Board of Directors
Members elect directors to manage or supervise the management of the business of CHF Canada.
The Board has 16 members: 10 directors are elected regionally (one from each province), five directors serve at-large, and one director represents the aboriginal community.
The Board meets at least four times a year, usually in Ottawa.
Meet the current board
Linda Campbell arrived at Willow Park East Housing Co-op in Winnipeg as a young woman who was attracted to the affordability and locale. She’d reached “an age and stage” in life where she didn’t want to purchase another home. Nineteen years later, she’s still passionately invested in co-op life, currently sits on the board of directors and has served as president.
In addition to work with her co-op, she’s served on several other boards, including the North End Women’s Centre in Winnipeg’s inner city (president); Aboriginal Youth Alliance, a program of the Lord Selkirk Women’s Group (president) and the Royal Canadian Legion Women’s Auxiliary (first and second vice president). Currently, she tends to community issues as needed and serves as a Commissioner for Oaths for the Province of Manitoba.
Through her facilitation business and as an addictions counselor, she teaches anger management, parenting and employment skills in the community. She also works and volunteers for women and men in prisons to assist offenders with release planning and reintegration into the community.
Linda believes strongly in the obligation of co-op members to participate in their co-op communities. “You can’t just sit there, you’ve got to learn!” she says. “You have to put your body and your mind forward. Once other members see you’re really there, they accept you as part of them.”
She is a great advocate of the co op governance model and believes that when people have a say in the decisions that affect the future of their homes, it gives them a greater sense of empowerment to feel like they are part of a larger community.
As a CHF Canada director and a member of the diversity committee, she believes that we need to focus on our aging populations, people living with disabilities, leadership renewal, encouraging youth member involvement and building different types of housing co ops to suit the needs of all Canadians.
“I am committed to making housing co ops the greatest places to live in Canada. In order to do this, we must continue to build upon new ideas, on unity and on diversity.”
It was while attending school at the University of Manitoba (Environmental Design) that Jacky first discovered co-operative housing (Pembina Woods). When she pursued graduate level studies at the University of Calgary (Architecture) and wanted to move into another housing co-op, she felt lucky to get into Sunnyhill Housing Co-operative. What struck her then and still does to this day is the fact that you get to know your neighbours, and members tend to stay much longer than rental accommodation. Being a part of a stable community comes with the housing.
After 17 years in co-op housing Jacky brings a wealth of experience from volunteering on her own co-op committees, with SACHA on the Education Committee and volunteering to help host the CHF Canada AGM in 2013. In addition to volunteering Jacky is a consultant with SACHA and has just completed re-training for her computer drafting skills. Her home is no longer undergoing flood renovations (thank you to everyone that donated to help us and High River Co-op!) and is happy to take on additional responsibility with the national federation.
People who live in housing co-operatives have come to feel that their community is part of their extended family. Keeping housing co-ops together and functioning is the main goal of this director.
Lisa Berting has been involved in the co-op sector in a multitude of ways for the last 24 years.
She first heard about housing co-ops in 1991, and her family moved into Burnaby’s Misty Ridge Co-op in 1992.
Lisa enjoyed being involved in her co-op, and this led to her seeking employment in the sector. For the past 18 years, she has been overseeing the financial services department in a co-op management company. For each client, she produces an annual operating budget, monthly financial reports, and a review of the annual audit. She is very familiar with the end of operating agreement issues that co-op’s potentially face, and is firmly committed to ensuring that each co-op has the tools needed to get through this change.
For six years, Lisa served on the CHF BC board of directors, four of those years in the role of treasurer. During this time, she was also on the founding board of directors of both Athletes Village and Fraserview co-ops.
For the last two years, she has served on the CHF BC Finance Committee as well as the CHF Canada Finance and Audit Committee.
Lisa’s objective is to assist BC/Yukon co-ops by bringing their voices to the national table. She feels her experience will enable her to assist co-ops at this critical time, as many end their operating agreements and move into a new phase.
Lisa believes that co-op housing is the way to go in these unaffordable times and that we need to do everything we can as a sector to ensure that existing co-ops not only thrive, but expand. She would love to see more one-bedroom units built and more co-ops built in general, with those members already in co-ops supported as their needs change.
