Are you currently living in or running co-operative housing or plan to in the future? In this guide, you’ll learn about the 3 main types of legislation that govern most housing co-operatives (co-ops) in Canada. You’ll also get a detailed overview of the rights and responsibilities of co-op members and directors.

What is a co-op?

Housing co-ops come in many forms. Some co-ops are townhouses and small buildings with just a handful of units. Others are large apartment-style buildings with hundreds of units.

Co-ops are different from private rental housing because the residents decide how the co-op is operated. Every member gets a vote in approving annual budgets, electing directors and setting policies on the co-op’s overall direction.

Because it is member-owned and member-controlled, co-operative housing has many advantages:

  • Affordability. Monthly housing charges are set the by the members to cover the costs of running the co-op.
  • Security. A member’s right to live in the co-op is protected as long as they’re following all of the rules.
  • Community. There is a strong sense of community because members actively participate in all aspects of running the co-op.

Acknowledgments

The following people assisted with the creation of this guide:

  • Bruce D. Woodrow, Barrister & Solicitor, Toronto
  • Harry Vander Velde, Financial Administrator, Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto
  • Information Officer, Régie du logement
  • Janet Grant, Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada
  • Julie King, President, Biz-Zone Internet Group Inc.
  • Ronald N. Hier, Barrister & Solicitor
  • Karen Valentine, Barrister & Solicitor, Valentine Law Office, Toronto
  • Karla Skoutajan, Co-operative Services Officer, Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada
  • Nicholas Gazzard, Director, Sector Development, Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada
  • Doug Dewling, Manager, Community Based Housing, Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation
  • Tim Brown, Nunavut Housing Corporation
  • Sheila Wade, New Brunswick — Housing and Income Support, Family & Community Services
  • Don Routlege, Director, Business Planning & Special Projects, Yukon Housing
  • Jim Graham, Department of Community Services, Nova Scotia Housing Services
  • Monte Carle, Regina Corporations Branch, Saskatchewan
  • Ian Melzer, Policy and Research Division, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
  • Leslie Jones, Canadian Housing Information Centre, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
  • Line Gullison, Assisted Housing, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
  • Janet Neves, Policy and Research Division, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
  • Harry Vandervelde, Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto
  • Marilou Rickert, Roma Ilnyckyj and Krista Smith, Talk Science to Me Communications

Disclaimer

This guide provides an overview of co-operative housing in Canada. Because laws change from time to time in every province and territory, it is not intended to provide legal advice. If you require specific legal advice, please contact a lawyer.

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Date Published: January 1, 0001