Board of Directors
Members elect directors to manage or supervise the management of the business of CHF Canada.
The Board has 16 seats in total with nine regional representatives, one Indigenous Communities representative, and six directors at-large.
The Board meets at least four times a year, usually in Ottawa.
Meet the current board
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.
“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.
Isabel was five years old when she moved into Sarcee Meadows. In her first year on the board, the co-op sent her to the CHF Canada AGM in Charlottetown. “It completely opened my eyes to the fact that the co-op movement was far greater than I thought,” she said. Now acclaimed as the Regional Director for Alberta/NWT, Isabel is hoping to learn as much as possible in one year, and voice the perspectives of members in her region.
She believes every co-op is unique, and when it comes to decisions that will impact the future of a co-op, it’s important to determine the best option for any particular community. At the same time, creating a broader awareness of the co-op housing reality is important to her. “There is a complete lack of awareness that co-ops exist, and it saddens me to see this.”
Sitting on the board of CHF Canada is something she has long hoped to experience. No stranger to governance, Isabel has been a member of the Alberta advocacy group, the Southern Alberta Co-operative Housing Association since 2019. Along with serving on committees and task forces in her co-op, she has volunteered extensively with Alberta Health Services, the Calgary Police Service, the Alberta Children’s Hospital, and the Children’s Hospice.
Isabel has a Bachelor of Health Sciences and is currently pursuing admission to law school. When not busy with her studies, she enjoys partner dancing and other social events.
In a career spanning over 40 years, Tom has always believed in the power of co-ops to create a better world.
Tom moved into Grace MacInnis Co-operative in downtown Toronto in 1978. In 1979, he became the manager of the Alexandra Park Co-operative. He joined the staff of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto (CHFT) in 1981 as the Member Services Co-ordinator. At that time, the federation had 35 member co-ops – it now has over 180 housing co-ops. In 1994, Tom became CHFT Executive Director.
At CHFT, Tom has been involved in the administration of the over 4,300 co-operative homes that are part of a land trust portfolio. He also played a critical role in converting 770 units contained in three buildings beside Maple Leaf Gardens, which became City Park Co-operative. This co-op is part of the land trust.
Tom played a key role in the first public housing conversion in Canada, when Alexandra Park became the Atkinson Co-operative in 1994. Atkinson Co-op provides homes for over 400 families. The co-op is currently undergoing a large-scale revitalization.
In 2004, CHFT founded the CHFT Diversity Scholarship Program. In the Toronto area, the scholarship program has awarded over 300 scholarships valued at $1.6 million. Tom has worked with CHF Canada and the regional federations to offer the scholarship program in nine regions in four provinces.
Tom was elected the first president of the Co-operative Housing Association of Ontario (CHAO), and was involved in the successful merger between CHF Canada and CHAO. He later served several terms on the Ontario Council of CHF Canada. .
Tom was active in discussions that created the provincial housing programs that provide affordable housing to thousands of people in Ontario. He was also part of the work involving CMHC, the provinces and the co-operative housing movement that created the Agency for Co-operative Housing.
Tom has been a leader of the national housing co-op movement. He has served on CHF Canada’s Education Committee, the Risk Underwriting Fund and the Federal Co-operative Stabilization Fund. He also chairs the Executive Directors’ Roundtable.
Stephen began his co-operator experience as part of a PEI agriculture family. He continued within the co-op community by working as a Social Housing Project Co-ordinator for Atlantic Peoples Housing Ltd. (APHL) in 1989 and joining a number of co-operatives, including Cornerstone Housing Co-op in Moncton, NB.
As a professional engineer, his co-op career also included a senior management position in the former Co-op Atlantic Ltd.’s real estate and energy division, which operated throughout Atlantic Canada. In his capacity as a senior co-op executive, he was also a founder or director of national, regional and provincial boards.
In his current role as president and CEO of APHL, Stephen is continually positioning the company to ensure that housing co-operatives are informed and have the required resources needed to remain sustainable today and into the future.
He is proud to be involved with a First Nations community in Elsipogtog, NB, to help develop Broderick Avenue Not-For-Profit Housing Co-operative Ltd. The co-operative would provide much needed housing to the community. This model enables members to govern their own housing, which would be new to First Nations communities living on reserve.
He calls communication “by far the biggest challenge” in the relationship between New Brunswick co-op housing members and CHF Canada. His first goal on the board is to encourage meaningful dialogue between CHF Canada staff and leadership of local housing co-operatives, so that members can see the value of their organization’s association with CHF Canada. At the same time, he will encourage local members to participate through the democratic process to influence CHF Canada, which in turn will help bring positive change to their housing world.
As a leading social purpose company, APHL has been a member of CHF Canada for more than 40 years. The management and staff continually strive to be providers of innovative and cost-effective services developed specifically for continuing housing co-ops and residential not-for-profit organizations.
Stephen’s philosophy toward co-op housing is based on the fundamental principle of “people helping people”. This means that members understand that by helping each other, they are also helping themselves. This includes keeping co-ops financially sustainable so that they can continue to exist into the future.