In BC, Lisa is watching closely the issue of co-op stock on leased land – this describes about a third of the co-op stock in the province. With leases set to expire within the next few years and some already requiring renewal as a condition for lending, this issue could impact a very large portion of the stock in BC and many members.
Frank Wheeler’s first introduction to co-op housing came in 2008 when he moved into Winnipeg’s Village Canadien Co-op one month before the birth of his first child. As a full-time engineering student with a 20-hour a week job, life was rather busy. “The co-op surprised me with the offer of a subsidy I didn’t even realize was available, and that really got me through those years.”
Wheeler took on a deep appreciation for the co-op model, both as a cost-sharing mechanism and as a means to have a say in the running of one’s community and being a voice for that community. He began to take roles on the board—as secretary for four years and now as vice president.
Right from the start, former CHF Canada director Linda Ferguson encouraged Wheeler’s participation in governance. Being a delegate at the St. John’s AGM was “an eye-opener to the sector,” he recalls. “I could see the bigger picture and felt that I could move on to help at a different level.”
As Manitoba director, Wheeler can relate to issues facing other co-ops through his experiences at Village. “Our operating agreement ends nine years before our mortgage matures. When the operating agreement ends we will lose our government-assisted subsidies, and sadly we won’t be in a position to provide support to our subsidized members under our own operating budget because we’ll have to keep making mortgage payments until 2027. Furthermore, we have to address deferred maintenance and maintain capital repairs throughout these years. Village Canadien’s other big challenge is very much related, in that we are currently unable to take advantage of refinancing to better our position due to the nature of our mortgage and the fact that breaking it would impose a crippling pre-payment penalty.”
As director, Wheeler says with the support and guidance of CHF Canada directors and staff he can focus locally on approaching government with regard to these issues, and then share his experiences and lessons learned.
While he isn’t seeing much development in the co-operative housing sector, Village Canadien is in the process of planning an apartment complex for aging members (55 plus), and this is another experience he hopes to share with the larger sector.
“Getting on the board is another learning experience to me, a chance to expand my horizons and give something back along the way. It’s a combination of learning and contributing, a good way for me to gain some more skills and at the same time, expand my network, my relationships.”
Wheeler is manager of the FibreCITY program at the Composites Innovation Centre, a not-for-profit engineering consulting firm. He loves music, drumming, and wilderness excursions such as canoe and fishing trips. Most of all he’s busy with his family. “I’ve got a son who’s six and a daughter who’s almost three, and every day with them is hilarious,” he says. “Everything revolves around them.”
As client services coordinator for Saint John’s Housing Alternatives Inc., a non-profit that provides development and management services to housing co-ops and non-profits, Allison Ferris provides board support to five New Brunswick co-ops. She meets with directors, attends board meetings, liaises with government and ensures that all requirements under special agreements are being met. She also facilitates workshops for CHF Canada and the New Brunswick Non Profit Housing Association.
All of this informs her work as CHF Canada director for New Brunswick. “I think it’s important that housing co-ops continue to exist in Canada and specifically in New Brunswick. The need for affordable housing is tremendous here in the province, and my experience will benefit the sector.”
The primary issue facing co-operative housing in Canada today is the end of operating agreements and the impact this will have on affordable housing in the city and province, says Ferris. In her role with Housing Alternatives, Ferris has met with the Minister of Social Development about these issues and worked closely with CHF Canada and Brunswick Co-operative Housing (BRUNCH). She’s open to new strategies and approaches to funding issues and is particularly interested in refinancing and development.
Ferris is dedicated to the non-profit sector and believes that “housing is definitely the key: it’s one of the basic human needs.” Over her years of experience, it hasn’t been one moment that has instilled her belief in the power of co-operative housing, but many. “It’s numerous little stories that become the whole picture. It’s the people who have come into the office, acquired a safe, affordable place to live and then been able to turn their lives around.”
Ferris is married with three children and holds a bachelors in business administration from the University of New Brunswick.
“All my life has been housing, from the very first day I went to work,” says David Boyde.
