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About Co-op Housing

About Co-op Housing

Housing co‑ops provide at-cost housing for their members.

They are controlled by members who have a vote in decisions. There is no outside landlord.

Each housing co‑operative is a legal association, incorporated as a co‑operative. Housing co‑ops are guided by international co‑operative principles, adapted for housing co‑ops.

Around the world, the co-operative housing model is flexible and takes many different forms.

In Canada, most housing co-ops are rental co-ops developed during the 1970s and ’80s under government social housing programs targeted to people with low to moderate incomes. We are now moving into an era where there will be many different types of housing co-ops, including equity.

If you live in a housing co-op you are:

  • a voting member who contributes to the governance of the co‑op
  • part of a community where neighbours look out for one another
  • living in housing that will stay affordable because it’s run on a non-profit basis and is never resold
  • linked to other forms of co‑operative enterprises active in banking, retail, farming, insurance, daycare, health services and more, and
  • a member of a worldwide movement.

Housing co-op members have the right to:

  • elect a board of directors
  • run for the board
  • receive audited financial statements showing how the co‑op spent money
  • approve by-laws, rules and major policies, and
  • live there for as long as you like, if you keep to the by-laws or rules agreed on by the members.

For more information on what is required to create and run a co‑op, the laws and regulations governing co‑ops, and what sets co‑ops apart from other kinds of housing, see the Resources & Education section of this website or Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Guide to Co‑op Housing.