For the most part, housing co-ops across Canada operate under similar rules and regulations. However, there are some important differences across the provinces and territories you should know about if you’re running a co-op.

On this page, you’ll find an overview of the unique legal requirements for housing co-ops in your region. For each province and territory, you’ll get details on:

  • the acts and legislation you need to follow
  • how to admit new members to the co-op
  • the obligations of members to the co-op
  • the obligations of the co-op to its members
  • how to evict members from the co-op
  • how to collect money owed by members

You’ll also find links to other organizations that can help you with running your housing co-op.

Because laws change from time to time, this page is not intended to provide legal advice. It presents general guidelines and advice only. If you require specific legal advice for your housing co-op, please contact a lawyer.

NATIONAL (CANADA-WIDE INFORMATION)

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)
700 Montreal Road
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0P7
Tel.: 613-748-2000
www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca

A wealth of information on Canada's housing market. Resources available on housing coops include:

Tenant Involvement in Housing Co-operatives
www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/inpr/afhoce/afhoce/afhostcast/afhoid/opma/intedema/intedema_005.cfm
This study compares the operating costs of coop housing with private and public non-profits and public housing financed under various CMHC programs.

Capital Replacement Planning Manual
www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/odpub/pdf/63171e.pdf?fr=1433961613953
This guide assists housing coops and non-profit housing providers create a sound capital replacement manual to deal with the high costs associated with major repairs and replacements. Downloadable software is also available on this website.

Conseil canadien de la coopération et de la mutualité
275 Bank Street, 4th Floor
Ottawa, ON
K2P 2L6
Tel.: 613-238-6712
Email: info@coopscanada.coop
http://coopscanada.coop
The Conseil canadien de la coopération et de la mutualité supports the Francophone cooperative movement across Canada.

CoopZone
c/o CWCF
#104, 402 – 30th Ave NE
Calgary, AB
T2E 2E3
Tel.: 403-276-8250
Email: hazel@canadianworker.coop
www.coopzone.coop
CoopZone is a national support system for cooperative organizations and developers.

Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada (CHFC)
225 Metcalfe Street, Suite 311
Ottawa, ON
K2P 1P9
Tel.: 613-230-2201 or
Toll-Free: 1-800-465-2752
Email: info@chfcanada.coop
www.chfc.ca
Information on the Canada-wide federation and regional federations. General information about coop housing is also provided.

Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA)
Co-operative House
275 Bank Street, Suite 400
Ottawa, ON
K2P 2L6
Tel.: 613-238-6711
Fax: 613-567-0658
Toll free: 866-266-7677
Email: info@coopscanada.coop
www.coopscanada.coop
Provides general information about this umbrella organization for cooperatives and credit unions.

Canadian Housing and Renewal Association
75 Albert Street, Suite 902
Ottawa, ON
K1P 5E7
Tel.: 613-594-3007
Email: info@chra-achru.ca
www.chra-achru.ca
This association provides research and networking opportunities in the area of affordable housing.

ALBERTA

Name of Act/Regulations

Cooperatives Act, SA 2001, c. C-28.1
Part 18, Division 1 deals specifically with housing co-ops.
www.qp.alberta.ca/574.cfm?page=C28P1.cfm&leg_type=Acts&isbncln=9780779740185

Cooperatives Regulation AR 55/2002 Cooperatives.
www.qp.alberta.ca/574.cfm?page=2002_055.cfm&leg_type=Regs&isbncln=9780779740277

Admitting New Members

If the coop wishes to admit a member who is younger than 18, they must create a bylaw that allows them to do this.

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

Cooperative Basis

The Coop Act imposes special limitations on non-profit housing coops. Key limitations, which must be included in the coop's articles, are:

  • the activities of the housing coop must be carried out without the purpose of gain for its members;
  • upon dissolution and after paying its debts and liabilities, the remaining property of the coop must be transferred to, or distributed among, one or more housing coops, non-profit organizations or charitable organizations;
  • the coop may not distribute any of its property or pay any money to its members, unless permitted by the Coop Act;
  • the coop cannot distribute shares or dividends to its members;
  • the coop may only allocate among or credit its members with all or part of the surplus arising from the operations of the coop in a financial year as a patronage return;
  • subject to the Act, the coop may not amend its articles to change from a non-profit housing coop to any other type of cooperative or corporation.

Articles of Incorporation

Articles of incorporation ("articles") are the originating documents that create a housing coop. The articles of a non-profit housing coop must include:

  • the name of the housing coop (including the term "housing", "mobile home" or "homes" in combination with the word  "cooperative", "co-operative", "coop", "co-op" or another grammatical form of any of these words as part of its name) and its address
  • a statement that the primary objective of the coop is to carry on business as a non-profit continuing housing coop and to provide housing or housing-related facilities to its members, together with ancillary services and facilities to individuals who are:
    • members of the coop
    • ordinary residents of housing units
    • occupants of housing units other than individual owners
  • a statement that the coop is a non-profit continuing housing coop subject to the Act
  • the special limitations that apply to housing coops in Alberta (see Cooperative basis).

Bylaws

Bylaws must be consistent with the Coop Act. The Coop Act has restrictions that apply specifically to non-profit housing coops. The restrictions address:

  • providing members with gains
  • dissolving the co-op
  • paying back any money owed to members

The Act requires coops to make specific bylaws on several topics. There is no requirement that the Registrar approve the bylaws prior to incorporation.

Membership and Meetings

The coop must establish bylaws that:

  • State whether a meeting of members is required to approve new members
  • Outline a member's obligation to provide money and define how payments are to be made
  • Set the notice period for meetings where budget or housing charges are discussed
  • Define the coop's requirements when leasing or renting a housing unit occupied by a member
  • Set the rules that apply when units are occupied by non-members
  • Set out the dispute resolution procedures for member-to-member and member-to-coop disputes. These bylaws must include the option of mediation
  • Define the way that the membership of a member can be terminated.

Administration

The bylaws must also:

  • Define the powers of the directors to set housing charges in situations where housing charges cannot be approved by the members
  • Define when and to what extent directors can borrow money on behalf of the coop
  • Set the requirements for distributing the budget
  • Specify a formula for determining a member's shares, should the member be terminated or the coop dissolved. This bylaw must also state how shares will be repaid under these circumstances
  • Provide for the establishment of adequate reserve

Meetings

The board of directors must call the first annual meeting of members no later than 18 months after the coop comes into existence.

Future annual meetings of members must be held not later than the earlier of

  1. 15 months after holding the first annual meeting
  2. 6 months after the end of the preceding financial year.

The coop can ask a court for an order extending the time within which to hold an annual members' meeting.

The directors may call a special meeting of the coop at any time.

Voting is usually done by a show of hands, unless a member who is entitled to vote at the meeting or any such percentage of members as is determined in the bylaws demands a vote by ballot. Proxy voting is not allowed.

Board of Directors

A coop must have at least 3 directors or, if the articles set out a minimum number greater than 3, it must meet that minimum threshold.

Not fewer than 2/3 of the directors must be members of the coop, or, if the articles require a greater proportion of member directors, the coop must meet that minimum threshold.

The Coop Act specifies that a director must:

  • be an individual
  • be at least 18
  • not be a represented adult as defined in the Adult Guardianship and Trustee Act or the subject of a certificate of incapacity under the Public Trustee Act
  • not be a formal patient according to the Mental Health Act
  • not be the subject of an order under the Mentally Incapacitated Persons Act
  • not be found to be of unsound mind by a court elsewhere than in Alberta
  • not have declared bankruptcy
  • have any other qualification and not have any other disqualification, as set out in the bylaws.

The bylaws of the coop may also set out the voting procedure for the election of directors. Elections are normally held at the Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Other: Reserves

The coop’s bylaws must provide for the establishment of adequate reserves as good cooperative business practices dictate. The directors must ensure that the reserves are set aside in accordance with the bylaws.

Access to Information

Each member of the coop is entitled to receive free of charge from the cooperative, on request, not more than once in each calendar year, one copy of the coop’s articles, bylaws and any unanimous agreement, and one copy of any amendments to them.

Members may examine the articles and bylaws, minutes of meetings, the register of directors and notices of change of directors during the coop’s usual business hours and may take extracts from the records, free of charge, or have copies of them made after payment of a reasonable fee.

Members are also entitled to a list of members in accordance with and for the reasons specified in the bylaws.

Offences

A person or coop is guilty of an offence when that person or coop does not comply with the Coop Act. A person can be fined up to $5,000 or imprisoned for no more than 6 months, or both .

The Act states that when a coop commits an offence, every principal, director, manager, employee and agent of the coop who authorized the act or omission can also be considered guilty of the offence and subject to a penalty, even if the coop has not been prosecuted for the offence.

Eviction/Expulsion of Members

There are two types of housing coops under the Act: continuing housing coops and home ownership coops. A continuing coop is a coop that was created under a prior version of the Coop Act and was continued under the current Act. A home-ownership coop is a coop created under the current Act.

The current Act provides different procedures for termination depending on whether the coop is a continuing coop or a home ownership coop.

Continuing Housing Coops

Grounds for Terminating (Evicting) a Member

The directors of the continuing housing coop can evict a member from the coop only if:

  • The member does not comply with an agreement he or she made with the coop or with a bylaw that deals with living in the housing unit or with his or her use of the property, and if the member has failed to fix a problem within a reasonable time of receiving a written notice from the coop to do so
  • The member owes money to the coop
  • The member has caused significant problems in a shared housing unit
  • The member has, on more than one occasion, failed to comply with the bylaws, even after receiving written notice of a problem from the coop.

The Termination Process

Termination begins with a written complaint about a member, his or her family member or a guest of the member, submitted to the board.

