What is a Co-op?
There are many kinds of co-operatives: food co-ops, co-op daycares, credit unions, retail co-ops, worker co-ops and housing co-ops. Any group of people can form a co-operative. The members own the co-operative and the co-operative provides a service they need. Housing co-operatives provide housing.
Since the 1930s, Canadians have been building and living in housing co-ops. The people who live in the housing are the co-op’s members. They elect, from among themselves, a Board of Directors to manage the business of the co-op.
Each member has one vote. Members work together to keep their housing well-managed and affordable.
Over the years, federal and provincial governments have funded various programs to help Canadians create non-profit housing co-ops. The co-ops developed under these programs provide good quality, affordable housing.
As a co-op member, you have security of tenure. This means that you can live in your home for as long as you wish if you follow the rules of the co-op and pay your housing charge (rent). As a co-op member, you have a say in decisions that affect your home.
You and your neighbours own your homes co-operatively. Members form a community that works together to manage the co-op. Co-op communities are made up of all kinds of people – people with different backgrounds and incomes and special needs. These diverse and vibrant communities are the unique strength of the co-op housing movement.
In a housing co‑op members have the right to:
Vote on the annual budget, which sets the monthly housing charges
Elect a board of directors made up of people who live in your co‑op
Run for the board of directors yourself
Receive audited financial statements that show how the co‑op spent your money
Pay only a limited portion of your income for your housing, if you meet eligibility rules
Live there for as long as you like, if you keep to the by-laws agreed on by the co‑op membership