to the approval of the Supervisor of Co-operative Associations. 

Bylaws

Before the coop is incorporated, the incorporators must submit a copy of the bylaws (together with the memorandum of association) to the Supervisor for his or her examination and approval. The standard bylaws set out rules dealing with the governance of the coop. The Co-operative Association Standard Bylaws, RRNWT 1990, c. C-17 are deemed to be the bylaws of the coop. These bylaws deal with such matters as meetings, voting, duties and election of directors and officers and reserve funds. However, the coop is free to make additional bylaws for the governance of the coop containing provisions for any matter the coop considers advisable.

Meetings

An annual general meeting (usually called an AGM) must be held each year at a time and place specified by the bylaws.

Board of Directors

The Coop Act sets out who can sit on the board of directors and the steps for electing a board of directors. Essentially, to be a director, the member must:

  • be at least 19 years of age.

The board of directors meets at least once every three months.

Access to Information

Members are entitled to inspect the register of members at reasonable times during business hours.

Offences

An individual who is guilty of an offence under the Coop Act can be fined up to $500, be imprisoned for no more than 2 months, or both.

A coop that is guilty of an offence under the Coop Act can be fined up to $1,000.

Eviction/Expulsion of Members

Grounds for Terminating (Evicting) a Member

A coop can evict a member for failing to comply with the Coop Act or its bylaws.

The Termination Process

The coop bylaws set out how a member can be evicted from a co-op.

Typically, the termination process starts with a written complaint about an individual member, his or her family member or guest. A special general meeting of the members is called to consider the termination.

The individual whose membership is being considered for termination must have an opportunity to respond to the allegations made against him or her. The coop must give the member notice of the meeting and an opportunity to attend the meeting to respond to the proposed termination.

The member can attend the meeting alone or with a lawyer or other representative to respond to the resolution. Although the Act does not deal with whether a member has the right to be represented by a lawyer at the meeting, if the member wishes to be represented by a lawyer, it is advisable to permit  the member to be represented. A refusal to permit representation  may allow a court to overturn a decision to evict on the basis that the member was denied natural justice.

In order for the resolution to terminate to be carried, at least 2/3 of the members present at the special general meeting must vote in favour of the eviction.

Member's Right to Appeal

The bylaws will state:

  • whether the member has a right to appeal
  • if so, how he or she may appeal the members' decision to evict.

Obtaining a Writ of Possession to Remove the Terminated Member

The Coop Act does not set out how the coop can regain possession after a member is expelled.

To regain possession of the unit, the coop needs to commence an action in the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories. The court may issue a writ of possession, which is a judgment for the recovery of the unit. The coop will serve the writ on the member. If the expelled member refuses to leave after being served with a copy of the court order, the judgment can be given to the sheriff who has legal authority to remove the expelled member from the premises.

Collecting Money Owed

Allowed claim amounts for the Territorial Court (Small Claims):

  • up to and including $35,000.

The coop can recover money owed to it by a current or past member.

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 $35,000, the claimant must take the claim to the Supreme Court 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

The Northwest Territories Housing Corporation
NWT Housing Corporation Headquarters
5102 – 50 Avenue
P.O. Box 2100
Yellowknife, NT
X1A 2P6
Tel.: 867-873-7853
nwthc.gov.nt.ca
Provides general information about housing programs in NWT.

Northwest Territories Human Rights Commission
Main Floor, Laing Building
5003 – 49th Street
PO Box 1860
Yellowknife, NT
X1A 2P4
Toll Free: 888-669-5575
www.nwthumanrights.ca/
Provides information on recently enacted human rights legislation in the Northwest Territories. The Human Rights Act replaces the previous Fair Practices Act.

Canada

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