The complaint is discussed at a board meeting, at which time it is decided whether termination is warranted. If the board decides that termination is necessary, the directors of the coop must:

  • Make a 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.

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 14 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
  • what the member's appeal options are.
The member can attend the board meeting alone, or with a lawyer or another representative, to respond to the resolution.

In order for the resolution to terminate to be carried, the directors must vote at a meeting that was called to consider the termination, and at least 3/4 of the directors must vote in favour of the resolution.

If the directors vote to terminate the member, the member must be given written notice within 7 days after the resolution to terminate the member is passed.

The directors can also evict a coop member if the member:

  • vandalizes or destroys property belonging to the coop
  • uses the housing unit for illegal activities
  • threatens the safety of members of the coop
  • is a physical danger to members of the coop or other residents
  • contravenes a bylaw relating to leasing of a self-contained unit to a non-member.

In such cases, the board is required to give only 3 days' written notice of the meeting at which the eviction will be considered.

The member can attend the board meeting alone, or with a lawyer or other representative to respond to the resolution.

In order for the resolution to terminate to be carried, the directors must vote at a meeting that was called to consider the termination, and at least 3/4 of the directors must vote in favour of the resolution.

Member's Right to Appeal

A member cannot appeal an eviction if the member:

  • failed to pay his or her housing charges or other fees owed to the coop
  • vandalized or destroyed coop property
  • engaged in an illegal activity while living in the unit
  • threatened the safety of other coop members
  • is a physical danger to other coop members or other residents
  • has failed to comply with a bylaw that deals with how a unit is leased to a non-member.

In all other cases, if the member plans to appeal, he or she must file a notice of appeal with the coop within 7 days of receiving the notice of termination. The member’s appeal must be heard at the next members’ meeting. At the meeting, the member and board present their cases and then both parties leave so that the members can discuss the issues. The members decide on the merits of the appeal, taking into account the requirements of the Act for evicting members and the evidence presented.

The members can pass an ordinary resolution, requiring a simple majority, to confirm (support) or quash (overturn) the directors' decision to evict the member. If the members vote against the directors' decision to evict the member, the member can continue to be a member of the coop.

The member does not have to move from the coop until a final decision has been made to terminate membership. Once the membership is terminated, the member and his or her family are no longer allowed to live in the coop. However, if the member refuses to leave, the coop must obtain a writ of possession (discussed below) to remove the member.

Obtaining a Writ of Possession to Remove the Terminated Member

If a member refuses to leave after his or her membership has been terminated, a non-profit continuing coop must get a writ of possession to remove the member unless the unit is vacant. To do this the coop must:

  • make an application for a writ of possession to the Court of Queen's Bench
  • serve a copy of the application on the evicted member at least 4 days before returning the original application to the court.
The application must explain:
  • why the coop wants the writ of possession and a summary of the order requested if the application is not disputed.
  • how the terminated member can dispute the application for the writ of possession.

Home Ownership Coops

Eviction/Expulsion — Grounds for Terminating (Evicting) a Member

The members of a home ownership coop can evict a member of the coop only if the member breaches or repeatedly contravenes the share subscription agreement, the articles, bylaws or policies of the coop or any agreement between the member and the coop.

Eviction/Expulsion — The Termination Process

The members may terminate if 3/4 of the members present at the meeting vote in favour. At least 70% of the members must be present throughout the meeting. Prior to the meeting, the directors of the coop must give at least 14 days written notice of the meeting. The notice must contain the following information:

  • the resolution to be considered at the meeting
  • the reasons for the termination.

A member can attend the meeting alone, or with a lawyer or other representative to respond to the resolution.

The member and the board present their cases to the membership, and then both parties leave the meeting so that the members can discuss the issue. The members can decide to evict a member only if the member has broken or continuously breaks the share subscription agreement, the articles, the bylaws or the policies of the coop or any agreements between the member and the coop.

Other Laws that may Apply

The Residential Tenancies Act and The Mobile Home Sites Tenancies Act do not apply to non-profit continuing housing coops and its members, unless and to the extent that the coop's bylaws make the Residential Tenancies Act or The Mobile Home Sites Tenancies Act apply to the coop. Therefore, a coop or a member should read the sections of the bylaws that deal with eviction to determine whether either of these Acts applies to their situation.

Collecting Money Owed

Allowed claim amounts for Civil Division of the Provincial Court (Small Claims Court):

  • up to and including $25,000. 

The coop can recover costs from a current or past member for:

  • occupying the unit after his or her membership has been terminated
  • unpaid housing charges and unpaid utilities
  • damages to the member unit
  • any costs associated with getting vacant possession of the housing unit, including legal costs.

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 $25,000, 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.

Related links

Alberta Courts
www.albertacourts.ab.ca/
Provides links to all of the courts in Alberta.

Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission
www.albertahumanrights.ab.ca/
Provides useful information on how to bring a claim to the commission.

Northern Alberta Co-operative Housing Association (NACHA)
www.nacha.ca
Provides a summary of the cooperative principles and a note on applying for membership in a housing coop. The general contact information of housing coops in Northern Alberta and the dates of information sessions are also listed.

Southern Alberta Co-operative Housing Association (SACHA)
sacha-coop.ca
Provides general information about the organization, membership requirements and upcoming events.

Alberta Community and Co-operative Association
www.acca.coop/
This non-profit organization has served agricultural organizations, coops and credit unions since 1959.

BRITISH COLUMBIA

Name of Act/Regulations

Cooperative Association Act SBC 1999, c. 28.
Part 11, Division 1 deals specifically with housing co-ops.
www.bclaws.ca/Recon/document/ID/freeside/00_99028_01

Cooperative Association Regulation B.C. Reg. 391/2000
www.bclaws.ca/EPLibraries/bclaws_new/document/ID/freeside/391_2000

Admitting New Members

If the co-op wishes to admit a member who is younger than 19, they must create a rule that allows them to do this. However, all members must be at least 16 years old.

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 that they must govern their members and make rules pursuant to the principles set out in the Coop Act:

  • membership in the coop is open in a non-discriminatory manner to persons who can use the services of the coop and have accepted the responsibilities of membership
  • members have only one vote and no member may vote by proxy
  • members may not derive a gain from the coop
  • surplus funds arising from the coop's operation are used
    • to develop the coop
    • provide or improve services to members
    • establish reserves
    • community welfare or to spread coop efforts
    • educate members, officers, staff and the public about coop principles.

Memorandum of Association

A memorandum of association ("memorandum") is the originating document that creates a housing coop. A memorandum includes the name of the housing coop (including the word "co-operative", “cooperative” or “co-op” or “coop” 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 a special resolution. A coop may change its name, location or the number of directors on the board of directors by special resolution.

Rules

Rules must be consistent with the Coop Act. The Coop Act has restrictions that apply specifically to housing coops and that address:

  • dissolving the coop
  • paying back any money owed to members
  • issuing shares to members.

A copy of the rules, together with the memorandum of association, list of first directors and notice of registered office, must be filed with the Corporate Registry to incorporate a cooperative. All coops must address the following matters in their rules, as prescribed by legislation:

  • membership in the association
  • membership shares
  • general meetings
  • directors and officers
  • financial matters, including borrowing, investment powers and the distribution of surplus funds
  • the manner of giving notice
  • the service and execution of documents.

Co-ops may also make additional rules provided that they are consistent with the Act and Regulations.

Meetings

A housing coop must hold at least one members' meeting, called an annual general meeting (AGM), no later than 4 months after the end of the fiscal year of the coop. The coop can agree to meet more often if permitted by the rules.

The Coop Act states that the members must be given 14 days notice of an AGM or a general meeting to hear a special resolution. For a general meeting where a special resolution will not be heard, at least 7 days notice must be given to members, unless the members make a rule requiring more than 7 days notice. The notice must state:

  • the place
  • the day
  • the hour
  • in the case of special business, the general nature of the matter to be considered.
Voting is usually done in person unless the rules provide for an alternative method. Proxy voting is not allowed.

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 legislation specifies that the member must:

  • be at least 18
  • not be found by a court to be incapable of managing his own affairs
  • not have an undischarged bankruptcy
  • not have been convicted of an offence involving fraud or an offence involving the promotion, formation or management of a corporation
  • meet any other restriction set by the coop in its rules.

Reserve Fund

The reserve fund must be invested in accordance with the Coop Act, Coop Act regulations, operating agreement and any of its rules.

Directors must set aside at least 10 per cent of the coop's surplus in each fiscal year.  

Access to Information

A coop must allow its members to examine documents of the coop, excluding confidential documents and in camera minutes of meetings, during regular business hours. The coop can impose reasonable restrictions on what information can be examined by members.

Offences

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

A member loses the right to occupy a unit or dwelling in the co-op when his or her membership is terminated.

A co-op can terminate a member's membership for any of the following reasons:

  • outstanding housing charges or other money owed to the coop
  • if the board has reasonable grounds to believe that a member has breached a material condition of the occupancy agreement relating to his or her use of the unit or the coop's property
  • if a member has done something that is detrimental to the coop.

Examples of conduct that is considered to be "detrimental to the coop" may be included in the rules of the coop and can cover a broad range of behaviour, from physical damage to intimidating or harassing behaviour. Termination for conduct detrimental to the coop is subject to any rules for termination of membership.

Before the coop can terminate a member's membership, it must give the member a reasonable amount of time to fix the problem.

The Termination Process

To remove (evict) a member, the coop must first terminate the membership of the individual. Once the termination process is complete, if the member fails to vacate the unit then the coop may obtain a writ of possession to remove the member.

The termination process starts with a written complaint about an individual member, or his or her family member or his or her guest. The complaint is discussed at a board meeting and a decision on how to proceed is made by a resolution.