This accountant has been working for Newfoundland’s CHANAL as both bookkeeper and Financial Service Manager since 2003, the same year he moved into Mount Pearl’s Freedom Housing Co-op.
David does the books for 13 of the 21 co-ops in the province and previously sat on the CHF Canada board for six years (2004-2010). He says that with all his experience in accounting, housing and finances, assessing costs for co-op housing is easy. “It’s like picking up a cup of coffee at Tim Horton’s or falling off a log.”
David began with a degree in economics then got his CRA from the Appraisal Institute of Canada. His goal on the board is to promote and advance co-op housing in Newfoundland while also looking at the bigger picture.
His focus is the end of operating agreements in Newfoundland and on building more unitsespecially for seniors. He says the agreements of all of the co-ops in the province will end soon, and co-ops must choose between refinancing and operating without mortgages. There are no units for seniors and few that are accessible, with no condos or apartments available either. The last co-ops built in the province were in 1991-1992, so there is a big demand for new housing at this time.
David has a vision for the co-ops in his province and the part he would like to play in supporting them. “I’d like to see co-ops prosper after they come out of their agreements, and I’d like to be there to help with the knowledge of my 40 years in the accounting and housing industries.”
He has a wife and three grown children.
Angela grew up in rural PEI and moved to Nova Scotia in 1989. After becoming a single parent, she and her three children moved into Highfield Park Housing Co-op. She immediately became involved in maintenance activities and within six months joined the board, where she was part of a board of directors that turned a co-op in difficulty into a successful one. During this process she was able to help her co-op to work with CHF Canada staff and other stakeholders using the skills taught at CHF Canada’s education events.
Angela was taught that it is important to give to your community, and by volunteering in her co-op she realized that the values she was raised with are aligned with those of the co-op community. The Cooperative Principles are similar to her beliefs: every voice has a say, open and honest communication are imperative, care for the earth is vital and by working together things are easier to accomplish.
Angela has a strong voice and is passionate about ensuring that co-ops continue to be affordable housing options. After struggling with depression, she needed a subsidized unit, and if it hadn’t been available, she and family would have been homeless. She would like to ensure that all persons who need affordable housing have access.
Aging in place is also an area Angela feels strongly about. With aging family members of her own she knows the struggle people face as they age, from wanting to stay in your home and community to being able to make the home accessible and managing the challenge of fixed incomes. During her time on the board, she would like to advocate for the expansion and creation of new co-operative housing units, with aging in place features built into the designs.
Angela works full-time in the food and beverage industry and has a background in construction. In her spare time she enjoys jogging and walking Buddy, her lab beagle terrier.
Barbara’s involvement with housing co-ops began 22 years ago, as one of the founding members of the Westridge Estates Co-operative Ltd. which she currently serves as treasurer on the board and as chair of the Membership Committee.
“I feel very fortunate and grateful to be part of the housing co-operative! I am also very proud to call Westridge Estates Co-op my home, a true community within a Community,” says Barbara. “I have always been an active member and watched my community grow stronger as we have become more knowledgeable about co-operative principles and values.”
Barbara would like to help ensure that the co-op housing movement remains viable and strong well into the future by continuing to strengthen networks between PEI housing co-operatives, by helping co-ops in her province learn more about the 2020 Vision project, and by supporting initiatives that will ensure government subsidies remain in place after housing agreements end.
Louis-H. Campagna has been investing in the co-operative model since he was a child. This fire service professional began his lifelong passion for co-ops at age seven with weekly contributions to his savings account at the local credit union. In CEGEP (Quebec college), he served on the board of directors for the school supply co-op, which educated him in business governance. When it was time to look for his first home, a co-op was the obvious choice. Twenty years, many board stints and two housing co-ops later, the Quebec/Nunavut director is more invested than ever. And he’s got a vision to match his drive.
His interest stems from a pragmatism coupled with an affinity for the democratic decision-making process. “Having a say in my immediate environment is important to me. It makes sense to work with other people to meet our economic needs outside of the profit motive.”
