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 unit 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.

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.

Members Rights

Members of a housing co-op have a right to:

  • Right #1

    Vote on the annual budget, which sets the monthly housing charges

  • Right #2

    Elect a board of directors made up of people who live in your co‑op

  • Right #3

    Run for the board of directors yourself

  • Right #4

    Receive audited financial statements that show how the co‑op spent your money

  • Right #5

    Pay only a limited portion of your income for your housing, if you meet eligibility rules

  • Right #6

    Live there for as long as you like, if you keep to the by-laws agreed on by the co‑op membership

Video Info

Co-op Structure

Our Federation

The mission of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada (CHF Canada) is to inspire, represent and serve our members in a united co operative housing movement.

Our members are housing co-ops as well as the organizations and people who support them.

CHF Canada sets out a strategic plan to meet member needs, including education and resources, advocacy and enterprise services like insurance, asset management and refinancing.

CHF Canada also connects Canada’s co-op housing movement with housing co-ops in other countries and with co-operative enterprises in Canada and around the world. Our international work is carried out through our support and involvement with Rooftops Canada and Co-operative Housing International.

To learn more, click here.