In most circumstances the coop must first give the member written notice explaining the situation and demanding that the member rectify the problem. However, if the grounds for termination are conduct detrimental to the coop, the coop can choose to send a notice to fix the problem or a notice of eviction.

If the problem continues, the next step is for the board to consider the termination of membership. In this case, the board must send another notice to the member stating that the board plans to meet to decide on whether to terminate the member's membership.

The member who is facing termination must be given proper notice and 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. The notice can be sent by ordinary mail, delivered in person or as otherwise stated in the rules. Notice of the meeting must state:

  1. the resolution to be considered at the meeting
  2. the reason for terminating the member’s membership in the coop
  3. the date, time and place of the directors' meeting
  4. how the member may appeal any decision to evict him or her from the coop
  5. that the member can attend the board meeting alone, or with a lawyer or someone else.

After meeting with the member, the board may still decide to terminate the member’s membership by passing a resolution to that effect. In order for the resolution to terminate to be carried, at least ¾ of all directors (not just ¾ of those present at the meeting) must vote in favour of terminating the member. (For example, if a coop has 8 directors, at least 6 directors must vote in favour of termination.) Therefore, it is possible to have a quorum of directors at the meeting and still not have enough directors present to vote to evict a member from the coop.

Following the meeting to consider the termination of a member's membership, the coop must notify the member of the outcome, in writing, within 7 days.

The notice should also state the date by which the unit must be vacated. The coop must give the member a reasonable amount of time to leave, usually 1 month.

The coop must send this notice the same way it sent the first notice of the meeting to consider the resolution to evict the member.

Member's Right to Appeal

Unless the member’s membership is being terminated for failing to pay housing charges or other money due to the coop, the member may appeal the termination resolution. The member has 7 days to appeal from the date he or she received the notice of termination. The member must file a notice of appeal with the coop. The appeal will be heard at:

  • the next general members' meeting; or
  • a special members' meeting called by the directors to hear the appeal.

The member does not have to move from the coop until a final decision is made.

The member can attend the members' meeting alone or with a lawyer or other representative.

The members can pass an ordinary resolution, requiring a simple majority, to confirm or overturn the directors' decision to evict the member. If they vote against the directors' decision to evict the member, then the member can continue to be a member of the coop. The member does not have to move from the coop until a final decision has been made to evict the member from the coop.

The co-op rules may require more than a simple majority of votes if the member is being evicted for:

  • breach of a material condition of the occupancy agreement.

If the member’s membership is being terminated for conduct detrimental to the coop, a special resolution is required.

The coop must promptly give written notice to the member of its decision to terminate the member’s membership. The notice must tell the member that he or she may appeal the decision to the BC Supreme Court within 30 days from the date of receipt of the eviction notice.

The member is no longer considered to be a member of the coop once the members decide at the general meeting to terminate the membership. The member loses his or her rights and responsibilities as a member. The member may stay in the unit if he or she appeals the coop's decision to the BC Supreme Court. The member must continue to comply with the occupancy agreement or lease that he or she has with the coop.

The member must use the proper forms of the BC Supreme Court to appeal the members' decision to evict the member.

The appeal can be on the following grounds:

  • the principles of natural justice were not followed
  • the decision to evict is not based on the facts
  • the decision to evict does not follow the steps for evicting a member set out in the Coop Act.

If the member appeals the decision to terminate membership to the BC Supreme Court, the coop can give its reasons for the decision to evict at a new hearing in court, called an appearance.

A member who decides to appeal the eviction to the court can ask the coop to issue a cheque payable to the BC Supreme Court Registry to cover the cost of court fees. The request must be made in writing and must be given to the coop within 10 days from the date that the member receives the members' decision to evict the member.

If this request is made on time, the coop must pay the fees, unless the member owes money to the coop. If money is at issue between the coop and the member, the court may require the member to pay the filing fee on his or her own. The court does not refund the fee. If the court agrees with the coop's decision to evict the member, the coop is allowed to recover the cost of the fee from the member.

The member or coop can appeal a decision of the BC Supreme Court to the Court of Appeal, if a judge allows it. The member can remain in the unit until the court gives an order to move from the coop.

Obtaining a Writ of Possession to Remove the Terminated Member

If the member appeals the termination of membership, the member may ask the court to issue an order of possession in favour of the member, if the court restores the membership, and the coop may ask the court to issue an order of possession in favour of the coop if the court upholds the termination.

When a member’s membership is terminated, the former member no longer has a right to remain in the unit. If the former member does not leave the unit, the coop may apply to the BC Supreme Court for a writ of possession. A writ of possession lets the coop take over the unit.

The court will listen to any information given by the member and the coop. The court will also consider any other information it thinks is important. Before giving the order, the court must be satisfied that the coop followed the principles of natural justice; otherwise the court may decide not to give the writ of possession to the coop.

Collecting Money Owed

Allowed claim amounts for Provincial Court (Small Claims):

  • up to and including $25,000.

The co-op can recover from a current or past member any money owed to the co-op.

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 $25,000, 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

Effective Governance for BC Coops: Guide to the Co-operative Act
www.chf.bc.ca/pdf/coopactguide.pdf
Published in April 2003, this comprehensive study covers such topics as membership, directors, meetings, voting at meetings, auditors and records as they relate to housing coops in British Columbia.

BC Housing
Suite 101 – 4555 Kingsway
Burnaby, BC
V5H 4V8
Tel.: 604-433-2218 or
Toll free: 800-257-7756
www.bchousing.org/
BC Housing is a government agency. Provides extensive information on the government's social housing programs (commonly known as affordable housing programs) for low-income families.

BC Human Rights Tribunal
1170 – 605 Robson Street
Vancouver, BC
V6B 5J3
Tel.: 604-775-2000 or
Toll free: 888-440-8844 (BC only)
www.bchrt.bc.ca/
Provides useful information on how to bring a claim to the commission.

BC Non-Profit Housing Association
Suite 303 – 3680 E. Hastings St.
Vancouver, BC
V5K 2A9
Tel.: 604-291-2600 or
Toll free: 800-494-8859 (BC only)
www.bcnpha.ca/
Provides information about the organization and its services.

Courts of British Columbia
www.courts.gov.bc.ca/
Provides links to all of the courts in British Columbia.

Co-operative Housing Federation of British Columbia (CHF BC)
220 – 1651 Commercial Drive
Vancouver, BC
V5L 3Y3
Tel.: 604-879-5111 or
Toll free: 866-879-5111 (BC only)
www.chf.bc.ca/
The website of CHF BC, a cooperative association whose members are housing coops and related organizations in British Columbia.

British Columbia Co-operative Association
1737 West 3rd Avenue, Suite 212
Vancouver, BC
V6J 1K7
Tel.: 604-662-3906
www.bcca.coop/
Provides information about the association and how to become a member of the association.

MANITOBA

Name of Act/Regulations

The Cooperatives Act CCSM c. C-223
Part 12 deals specifically with housing coops.
web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/statutes/ccsm/c223_2e.php

Cooperatives Regulation C-223-MR 95/99
Part 3 deals specifically with housing coops.
web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/regs/current/_pdf-regs.php?reg=95/99
(note: link is bilingual)

The Residential Tenancies Act, CCSM c. R-119
web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/statutes/ccsm/r119e.php

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

Cooperative Basis

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:

  • "non-profit"
  • "not for profit"
  • "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.

Bylaws

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.

Meetings

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.

Offences

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.

Related Links

CHFC's Manitoba office
162 – 2025 Corydon Ave., Suite 192
Winnipeg, MB
R3P 0N5
Tel.: 204-947-5411 (in Winnipeg) or
Toll free: 888-591-3301
www.chfcanada.coop/eng/pages2007/chfc_6.asp
Provides general information about the services and programs offered to members through CHFC’s Manitoba Office.

Manitoba Courts
www.manitobacourts.mb.ca
Provides links to all the courts in Manitoba.

The Manitoba Human Rights Commission
www.manitobahumanrights.ca
Provides information on bringing a complaint under the human rights code

Housing and Community Development
Main branch: 2nd Floor — 352 Donald Street
Winnipeg, MB
R3B 2H8
Tel.: 204-945-4663
Toll free: 1-800-661-4663
www.gov.mb.ca/housing
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
Winnipeg, MB
R3B 2H8
Tel.: 204-945-4661
housing@gov.mb.ca
www.gov.mb.ca/housing/progs/coophousing.html

Manitoba Co-operative Association Inc.
Manitoba Cooperative Association
400 – 317 Donald Street
Winnipeg, MB
R3B 2H6
Tel.:  204-989-5930
Email: info@manitoba.coop
manitoba.coop
This is the provincial association of cooperative organizations.

NEW BRUNSWICK

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.
www.canlii.org/en/nb/laws/stat/snb-1978-c-c-22.1/latest/snb-1978-c-c-22.1.html

Co-operative Associations, NB Reg. 82-58 (OC 82-289)
www.canlii.org/en/nb/laws/regu/nb-reg-82-58/latest/nb-reg-82-58.html

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

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 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.

Bylaws

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.

Meetings

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.

Offences

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.

Related Links

Brunswick Co-operative Housing (BRUNCH)
P.O. Box 750
Moncton, NB
E1C 8N5
Tel.: 506-858-6034
Email: brunchnb@gmail.com
www.chfcanada.coop/eng/pages2007/feds_1_4.asp
Provides general information about BRUNCH.

New Brunswick Human Rights Commission
www.gnb.ca/hrc-cdp/index-e.asp
Explains how to bring a complaint to the Commission.

NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

Name of Act/Regulations

Co-operatives Act SNL 1998, c. C-35.1
Part 20 deals specifically with housing coops. (The official version is not online.)
www.assembly.nl.ca/legislation/sr/statutes/C35-1.htm

Landlord/tenant legislation does not apply to housing coops. The Coop Act of Newfoundland and Labrador states that landlord/tenant legislation cannot be used to determine the rights, responsibilities and obligations between housing coops and their members, particularly in the following areas:

  • units of the housing coop that members live in
  • the amount of housing charges to be paid by members
  • the eviction of members.