While he applauds the recent reinvestment of the federal government in subsidized housing, Louis wants to make sure we avoid the mistakes of the past. Namely, a clear government exit strategy is required for co-ops to gain their full business autonomy while the responsibility for supporting low income households – and thus, the integrity of existing communities – remains perennially in the hands of government. A National Housing Strategy is a must-have tool for the long-term planning of safe and affordable home availability for all Canadians.
Nationally, Louis will foster increased communication between Quebec and other provinces on common issues. To further improve networking both within and between co-ops, he advocates an increased use of communication technologies like Skype, virtual document storage and social media.
He would consider the establishment of a co-operative tribunal, inspired by what exists in India and certain African countries, for example, to settle conflicts related to membership issues, when such conflict has degraded beyond the remedy of mediation. Currently in Canada, such issues are either settled at great expense by mainstream bodies not specialized in co-operative practices or find no fair arbitration and result in a weighting down of the co-operative spirit.
At the local level, Louis believes co-ops have the capacity to be models of good governance and management through education and external, independent audits. He supports a decisive turn among co-ops to become market leaders in sustainable development through an emphasis on green buildings and integrated neighborhoods. And while we’re at it, we can become models in residential fire safety, prevention and preparation.
From the co-op sector end of things, he would like to see housing co-ops expand development outside of the government program paradigm and explore alternatives such as group mortgages, collective financing and equity projects. He would also encourage the Quebec government to pick up federal slack wherever it materializes with regard to conventional rental co-ops.
Louis strives to remain educated on the development of the housing co-op sector in Northern Canada (Nunavut), where the need is so blatant. In Nunavik (Northern Quebec) especially, he keeps informed on the joint development program under consideration by partners such as the Fédération des coopératives du Nouveau-Québec, Desjardins, the Société d’habitation du Québec, and the Quebec Housing Co-op Confederation.
Since April 2015, Louis sits on the board of directors of The Co-operators, one of CHF Canada’s cherished co-operative partners, providing value-added services to our member housing co-ops and federations. Since June 2015, he also sits on the CHF Canada Risk Underwriting Fund (RUF) Administration Committee.
When Pat McClain moved into Paloma Housing Co-op 31 years ago, she was a single mom yearning for some security. “I’d been at the mercy of landlords,” says Pat. “At a co-op you ran your own show, you could call the shots.”
Pat has been calling shots in the non-profit housing sector for 41 years now. Among her credits is the start-up of Red Door Housing Society in 1983 to develop, build and manage non-profit rental housing.
Since then, she spent 14 years working for CHF Canada, retiring from her role as Member Relations Program Manager in 2009. During her tenure, she was proud to be part of creating “a really cohesive sector” in BC. CHF Canada went from having 75 member co-ops in BC to their current roster of close to 200. Pat’s also a trained CHF Canada facilitator who’s been delivering workshops across the country for over 20 years and 2020 Compass sessions for the past eight years.
Pat has facilitated workshops for the BC Non-Profit Housing Association and BC Housing Management Commission; served on the boards of CCEC Credit Union, Red Door Housing Society and Paloma Co-op; and currently sits on CHF BC’s Aging in Place Committee.
Committed to life-long learning, she completed an Honours B.A. in English in 1995.
With the upcoming end of operating agreements, Pat is concerned for the future of housing co-ops and their representative organizations. She believes that the national and regional federations will need to become more creative and relevant to rise to the challenge. For their part, she predicts that co-ops will need the guidance and support of the federations more than ever, as Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the Agency for Co-operative Housing will no longer be in the picture.
Pat looks forward to seeing co-ops form partnerships to get more housing co-ops built. She would like to see housing co-ops return to the social justice values that were fundamental to the sector at its root. She says, “We need to have some serious discussions about what kind of movement we want to be, who we are here to house and how we can achieve those goals.”
After an absence of several years, Barb Millsap returned to a position in the elected leadership of CHF Canada in 2008 when she was chosen as the Northern Ontario member of the Ontario Council.
Barb had previously served on the CHF Canada board of directors for nine years from 1987 to 1997. She served as Vice-President for four years and for her final three years as President. She has been very involved in the local and broader co-op movement. In addition to terms on the board of several housing co-ops, she has also taken turns on the board of the Canadian Co-operative Association (10 years), of her local Credit Union and was on the founding board of the Agency for Co-operative Housing. In those roles she has had the privilege to travel and visit co-ops and Credit Unions in many parts of the world.
