WHAT IS A CO-OP?
A housing co-op is a type of residential housing option. It is different from non-profit and rental housing: there is no landlord; residents are members instead of tenants, who pay housing charges, not rent, for at-cost housing. Co-op housing is secure and members control their incorporated, democratic organization. In Ontario, except for one section about eviction, the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 does not apply to housing co-ops. Instead, we are governed by the Co-operative Corporations Act, as well as each co-op’s by-laws, which are adopted by the members, who agree to abide by when they sign an occupancy agreement (not lease).
Co-op members have rights and responsibilities, including electing a board of directors among members, setting the housing charges, and attending a few members’ meetings a year to make decisions together.
Democratic and economic participation are just aspects of the community engagement that makes co-ops a better way to live. Canada’s housing co-ops are made up of diverse and inclusive communities, and members contribute valuable volunteer time and energy – from helping with neighbours, organizing social events, to serving on the board – to help their co-op operate and improve their community’s quality of life. Being part of a strong, vibrant community is what draws many people to join co-ops rather than be a tenant.
For more information about co-ops, check out CHF Canada, CHFT, and CMHC’s co-operative housing guide.
A housing co-op is one of several types of co-operatives. We are part of a larger community and worldwide movement.
We are guided by international co-operative principles, adapted for housing co-ops:
1. Voluntary and Open Membership
Membership in a housing co-op is open to all who can use the co-op’s services and accept the responsibilities of being a member, without discrimination.
2. Democratic Control
Housing co-ops are controlled by their members. Each member has one vote. Housing co-ops give members the information they need to make good decisions, and take part in the life of the co-op.
3. Member Economic Participation
Members contribute financially to the co-op and share in the benefits of membership. The co-op does not pay a return on the members’ shares or deposits. Instead it sets aside reserves for the future and charges the members only what it needs to operate soundly.
4. Autonomy and Independence
Housing co-ops are independent associations. They follow the laws that apply to them and their agreements with governments or other organizations. But the members control the co-op.
5. Education, Training, and Information
Housing co-ops offer education and training to the members, directors and staff so that everyone can play a full role in the life of the co-op. Housing co-ops find ways to tell the public what they are and what they do.
6. Co-operation among Co-operatives
By organizing together in federations, housing co-ops grow stronger and help to build a healthy co-op movement. Where they can, housing co-ops use the services of co-op businesses to meet their needs.
7. Concern for Community
Housing co-ops work to build strong communities inside and outside the co-op. They help to improve the quality of life for others and they take care to protect the environment.
APPLYING FOR MEMBERSHIP
Our waiting lists are currently closed and we are not accepting applications. For information about our application process, please refer to our latest info sheet.
To check out other housing co-ops in Toronto, Durham and York Region, visit CHFT’s co-op listing. Note that co-ops operate independently and we do have a role in managing other co-op’s applications or waiting lists.
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95 Wychcrest Ave, Toronto, ON M6G 3X8 | 416-534-2216 | firstname.lastname@example.org