Admitting New Members

Coops in Newfoundland and Labrador set out the process for admitting new members in their bylaws. Membership is open to individuals who are willing to accept the responsibilities of living in a coop.

The bylaws will determine whether a person who is younger than 19 can be admitted as a member.

Typically, a person becomes a member of the co-op once:

  • his or her application for membership is approved by the board
  • he or she agrees to follow the bylaws dealing with membership, usually by signing an occupancy agreement.

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
  • membership is open to anyone who can use its services and is willing to accept the responsibilities of membership
  • the coop operates as closely as possible at cost and any surplus is used to:
    • eliminate a deficit
    • develop the coop
    • educate members, officers, employees and the public about cooperatives
    • donate for community welfare
    • provide or improve services to members
    • establish reserves. 

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 "Co-operative/Cooperative" in its name) and the address of the coop. Members must comply with the articles of the coop.

Bylaws

Bylaws must be consistent with the Coop Act. The Coop Act has restrictions that apply specifically to housing coops. Some of these are:

  • the coop's purpose must be to provide non-profit housing accommodations to its members
  • members cannot derive a financial gain from the coop
  • how money owed to a member must be paid back.

The members of a housing coop vote to accept the bylaws or to make changes to the bylaws.

A copy of the bylaws, together with the articles, must be sent to the Registrar for approval prior to incorporation.

Meetings

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

The Coop Act states that the coop must give members at least 10 days', but not more than 30 days', notice of a general meeting. The notice should state:

  • location
  • time
  • where applicable, the purpose of a special meeting.

Board of Directors

Members vote to elect a board of directors from the general membership. Coop Act regulations and coop 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 19 years of age
  • have any other qualifications set out in the bylaws.

Elections are normally held at the AGM. The terms of directors are staggered so that not all director positions are newly filled at one time. Voting is usually done by a show of hands or by secret ballot, if there are more persons running for positions than the number of positions available on the board of directors. Proxy voting is not allowed. 

The board of directors must hold its first meeting within 30 days after the annual general meeting at which it was elected.

Access to Information

A housing coop must allow its members to examine the documents of the coop, except where the documents are considered by the board of directors to be confidential.

Offences

An individual who is guilty of an offence under the Coop Act can be fined up to $5,000, face imprisonment for a term of no more than 6 months, or both.

A coop that is guilty of an offence under the Coop Act can be fined up to $25,000.

Eviction/Expulsion of Members

The Termination Process

The coop will have bylaws that describe how a member is to be evicted from a coop. The coop must first terminate the membership of the individual that they wish to remove.

The terminating process starts with a written complaint about an individual member, his or her family or guest. This complaint is discussed at a board meeting and the 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 resolution to terminate the member's membership
  • hold a meeting to discuss and vote on the resolution
  • give proper notice to the member.

For a resolution to pass, 3/4 of all elected directors (not just 3/4 of the directors present at the meeting) must vote in favour of termination. It may be possible to have a quorum of directors at the meeting and still not have enough directors present to pass a motion of termination.

The member must get at least 14 days notice of the meeting along with the reasons for the termination. The member can go to the meeting to explain why his or her membership should not be terminated.

If the resolution to terminate the member passes, the coop must give the member written notice of termination, in the same manner they gave notice of the meeting to consider the termination, within 7 days after the resolution to terminate the member is passed. The termination takes effect 30 days after the member receives the notice of termination.

If the individual fails to vacate the unit, the coop may obtain an order for possession from the Trial Division court.

Member's Right to Appeal

The member has 7 days from the date he or she receives the notice of termination to appeal the decision. The member must file a notice of appeal with the coop.

The appeal must be heard at the next general members' meeting. The member does not have to move from the coop until a final decision is made. A member who is appealing the termination is allowed to attend the general meeting alone or with a lawyer or an agent.

The members must follow the principles of natural justice when deciding whether to terminate a member. The members can pass an ordinary resolution, requiring a simple majority, to confirm (support) or quash (overturn) the directors' decision to terminate the member. The coop can make a bylaw that a resolution requires more than a majority to confirm or quash the directors' decision.

If members quash the directors' decision to terminate, the member can continue to be a member of the coop.

The coop must promptly give written notice to the member of its decision to terminate. The member is no longer considered to be a member of the coop once the members decide at the general meeting to terminate the membership. When this happens, the member loses his or her rights and responsibilities as a member.

Obtaining a Writ of Possession

If the terminated member does not leave the unit, the coop may apply to the court for a writ of possession. A writ of possession lets the coop take over the unit. The court may also make the following writs:

  • payment of arrears of housing charges
  • payment of charges for living in the unit up to the day the coop recovers the unit from the member
  • removal of the member's belongings from the unit.

Collecting Money Owed

Allowed claim amounts for Provincial Court (Small Claims):

  • up to and including $25,000.00

The coop can recover costs from a current or past member related to: 

  • unpaid housing charges
  • compensation for use and occupation of the unit to the date the coop regained the unit
  • removing the member's belongings from the unit.

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 $25,000, the claimant must take the claim to the Trial Division 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

P.O. Box 453
Mount Pearl, NL
A1N 2C4
Tel.: 709-747-5615
Email: chanal@nl.rogers.com
www.chfcanada.coop/eng/pages2007/feds_1_1.asp
Provides general information about the coop housing association of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Newfoundland — Labrador Federation of Co-operatives (NLFC)
19 Crosbie Place, Suite 203 (Co-operators Bldg)
P.O. Box 13369
Station A
St. John's, NL
A1B 4B7
Tel.: 709-726-9431
Toll free: 877-726-9431
www.nlfc.coop/
This is the provincial organization that represents cooperatives in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Human Rights Commission Newfoundland and Labrador
The Beothuk Building
21 Crosbie Place
P.O. Box 8700
St. John's, NL
A1B 4J6
Tel.: 709-729-2709 or
Toll free: 800-563-5808
Fax: 709-729-0790
Email: humanrights@gov.nl.ca
www.justice.gov.nl.ca/hrc
Explains how to bring a complaint to the Commission.

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.

NOVA SCOTIA

Name of Act/Regulations

Co-operative Associations Act, RSNS 1989, c. 98.
Housing coops are addressed in section 61.
www.canlii.org/en/ns/laws/stat/rsns-1989-c-98/latest/rsns-1989-c-98.html

Co-operative Associations Regulations, NS Reg 155/78
www.canlii.org/en/ns/laws/regu/ns-reg-155-78/latest/ns-reg-155-78.html

Residential Tenancies Act, RSNS 1989, c. 401.
canlii.ca/en/ns/laws/stat/rsns-1989-c-401/latest/rsns-1989-c-401.html

Residential Tenancies Regulations, NS Reg 190/89.
www.canlii.org/en/ns/laws/regu/ns-reg-190-89/latest/ns-reg-190-89.html

Housing coops must also comply with landlord/tenant legislation as set out in the Nova Scotia Residential Tenancies Act. The Residential Tenancies Act deals with:

  • the rights, responsibilities and obligations of housing coops and its members
  • occupancy agreement requirements
  • restrictions on increases to housing charges, 
  • deposits
  • how to evict a member.
The Residential Tenancies Board, the body that hears landlord/tenant matters, will not become involved in a dispute between a coop and its member, if the dispute can be dealt with under the bylaws of the coops. This is because the relationship between a coop and its members is contractual. The member agrees to follow the bylaws of the coop when he or she becomes a member of the coop.

A housing coop or its member can have the Residential Tenancy Board deal with matters that cannot be dealt with successfully within the coop. For example, although a housing coop can increase the housing charge paid by a member, the increase cannot exceed the amount permitted under the Residential Tenancies Act.

For more information on Nova Scotia's residential tenancy legislation please visit Your Guide to Renting a Home: Nova Scotia Fact Sheet.

Admitting New Members

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

A person becomes a member once:

  • his or her written application is approved by the board of directors
  • he or she has paid a membership fee.

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 only one vote
  • no member may vote by proxy
  • the coop operates as closely as possible at cost and any surplus is:
    • used to maintain or improve the services to its members
    • donated for community welfare
    • used to spread cooperative principles. 

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 "co-operative/cooperative" in its name) and the address of the coop.

Members must comply with the articles of the coop. Members can make changes to the articles by passing a special resolution, subject to the approval of the province's Inspector of Co-operative Associations. At least two-thirds of the votes cast must be in favour of the special resolution for it to be carried. A coop may change its name, location or the number of directors on the board of directors by special resolution.

Bylaws

A copy of the bylaws, together with the articles, must be sent to the Registrar for approval prior to incorporation.

The bylaws set out the procedures for application for membership, payment for shares in the coop, withdrawal or exclusion of members, the qualifications and duties of directors, how meetings are held and other matters relevant to the running of the coop.

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 Coop Act sets out who can sit on the board of directors and the minimum number of directors. The board of directors must have at least three duly qualified members.

The Coop Act sets out that the qualifications, powers and duties of the directors must conform to the regulations and bylaws.

Essentially, to be a director, the member must not be someone:

  • who is not a member of the coop
  • who is an employee of the coop for more than thirty days in the calendar year, unless approved by the Inspector
  • who engages in business that competes with the business of the association unless approved by the Inspector
  • who has failed to attend three consecutive meetings of the board of directors without just cause.

Additional qualifications can be set out in the bylaws.

A newly incorporated cooperative must elect a board of directors, in accordance with regulations and bylaws, within 4 months of its incorporation.