Barb become a member of a developing co-op in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1982 and became their first resident President in 1983. Even though she moved to two different provinces she has continued to live in housing co-ops both in Calgary, Alberta and in Sudbury, Ontario. She was involved in developing housing co-ops in Saskatchewan and in Northern Ontario.
Barb moved into her first co-op in Saskatoon in 1982 and has lived in co-ops in Calgary and Sudbury.
Since 1994 she has lived in Raiffeisen Co-op in Sudbury where she serves as their President. Since it opened in 1994, Raiffeisen has had a very successful supportive housing agreement offering seven units for clients of the local Canadian Mental Health Association. In 2007, Barb helped her Co-op access the Affordable Housing Program to build Raiffeisen II on an adjoining lot. Move-in to the 80 unit apartment complex was November 1, 2009. She is very pleased that Raiffeisen II has been able to help address the need for one and two bedroom units in the community and to enter into two supportive housing agreements to provide 12 units to physically challenged individuals and eight units to clients of the Canadian Mental Health Association.
The experience accessing the Affordable Housing Program spurred Barb to seek changes to the program. She hopes to contribute her experience at Raiffeisen II to the Ontario Region’s work to win improvements to the program. In her role on the Ontario Council she has served as Vice-President and now as President. Her aim is to seek improvements in the legislation and the regulations that affect co-ops and their members. Barb believes in the power of co-ops to effect positive change in people and in communities.
Barb has her degree in Commerce and Business Administration and her Masters in Business Administration. She can often be found teaching part-time in Laurentian University’s School of Commerce. She is currently managing Springhill Co-op, Silo Co-op and Maisons St. Jacques Co-op in Sudbury, Ontario. Her two children, Ben and Elizabeth, have been successfully launched.
When Nicole Waldron moved into Atahualpa Co-operative Homes in Scarborough 22 years ago, she felt like she was coming home.
“When we went for the interview, the warmth and reception of our interviewers felt right. We also heard about how involved members were, and the promotion of a united family environment was appealing,” says Nicole.
“My family is originally from Trinidad, which is a very friendly place, and communities are close-knit, so after living in various places, we found Atahualpa, which quickly felt like home.”
At the CHF Canada 2009 AGM in Victoria, BC, delegates first elected Nicole to be on the Ontario Council. In 2015 Nicole was elected onto the CHF Canada Board, where she now serves as president.
As a CHF Canada board member, Nicole says she would like to assist in fostering the sustainability of co-ops. “I want to work to ensure that co-op housing is valued, understood and continues to have a significant place in Canadian society. I believe that affordable housing is a right, not a privilege.”
An active volunteer in the community, she has served in various capacities at Atahualpa, where she is currently president of the board. She also served as an ambassador and community champion with Social Housing Services Corporation’s Green Light on a Better Environment (GLOBE) Program, which aimed to promote conservation and a sustainable environment through resident engagement in co-op and non-profit housing. She is past board member of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto (CHFT).
“My time on the CHFT Board opened me up to new horizons. I was able to see the wide scope of co-operative and affordable housing,” says Nicole. “It brought me more in tune with the need to increase the supply of affordable, good quality housing in this province.
Outside of her co-op, she works at the Senate of Canada and is also an event specialist, producing events to motivate, enlighten and empower individuals to live according to their purpose. The multi-faceted Nicole Waldron works tirelessly for the betterment of her community and the world at large as a social activist and motivational speaker. She partners with several for-profit and non-profit organizations in various capacities to facilitate community cohesion and celebration. Some of her clients include Joan Pierre & Associates, Exclusive Entertainment, Vibrant Vocals and the African Canadian Achievement Awards.
Particularly passionate about the success of future generations, this community advocate has laboured on issues related to youth and women at risk with various organizations. Her versatility continues to be an asset, allowing her to be influential in a range of areas.
Nicole Waldron is a change agent dedicated to making a difference in the lives of those she has the opportunity to connect with, one day and one action at a time.
*Executive Committee members