Access to Information

A housing coop must allow its members to examine the documents of the coop free of charge. The coop may make reasonable restrictions, such as excluding confidential documents and minutes of in-camera meetings.

Offences

If a person fails to give an Inspector under the Coop Act any books or documents or fails to answer any questions relating to the business of the coop, then he or she can be fined up to $100.

A coop that is guilty of an offence under the Coop Act can be fined up to $5,000.

Other: Landlord/Tenant Legislation

Housing coops must also comply with the Residential Tenancies Act, which is the law that governs landlord/tenant relations in Nova Scotia.

Landlord/tenant legislation sets out the obligations of the housing coop to provide members with a copy of the bylaws of the housing coop and a signed occupancy agreement, where applicable, and to maintain the premises in a good state of repair. Members are also entitled to quiet enjoyment of their unit. The coop must also provide members with notice of any increase to the housing charge.

Members are obligated under landlord/tenant legislation to pay their housing charges on time.

Your Guide to Renting a Home provides an overview of how the Residential Tenancy Act affects landlords and tenants. Please visit the Nova Scotia fact sheet for information on landlord/tenant legislation in Nova Scotia:

Eviction/Expulsion of Members

Grounds for Terminating (Evicting) a Member

A member may be evicted from the coop for failing to comply with a regulation or a bylaw of the coop.

The Termination Process

The coop must first terminate the membership of the individual that they wish to evict. It may then remove the individual from the unit.

The termination process starts with a written complaint to the board about an individual member. At a board meeting, the board discusses the complaint and decides how to proceed.

Although the Act does not require the board to give a member notice or the right to appear at the directors’ meeting, it is desirable for the board to give the member written notice explaining the situation and demanding that the member rectify the problem by a specified date. 

If the problem continues, the board should send another notice to the member. The notice should state:

  • that the directors plan to meet to decide on whether to terminate the member
  • the date of the meeting
  • the proposed date of the eviction
  • the reasons for the eviction.
The notice is sent by registered mail to the member's last known address.

The individual whose membership is being considered for termination must be given an opportunity to respond to the allegations against him or her. The member may choose to speak on his or her own behalf. If the member wishes to be represented by a lawyer, it is advisable that the board permit this, since a refusal may permit a court to overturn a decision to evict on the basis that the member was denied natural justice.

The board can evict the member by a resolution passed by a majority of directors present at the meeting. After evicting the member, the board is required to send a notice to the member by registered mail at his last known address, setting a date at least one month after the date of mailing the notice on which the eviction is to be effective.

Member's Right to Appeal

After the member receives the notice, the member can ask the board to place the matter on the agenda for the members to consider during the next special or general meeting of the members. The member may do this at any time before the eviction date.

A member who is appealing termination is allowed to attend the general meeting alone or with a lawyer or an agent. The member has the right to give reasons why he or she should not be evicted.

The members must vote whether or not to evict the member. Their decision is final and the member has no further appeal mechanisms within the coop.

Residential Tenancies Program Appeals

However, because landlord/tenant legislation applies to coops, the member or the coop can appeal the members' decision to the Residential Tenancies Program. To do this they would file an application to the director along with an application fee. A hearing is scheduled and the other party must be served with copies of the application and a notice of the hearing. Once the other party is served, an Affidavit of Service must be filed with the Residential Tenancies Program as proof of service.

The parties can agree to settle the matter through mediation once they have been served with a notice of the hearing. Mediation is an alternative way to solve a problem between the coop and a member, but both parties have to agree to mediation. If a settlement or agreement is made between the parties, Minutes of Settlement are drafted and signed by the parties, and no hearing takes place.

Each party must prepare for the hearing and is permitted to present evidence to support its case. The hearing is heard by a Residential Tenancy Officer, who will issue a decision within 14 calendar days of the hearing.

The losing party can appeal to the Small Claims Court the decision of the Residential Tenancy Officer within 10 calendar days of the date of the Director's Order.

When a member is evicted, the coop must return any money owed to the member, less any amount that the evicted member owes to the coop.

Collecting Money Owed

Allowed claim amounts for Small Claims Court:

  • up to and including $25,000.

The coop can recover from a current or past member any money owed to the coop.

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 $25,000, 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

Nova Scotia Co-operative Council
In Person: 347C Willow Street
Truro, NS
B2N 5A6
Mail: PO Box 1872
Truro, NS
B2N 6C7
Tel.: 902-893-8966
Email: info@novascotia.coop
www.novascotia.coop
This is the provincial development arm of the co-operative and credit union system.

Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission
Summit Place
1601 Lower Water Street, 6th Floor
P.O. Box 2221
Halifax, NS
B3J 3C4
Tel.: 902-424-4111
Email: hrcinquiries@gov.ns.ca
humanrights.gov.ns.ca
Provides information on how to bring a human rights complaint to the Commission.

Service Nova Scotia — Residential Tenancies for Nova Scotia
Access Nova Scotia Centre
300 Horseshoe Lake Drive
Bayers Lake Business Park
Halifax, NS 
B3S 0B7
(for Halifax area; addresses for the Access Nova Scotia locations that provide Residential Tenancies services throughout the province are available at www.novascotia.ca/snsmr/access/land/residential-tenancies/contact.asp)
Tel.: 902-424-5200 
Toll free: 800-670-4357
Email: askus@gov.ns.ca
www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/consumer/resten
This website is part of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations website dealing with the Residential Tenancies Program. Provides answers to frequently asked questions, forms and contact information.

The Courts of Nova Scotia
www.courts.ns.ca
Provides links to courts in Nova Scotia.

NUNAVUT

Name of Act/Regulations

Co-operative Associations Act (Nunavut), RSNWT 1988, c. C-19.
The Coop Act does not have a section that deals specifically with housing coops.
www.nucj.ca/library/consol-stat/CSNu_1999_037_Cooperative_Associations.pdf

Co-operative Associations Fees Regulation, RRNWT 1990, c. 2 (Supp.) as amended.
canlii.ca/en/nu/laws/regu/rrnwt-nu-1990-c-2-supp/72916/rrnwt-nu-1990-c-2-supp.html

Co-operative Associations Standard Bylaws, RRNWT 1990, c. C-17 as amended.
canlii.ca/en/nu/laws/regu/rrnwt-nu-1990-c-c-17/72686/rrnwt-nu-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, which is 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

A housing coop must hold each year at least one members' meeting, called an annual general meeting (AGM), in accordance with 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. Essentially, legislation specifies that, to be a director, the member must:

  • be at least 19 years of age.

The bylaws set out when and how elections are held. Elections are normally held at the AGM. Members vote by casting ballots.

Access to Information

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

Offences

An individual that is guilty of an offence under the Coop Act can be fined up to $500, or be imprisoned for a term of 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 the bylaws.

The Termination Process

The coop makes its own bylaws, which set out how a member can be terminated.

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 a notice of the meeting being held to consider his or her termination; and an opportunity to attend the meeting to respond to the proposed termination.

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 for it.

Member's Right to Appeal

The bylaws state:

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

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 Nunavut Court of Justice. 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

The Nunavut Court of Justice has a Small Claims Division. Cases can be brought for amounts up to $20,000.

The coop can recover from a current or past member any money owed to the coop.

Accepting payment for arrears does not stop the co-op 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 $20,000, 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

No information was found online for the territory of Nunavut.

ONTARIO

Name of Act/Regulations

Co-operative Corporations Act, RSO 1990, c. C-35.
Section 171 deals with non-profit housing co-ops.

The Coop Act states that landlord/tenant legislation does not apply to housing coops. However, if a legal claim is made by or against the coop under landlord/tenant legislation instead of under the Coop Act, the court will decide whether or not it will continue to hear the claim as a landlord/tenant matter.
www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_90c35_e.htm

Co-operative Corporations Act, RRO 1990, Reg 178 amended to O Reg 414/07
www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/regs/english/elaws_regs_900178_e.htm

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 become a member of the coop.

A person becomes a member of the coop once:

  • his or her application for membership is approved by the board of directors
  • he or she agrees to follow bylaws dealing with the 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 only one vote
  • no member may vote by proxy
  • the coop operates as closely as possible at cost and any surplus is:
    • used to maintain or improve the service to its members
    • donated for community welfare
    • used to spread co-operative principles.

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 "co-operative/cooperative" in its name) and the address of the coop.

The articles of a non-profit housing co-op must state that:

  • the primary object of the coop is to provide housing to its members
  • the coop's activities must be carried on without the purpose of gain for its members
  • on the dissolution of the coop and, after it has paid is debts and liabilities, the remaining property must be transferred or distributed to one or more non-profit housing coops or charitable organizations.

Members of a non-profit housing coop can make changes to the articles by passing a special resolution, provided that they do not try to change the legal status of the coop from a non-profit housing coop.

Bylaws

The Coop Act provides a framework for housing coops to create bylaws. A bylaw is created when:

  • it is passed by the board of directors
  • it is confirmed by at least 2/3 of votes cast by the members at a general members' meeting.

There is no requirement that the bylaws be submitted to the Superintendent prior to incorporation. However, the Superintendent must be provided with a copy of a bylaw that changes the location of the head office within 10 days of the passing of the bylaw. Also, if a bylaw changing the number of directors is passed by the directors, a copy must be sent to the Superintendent within 10 days after the bylaw is confirmed by the members.

Meetings

A housing coop must hold at least one members' meeting, called an annual general meeting (AGM), during each fiscal year of the coop. The board can also call other general members' meetings at other times.

The Coop Act states that the articles or bylaws of a coop may not provide for less than 10 days' notice of a meeting and in no case can a coop give members more than 50 days' notice of a meeting.

A members' meeting cannot occur if a quorum is not met. In other words, a certain number of members must be present for decisions to be approved. The Coop Act and the rules will set out the required number of members needed to have quorum.

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, legislation specifies that, to be a director, the member:

  • must be at least 18 years of age
  • cannot have an undischarged bankruptcy
  • cannot be incapable of managing property within the meaning of the Substitute Decisions Act, 1992.
Members can remove a director from the board by resolution passed by a majority of its members at a general meeting called for this purpose.

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:

  • a copy of the articles
  • the coop's bylaws, resolutions and special resolutions
  • the membership register
  • the register of directors
  • the minutes of meetings of members and committees
  • the register of all transfers of securities.

Accounting records, resolutions of directors and minutes of meetings of directors or executive committees are excluded from this requirement. Subject to the bylaws, a coop may designate other times and locations for members to examine these documents.

Withdrawal of Membership

A housing coop allows a member to withdraw his or her membership according to the bylaws of the coop.

Offence

A coop that is guilty of an offence under the Coop Act can be fined up to $100,000. Each individual who commits an offence can be fined up to $10,000, with the amount of the fine depending on the type of offence.

Eviction/Expulsion of Members

Grounds for Terminating (Evicting) a Member

In Ontario, both membership and occupancy rights of a member must be terminated at the same time.

To do this, a majority of the board of directors must vote at a board meeting to terminate the member's membership and occupancy rights. Prior to the meeting the member must be given at least 10 days' written notice that the board of directors will consider termination. Grounds for termination must meet one of the following two conditions:

  • the member ceases to occupy a member unit
  • the member fails to meet an obligation set out in the bylaws, provided that the requirements in the bylaws are not unreasonable or arbitrary.
The notice must be signed by a director and, unless different requirements are set out in the bylaws, must:
  • state the time and place of the board meeting
  • explain the reasons for the proposed eviction
  • identify the unit to which the member has occupancy rights
  • specify the date of the proposed eviction
  • tell the member that he or she does not have to leave the unit immediately but that the coop may obtain possession of the unit by obtaining a writ of possession after the member's membership and occupancy rights have been terminated
  • tell the member that he or she has the right to attend the board meeting to explain why he or she should not be evicted
  • inform the member that he or she may appeal the board's decision to the members.

The member can attend the board meeting alone or with a person authorized by the Law Society to represent the member.

At the scheduled meeting, the board decides whether to continue with the eviction of the member and then gives the member written notice of its decision within 5 days. The notice must be signed either by the secretary of the coop or by another authorized person, as set out in the bylaws .

A coop cannot:

  1. withhold reasonable supply of any vital services, such as heat, fuel, electricity, gas, water, food or other vital service, that the coop is obligated to supply under the bylaws, or deliberately interfere with the supply of these services;
  2. substantially interfere with the member's enjoyment of his or her unit in order to force the member to give up his or her premises
  3. take the property of a member for non-payment of housing charges or any other money owed to the coop.

Appeal of Board's Decision to Members

The member can appeal the board's decision to the members within 7 days, or longer if provided in the bylaws, after he or she receives notice of the board's decision.

If a member appeals the decision, a members' meeting must be held, at least 14 days after appeal notice is received, to consider the appeal. The board's decision is suspended until the appeal is either decided at the members' meeting or abandoned by the evicted member.

The member can submit written arguments (a letter and/or other documents not exceeding 5,000 words) to support the appeal with the notice of appeal. These submissions must not deal with unrelated matters. The coop must give the members a copy of the written submissions before the meeting. If the board of directors refuses to distribute copies of a member's arguments, the board must give the coop members written notice of its refusal to supply the arguments to the members. Along with this notice, the board must provide a written explanation of the reasons for not distributing the arguments. This must be given to the member within 10 days after the written arguments are received.

Should this occur, the affected member can apply to the Superior Court of Justice:

  • to suspend the members' meeting that is scheduled to consider the appeal
  • to make any further order that the Court thinks fit.

Alternatively, the board of directors or any other person referenced in the member's written arguments may apply to the Superior Court of Justice for an order that allows the board to refuse to distribute the member's written submission.

The member can attend the members' meeting alone or with a person who is authorized by the Law Society to represent the member.

The appeal is decided by a majority vote of the members. If no decision is made by the members or if there are not enough members present to vote, the board's decision stands.

Expiration of Membership

Generally, the membership and occupancy rights of a member cannot expire unless the member consents, in writing, to their expiration. The coop cannot terminate membership and occupancy rights on the grounds that they have expired, without such written consent. 

Short Fixed Terms

If the membership and occupancy rights of a member are for a fixed term of less than one year and the coop gives the member written notice of the expiry of the term, the following will apply:

  1. The membership and occupancy rights of the member expire unless the member notifies the coo, in writing, that he or she wishes to continue his or her membership and occupancy rights
  2. The member must be given 30 days' notice that the term will expire. More notice may be required, if a longer period is set out in the bylaws
  3. If the member does notify the coop that he or she wishes to have both membership and occupancy rights continue, then:
    • he membership and occupancy rights continue
    • the membership and occupancy rights may be terminated only in accordance with the bylaws, for example: for non-payment of the member's housing charge, not on the grounds that they have expired
    • the coop may require the member to move, at the end of the fixed term, to a comparable or superior member unit with comparable housing charges.

Obtaining a Writ of Possession to Remove a Terminated Member

A coop must make an application to a judge of the Superior Court of Justice for a writ of possession:

  1. after a member's membership and occupancy rights are terminated
  2. if there is no member occupying the unit.

The coop and the affected member may each be represented by a person who is authorized by the Law Society to represent them.

The judge must determine the applicant's claim and may make an order:

  • declaring the membership and occupancy rights terminated
  • declaring that there is no member occupying a unit
  • issuing a writ of possession to the coop.
If the Court does not issue a writ of possession and the respondent remains in possession of the member unit, then the respondent's membership and occupancy rights have not been terminated.

When a member with occupancy rights withdraws those rights in writing, the coop may file a copy of the withdrawal with the local registrar of the Superior Court of Justice. The coop must do this no later than 30 days after the withdrawal or surrender is effective and their filing must be verified by an affidavit. If these conditions are met, the local registrar will sign an order directing that a writ of possession be issued. The effective date of the writ of possession cannot be earlier than the effective date of the withdrawal or surrender.

The member's withdrawal becomes void and ineffective unless, no later than 30 days after the effective date specified in the withdrawal, one of the following occurs:

  • the member gives up possession of his or her unit
  • the coop applies to the local registrar for a writ of possession, as outlined above.

Appeal From Registrar's Writ of Possession

Upon receiving a copy of the writ of possession granting possession of the unit to the coop, a member may apply to a judge to have the writ set aside. The member can dispute the coop's claim by either appearing when the application is heard or filing a written statement with the local registrar on or before the day for the return of the application. The written statement should briefly explain why the member disputes the coop's application.

In the case of a default judgment against the member, within 7 days of being served, the member can apply to a judge to have the judgment set aside.

If the judge supports the request to have the registrar's order set aside, the judge will hold a hearing to determine the coop's claim. A further appeal of this judge's decision may be made to the Divisional Court.

Court Determination of Possession/Arrears

Money held by the local registrar is paid to the party entitled to it when instructed to do so by a judge of the Superior Court. The judge may decide to do this once:

  • an order has become final
  • any of the parties has made an application to the Superior Court.

Court Refusal to Grant Coop's Application

When the court receives a coop's application for a writ of possession, a judge may, despite any other provision of the Act or the bylaws, refuse to grant the application if he or she is satisfied that it would be unfair to grant it. The judge could instead order that the enforcement of the writ of possession be delayed for up to one week.

The judge will also refuse to grant the application if he or she is satisfied that:

  • the coop has failed to comply with the law or the coop's articles or bylaws, and this failure is material and relevant to the application
  • one reason for the application is that the person against whom the order is sought:
    • has complained to any government authority regarding the coop's violation of any statute or municipal bylaw dealing with health and safety standards, including any housing standards or bylaws
    • has attempted to secure or enforce his or her legal rights
    • has children in the unit, provided that the unit is suitable for children and is not overcrowded.

Collecting Money Owed

Allowed claim amounts for Small Claims Court:

  • up to and including $25,000.

The coop can recover money owed by a current or past member after a person's membership and occupancy rights are terminated or if the member no longer occupies the unit. The coop must make an application to a judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for an order that the person pay the arrears of housing charges or other amounts owing. This process is complex and it is recommended that the coop consult a lawyer.

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 $25,000, the claimant must take the claim to the Superior Court of Justice 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

Central Ontario Co-operative Housing Federation (COCHF)
290 King Street East, Suite 203
Kitchener, ON
N2G 2L3
Tel.: 519-579-2424  or
Toll free: 800-927-2834 (Brantford and Guelph only)
www.cochf.coop/
COCHF is the federation of housing coops in Kitchener – Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph and Brantford, ON.

Co-operative Housing Federation of Eastern Ontario (CHASEO)
311 – 225 Metcalfe St.
Ottawa, ON
K2P 1P9
Tel.: 613-230-2201
www.chaseo.ca
CHASEO is the federation of housing coops located in the Ottawa area.

Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto (CHFT)
658 Danforth Avenue, Suite 306
Toronto, ON
M4J 5B9
Tel.: 416-465-8688
Email: info@coophousing.com
http://co-ophousingtoronto.coop/
Provides information and advice about coop housing.

Golden Horseshoe Co-operative Housing Federation (GHCHF)
36 Keefer Court Unit 1A
Hamilton, ON
L8E 4V4
Tel.: 905-561-2667
Email: ghchf@primus.ca
www.ghchf.ca
GHCHF is the federation of housing coops located in Hamilton, St. Catharine's and the Niagara Region.

Ministry of the Attorney General — Small Claims Court
McMurtry-Scott Building
720 Bay Street, 11th Floor
Toronto, ON
M7A 2S9
Tel.: 416-326–2220 or
Toll free: 800-518–7901
Email: attorneygeneral@ontario.ca
www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/scc
Explains the process for bringing an action to small claims court.

Ontario Co-operative Association
450 Speedvale Avenue West, Suite 101
Guelph, ON
N1H 7Y6
Tel.: 519-763-8271 or
Toll free: 888-745-5521 (Canada only)
Email: info@ontario.coop
www.ontario.coop
Provides general information about housing coops, how to start a coop and how to become a member of the association.

Ontario Human Rights Commission
180 Dundas Street W. Suite 900
Toronto, ON
M7A 2R9
Tel.: 416-326-9511 or
Toll free: 800-387-9080
Email: info@ohrc.on.ca
www.ohrc.on.ca
Provides information on how to bring a human rights complaint to the Commission.

Peel — Halton Co-operative Housing Federation
217 – 2155 Leanne Boulevard
Mississauga, ON
L5K 2K8
Tel.: 905-823-2667 or
Toll free: 1-800-731-2667
Email: phchf1@rogers.com
http://co-ophousingpeel-halton.coop
Provides general information about the federation. The Peel-Halton Co-operative Housing Federation is the federation of housing coops located in the Peel-Halton Region.

Seaway Valley Co-op Organization (SVCO)
SVCO Secretary
202 – 234 Guthrie Drive
Kingston, ON
K7K 6K8
www.ontario.coop/edirectory/seaway_valley_cooperative_organization_svco
Provides general information about the organization, and links to SVCO members.

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

Name of Act/Regulations

Co-operative Associations Act, RSPEI1988, c. C-23
The Coop Act has a section that deals with how housing coops are formed.
www.gov.pe.ca/law/statutes/pdf/c-23.pdf

Regulations: General Regulations, PEI Reg EC883/76
canlii.ca/en/pe/laws/regu/pei-reg-ec883-76/63735/pei-reg-ec883-76.html

Fees Regulations, PEI Reg EC223/05
canlii.ca/en/pe/laws/regu/pei-reg-ec223-05/62926/pei-reg-ec223-05.html 

Landlord/tenant legislation does not apply to housing coops.

Admitting New Members

Coops in Prince Edward Island set the process for admitting new members in their bylaws.

There are no age restrictions on membership.

A person becomes a member of the coop once:

  • his or her application for membership is approved by the board
  • he or she agrees to comply with the bylaws dealing with membership.

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 that they must govern their members and make bylaws pursuant to the principles set out in the Coop Act:

  • each member has only one vote
  • no member may vote by proxy
  • the coop operates as closely as possible at cost
  • any surplus funds arising from the business of the coop are used for:
    • the maintenance or improvement of services to its members
    • community welfare
    • the spread of cooperative principles to members of the coop. 

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 "co-operative/cooperative" 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 passing an extraordinary resolution. A coop may change its name, location or the number of directors to sit on the board of directors by special resolution.

Bylaws

As noted above, the coop must make bylaws pursuant to the principles set out in the Act.

In addition, the General Regulations require the bylaws of a housing coop to contain provisions dealing with:

  • the use of the units
  • right of entry into units
  • payment of housing charges
  • settlement of disputes
  • withdrawal and expulsion of members
  • leasing of units by non-members.

The Regulations also sets out that the bylaws may contain rules. The rules can relate to the obligations of coop members to the coop and to each other.

Meetings

A housing coop must hold at least one members' meeting, called an annual general meeting, no later than 6 months after the end of the fiscal year of the coop. The coop can agree to meet more often, if permitted by the rules.

Board of Directors

Elections are held at the AGM. Voting is usually done by ballot. Proxy voting is not allowed.

The board of directors must meet regularly to manage the business of the coop.

Access to Information

A housing coop must allow its members to examine the documents of the coop free of charge, except where the documents are reasonably considered by the members to be confidential.

Offences

A person or coop is guilty of an offence where that person or coop fails to comply with the Coop Act. A person can be fined up to $2,500. A coop can be fined up to $5,000.

Eviction/Expulsion of Members

Grounds for Terminating (Evicting) a Member

The coop makes its own bylaws, which set out how a member can be evicted from the coop. As permitted by the bylaws, the board of directors can evict a member for failing to comply with the coop's rules and regulations.

The Termination Process

The termination process starts with a written complaint to the board about an individual member. The board meets to discuss the complaint.

The coop must give the member at least 20 days' written notice explaining the situation and demanding that the member rectify the problem within a specific, reasonable amount of time.

The 20-day notice period does not apply when a member has broken a bylaw related to:

  • the cleanliness of the unit, if the member has already received a notice from the coop in this regard
  • the use of the premises for prohibited purposes
  • non-payment of housing charges.

The board's decision to evict is made by resolution. The board sends a notice to the member by registered mail to the member's last known address. The notice must state the date of eviction, which cannot be earlier than one month after the date the notice was mailed to the member.

Member's Right to Appeal

A member cannot appeal the termination of his or her membership due to:

  • the failure to pay housing charges as they become due
  • vandalism or destruction of property belonging to the coop
  • use of the unit for illegal purposes
  • breaking any bylaw that regulates the leasing of a unit to a non-member.

Otherwise, a member can appeal his or her eviction to the members, if he or she is not satisfied with the board's decision to evict. The board may, at any time before the proposed eviction date, place the matter on the agenda of the next special or general meeting of the members in order to have the members  consider the eviction.

The member has the right to attend the special or general meeting of the members to give reasons why he or she should not be evicted. After the member has been given an opportunity to speak to the members, the members vote on whether to evict the member.

The decision of the members is final.

Obtaining a Writ of Possession to Remove a Member

When a person's membership in a housing coop is terminated and the member does not move out of the unit, the General Regulations state that the housing coop may apply to the Director of Residential Tenancies or the Supreme Court for an order of possession pursuant to the Rental of Residential Property Act RSPEI 1988, c. R-13.1.

The coop can also obtain an order for payment of any arrears of housing charges and compensation for use and occupation until the day of recovery of possession.

Collecting Money Owed

Allowed claim amounts for Small Claims Section of the Supreme Court:

  • up to and including $8,000.

The coop can recover money owed 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 $8,000, the claimant must take the claim to the General Trial Division and follow the Rules of Court of that court. The Rules of Court tend to be very complex and it is suggested that the claimant consult a lawyer.

Related Links

Prince Edward Island — Human Rights Commission
PO Box 2000
53 Water Street
Charlottetown, PEI
C1A 7N8
Tel.: 902-368-4180 or
Toll free: 800-237-5031 (PEI only)
www.gov.pe.ca/humanrights
Provides links to various services of the Human Rights Commission of PEI.

Prince Edward Island Human Rights Commission Guide to Complaint Process
www.gov.pe.ca/photos/original/hrc_comp_proc.pdf
This booklet is a plain language guide to bringing a complaint to the Human Rights Commission.

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.

SASKATCHEWAN

Name of Act/Regulations

The Co-operatives Act, 1996, SS 1996, C-37.3
Part 23 deals specifically with housing coops.
www.qp.gov.sk.ca/documents/English/Statutes/Statutes/C37-3.pdf

The Co-operatives Regulations, 1998, RRS c. C-37.3 Reg 1
www.qp.gov.sk.ca/documents/English/Regulations/Regulations/C37-3R1.pdf

Saskatchewan Human Rights Code Regulations, RRS c. S-24.1 Reg 1
www.qp.gov.sk.ca/documents/English/Regulations/Regulations/s24-1r1.pdf

Landlord/tenant legislation does not apply to housing coops.

Admitting New Members

Coops in Saskatchewan set the procedure for admitting new members in their bylaws.

Unless there is a bylaw that prevents it, an individual who is 16 years or older can become a member.

A person becomes a member of the co-op once:

  • his or her written application for membership is approved by the board
  • he or she agrees to comply with the bylaws dealing with membership, usually by signing an occupancy agreement
  • he or she has paid the membership fee.

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

Co-operative Basis

All coops are expected to be run on a cooperative basis, which means that they must govern their members and make rules pursuant to the principles set out in the Coop Act:

  • membership in the coop is open 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 and no member may vote by proxy
  • the coop's business is carried on primarily for the benefit of its members
  • surplus funds arising from the co-op's operation are:
    • used to develop the coop
    • used to provide or improve services to members
    • used for community welfare or to spread coop efforts
    • used to educate members, officers, staff and the public about coop principles
    • distributed to non-profit, charitable or benevolent organizations.

Housing Charges

The coop must give its members at least 3 months' notice of an increase to housing charges.

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 "co-operative/cooperative" 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 passing a special resolution. A coop may change its name, location or the number of directors sitting on the board of directors by special resolution.

Bylaws

The bylaws of a housing co-op must include or provide for the following:

  • the coop must give every member a copy of the bylaws and the occupancy agreement
  • each member is entitled to have quiet enjoyment of his or her unit
  • either the co-op or the member is responsible for:
    • the maintenance of the residential unit in a safe, habitable and reasonable state of repair
    • the repair or replacement of fixtures
    • any damage to the unit
  • the coop and its agent, except in the case of an emergency, must give reasonable notice to a member before entering the member's unit
  • the coop must allow candidates for public office to access the common areas of the coop
  • the co-op must give 3 months' notice of any increase in housing charges except where:
    • the registrar approves a shorter notice
    • the members unanimously approve the increase at a general meeting
  • the coop must give a minimum of 30 days' notice to a member of the termination of his or her membership, except where the member has broken bylaws governing:
    • ordinary cleanliness of the unit after receiving written notice of the violation
    • the use of the premises for prohibited purposes
    • payment of housing charges.
The bylaws of housing co-ops must also address:
  • the manner in which each member may be required to contribute money towards cooperative purposes
  • the payment of housing charges and other services
  • the manner for establishing the amount of housing charges
  • a method or methods for resolving disputes between members and the coop
  • the manner in which a member may withdraw his or her membership and how he or she may be required to repay any money owed to the coop
  • the rules governing the leasing of housing units by members to non-members.

A copy of the bylaws and articles must be sent to the Registrar prior to incorporation, together with any other information required by the Registrar. Prior to approving the incorporation, the Registrar must be satisfied that the bylaws and articles comply with the Act, and it is therefore appropriate to approve the incorporation.

Meetings

A housing coop must hold at least one members' meeting, called an annual general meeting (AGM), no later than 6 months after the end of the fiscal year of the coop.

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, legislation specifies that, to be a director, an individual must be:

  • at least 18 years of age
  • of sound mind
  • deemed not to be an undischarged bankrupt.

Elections are normally held at the AGM. Voting is usually done by a show of hands, unless three or more members at a general meeting demand a vote by ballot. When there are more nominees than positions open on the board, the vote must be done with a secret ballot.

Reserve Fund

The directors must set aside at least 5 per cent of any surplus in a reserve, except if the reserve fund is equal to or more than 20 per cent of the coop's total assets, as shown in its financial statement.

The reserve fund must be invested in the following:

  • a credit union, the Saskatchewan Co-operative Credit Society Limited or a chartered bank
  • bonds of Canada, Saskatchewan or any other province or territory of Canada;
  • bonds or debentures of other cooperatives
  • securities authorized in the Trustee Act.

Access to Information

A housing coop must allow its members to examine documents of the coop, excluding confidential documents and minutes of in-camera meetings, during regular business hours, and to take copies of the documents without charge.

Offence

A person or a coop is guilty of an offence if the person or coop makes an untrue statement in a filing required under the Coop Act. A person can be fined up to $5,000, jailed up to 6 months, or both.

A co-op can be fined up to $50,000, and any director involved may be fined up to $5,000, jailed for up to 6 months, or both.

Eviction/Expulsion of Members

Grounds for Terminating (Evicting) a Member

The coop makes its own bylaws, which set out how a member can be evicted from the coop. Landlord/tenant legislation will apply to the eviction of members only if the bylaws expressly state that landlord/tenant legislation will apply to the eviction of members.

In evicting a member, the co-op must first terminate the membership of the individual.

The Termination Process

The termination process starts with a written complaint to the board about an individual member. At a board meeting, the board discusses the complaint. A decision on how to proceed is made by resolution.

In order for the resolution to terminate to be carried, at least 2/3 of the directors on the board must vote for the termination. The secretary of the coop must inform the member within 10 days of the coop's decision to terminate his or her membership. Once a person's membership in the coop is terminated, he or she loses the right to occupy the unit.

Membership can also be terminated by the members at a general meeting if the termination is approved by at least 2/3 of the members who vote at the meeting and the person the members are seeking to evict has received 10 days' notice of the meeting.

Member's Right to Appeal

If a member is evicted by the board, the member can appeal the decision of the board at next general meeting of the members by giving written notice of his or her intention to appeal to the secretary within 30 days.

The member continues to be a member and does not lose his or her right to occupy the unit during the appeal.

During the general members' meeting, members vote to either confirm (support) or quash (overturn) the directors' resolution to terminate. This can be done with an ordinary resolution that requires a simple majority, unless the bylaws require otherwise.

If members quash the board's decision to evict the member, the member can continue to be a coop member. If the members vote to confirm the board's decision to terminate the member, the secretary of the coop must tell the member of the decision within 10 days after the decision was made.

The evicted member can appeal the decision to the registrar as long as he or she has not:

  • failed to pay housing charges on time
  • failed to fulfill any other financial obligations
  • vandalized or destroyed coop property
  • used the housing unit for illegal purposes
  • failed to comply with a bylaw regulating the leasing of a housing unit to a non-member.

When a member appeals termination, he or she continues to be a member of the coop until the termination is confirmed by either the meeting of members or the registrar.

Obtaining a Writ of Possession to Remove the Terminated Member

If a member refuses to vacate the unit after having his or her membership terminated, the coop must make an application for a writ of possession to the Director of Residential Tenancies or the Court of Queen's Bench.

After Termination

The coop has up to 1 year from the date of termination to pay the member all moneys held on his or her behalf, with interest. However, if the coop cannot, after all reasonable efforts have been exhausted, locate the member after he or she moved from the coop, the coop must transfer the moneys owed to the former member into a reserve fund.

If the member was terminated or he or she moved from or abandoned the unit formerly occupied by the member and has left property in the housing unit, the coop can apply to the Director of Residential Tenancies for an order to remove the member's property and sell or otherwise dispose of the property. The Director of Residential Tenancies must first be satisfied that the coop has made a reasonable effort to find the former member.

The proceeds of the sale or disposition of the property must be paid to the Director of Residential Tenancies in trust for the former member, after deducting costs incurred for the disposition and any arrears of housing charges and damage that the Director of Residential Tenancies allows. If the former member does not claim the remaining proceeds held by the Director of Residential Tenancies within 3 months after the day the moneys were paid to the Director of Residential Tenancies, the Director of Residential Tenancies will then forward the moneys to the Minister of Finance to be deposited in the general revenue fund.

Collecting Money Owed

Allowed claim amounts for Civil Division of the Saskatchewan Provincial Court (Small Claims):

  • up to and including $20,000.

The coop can recover costs from a current or past member for unpaid housing charges.

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 $20,000, 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 involved and it is suggested that the claimant consult a lawyer.

Related Links

Office of Residential Tenancies
Regina: 120 – 2151 Scarth St,
Regina, SK
S4P 2H8
Saskatoon: #105 – 122 – 3rd Avenue North
Saskatoon, SK 
S7K 2H6
Tel.: (toll free in SK): 888-215-2222
Fax: 1-888-867-7776
Email: ORT@gov.sk.ca
www.saskatchewan.ca/ort

University of Saskatchewan — Centre for the Study of Co-operatives
101 Diefenbaker Place
University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, SK
S7N 5B8
Tel.: 306-966-8509
Email: coop.studies@usask.ca
coop-studies.usask.ca
Offers useful resources and studies in the area of cooperatives.

Saskatchewan Co-operative Association
1515 20th Street West
Saskatoon, SK
S7M 0Z5
Tel.: 306-244-3702
Email: sca@sask.coop
www.sask.coop
Provides information about the association and coops.

Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission
Saskatoon Office
Suite 816, Sturdy Stone Building
122 – 3rd Avenue North
Saskatoon, SK
S7K 2H6
Tel.: 306-933-5952
Toll free: 1-800-667-9249 (Saskatoon) or 1-800-667-8577 (Regina)
Email: shrc@gov.sk.ca
www.shrc.gov.sk.ca
Provides information on how to bring a human rights complaint to the Commission.

YUKON

Name of Act/Regulations

Cooperative Associations Act, RSY 2002, c. C-43
canlii.ca/en/yk/laws/stat/rsy-2002-c-43/71392/rsy-2002-c-43.html

Cooperative Associations Regulations, YOIC 1980/301
canlii.ca/en/yk/laws/regu/yoic-1980-301/72353/yoic-1980-301.html

Incidental and Ancillary Powers of an Association, Y.O.I.C. 1988/192
canlii.ca/en/yk/laws/regu/yoic-1988-192/72022/yoic-1988-192.html

Landlord/tenant legislation does not apply to housing coops.

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

The Coop Act does not require housing coops to be run on a cooperative basis.

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 comply with 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 Registrar of Cooperative Associations.

Bylaws

Before the coop is incorporated, the incorporators must submit a copy of the bylaws (together with the memorandum of association) to the Registrar for his or her examination and approval. The bylaws set out rules dealing with the governance of the coop. The standard bylaws contained in the Cooperative Associations Regulations, YOIC 1980/301, are deemed to be the bylaws of the coop. The 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

A housing co-op must hold an annual general meeting every year (AGM) at a time and place specified in the coop’s bylaws.

Board of Directors

The Coop Act sets out who can sit on the board of directors. Essentially, legislation specifies that, to be a director, the member must:

  • be at least 18 years of age.

The board of directors meets at least once every 3 months.

Access to Information

A housing coop must allow its members to examine its membership records, excluding confidential documents and in-camera minutes of meetings, at a place and times designated by the coop.

Offences

An individual who is guilty of an offence under the Coop Act can be fined up to $500 or jailed 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 for each offence. 

Eviction/Expulsion of Members

Grounds for Terminating (Evicting) a Member

A member can be evicted from a coop for failing to comply with the Coop Act or the bylaws.

The Termination Process

The coop makes its own bylaws, which set out how a member can be evicted from a coop. Typically, the termination process starts with a written complaint to the coop 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 being held to consider his or her termination, 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 specifically state that a member has the right to be represented by a lawyer, if the member wishes to be represented by a lawyer, it is advisable that the coop permit this. If the coop refuses to permit the member to be represented by a lawyer, a court may 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 for it.

Member's Right to Appeal

The bylaws state:

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

Obtaining a Writ of Possession to Remove the Terminated Member

The Yukon 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 action in the Supreme Court of Yukon for a writ to recover land.

Collecting Money Owed

Allowed claim amounts for Provincial (small claims) Court:

  • up to and including $25,000.
The coop can recover unpaid housing charges from 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 greater than $25,000, 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

Yukon Human Rights Commission
101 – 9010 Quartz Road
Whitehorse, YT
Y1A 2Z5
Tel.: 867-667-6226
Toll free: 1-800-661-0535
Email: humanrights@yhrc.yk.ca
http://www.yhrc.yk.ca/

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Date Published: January 1, 0001