Stephen, his wife Patty, an ER nurse, and two adult children have spent a lot of time at rugby fields, basketball courts, and hockey rinks over the years as coach and spectators. They know what teamwork looks like and appreciate strong teams. While they’ve lived in Moncton, NB for over 20 years, the Davies eventually plan to return to their native province of Prince Edward Island to continue business interests and enjoy their retirement years.
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.
A long-time labour union and LGBTQ activist, Don brings to the table a wealth of experience in governance and in representing diverse populations. As the Nova Scotia representative, he hopes to hear from co-ops in that province and find out what’s important to them. “In the labour movement, the focus is on looking after your members, ensuring people have a good quality of life, and co-ops have the same values,” he explained.
He and his partner have lived in High Hopes for only three years, but his familiarity with co-ops goes back to the 1980s when he was a founding board member of Needham Housing Co-operative. He wants to see the co-op housing movement expand in Canada, and feels that building the capacity for co-ops to work together to achieve common goals is critical to securing affordable housing for the next generation.
He would very much like to see co-ops position themselves to apply successfully for federal funding through the National Housing Strategy. Don also would support steps in Canada’s process of reconciliation with Indigenous people and believes that there is always room for improvement and growth as co-ops try to provide opportunities for people to live in safe and accessible homes.
Don is the vice-president of High Hopes. He also serves as the president for the Nova Scotia Retired Employees Association in Halifax, and as the secretary for the Nova Scotia Health Coalition.
A retired library technician and proud Cape Breton Islander, Don describes himself as “a nerd who loves books”. He’s also a gardener, and is enjoying assisting with the recently acquired raised beds at High Hopes.
As a first-time CHF Canada Board member, Coral is looking forward to bringing her listening and negotiating skills to the table. A member of CHF Canada’s Aging in Place Committee since 2016, she is committed to ensuring that co-ops maintain and expand on accessibility for seniors.
Coral has served on the board of Westboine since 2013, joined the Manitoba Co-operators Association in 2018, and acts as a provincial delegate to The Co-operators Insurance. She also sits on the Conference Planning Committee of the Manitoba Non-Profit Housing Association and is a member of Quality Services for Seniors.
She was inspired to run for the Board after her own co-op went through a difficult experience. Coral believes it was the assistance from CHF Canada that made the difference for Westboine, which is now thriving. “We were on the brink. I felt that CHF Canada was instrumental in guiding the board, and helping us to get our priorities straight. After how much CHF Canada had given to Westboine, I felt it was time to give back. That was really the motivation.”
Her priorities will be to raise the profile of CHF Canada across the country, and expand the membership. “Everyone in Canada should know that CHF Canada exists, and what it does.” She does hold out hope for the National Housing Strategy, but believes that CHF Canada needs to be in the forefront of the push for affordable housing.
An avid gardener, Coral enjoys spending time with her family, including her two grown sons. She feels that personal connections are the key to resolving problems. “Often we forget that organizations, including government, are just made up of people. If you listen to people and understand where they’re coming from, it goes a long way.”
Fostering connections is important to Coral. “Covid-19 has forced us to abandon face-to-face meetings and learn to communicate in different ways. It is vital that CHF Canada provide the network to facilitate a continuing dialogue between its member co-op boards and managers.”
Tina Stevens has dedicated her life to Aboriginal leadership, both in and out of the co-op housing context. Her contribution includes advocacy for an Aboriginal seat on the CHF Canada board while living at Native Inter-Tribal Housing Co-operative, tenure as first Aboriginal community director for CHF Canada and work as second director appointed to the Ontario Council. Throughout her roles, Tina has maintained a belief that housing co-ops provide a safe family environment for members to connect with their culture and community, maintain self-respect and respect for Mother Earth, find employment, access higher education and nurture the seeds for future generations.
Tina is an Algonquin-Ojibwe woman from Kitigan Zibi, Kettle and Stoney Point, who has lived in London, Ontario her whole life. She has three strong sons and attributes her energy to having been raised by a strong mother, a great elder in her own community.
Tina moved into her first co-op with her mother around the age of 12. As a young adult she moved into Native Inter-Tribal Co-op and worked with the co-op to secure a seat for the Aboriginal community on the CHF Canada Board of Directors. In 1996, she became the first Aboriginal community director. As the second director appointed to the Ontario Council, Tina did “double duty”. Tina then took on the role of fighting the Harris government cuts on behalf of the Ontario members including Indigenous co-op communities as the Ontario Council President. In one example of her advocacy work, she met with the provincial MPPs to stop housing cuts and the download of housing from the province to the federal government. In recent years, Tina took her advocacy role to the City of London to fight on behalf of her own housing co-operative.
Tina began to see how Aboriginal communities living on reserve could benefit from the co-op model. She created alliances between the Ontario Non-profit Housing Association (ONPHA) and Aboriginal communities for the purpose of networking for the larger housing sector.
Fast-track to the present, and as a result of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee recommendations, there must be a priority in creating an alliance between ONPHA and CHF Canada to address the crisis of Indigenous housing through the creation of more Aboriginal housing co-ops.
Tina credits former CHF Canada Aboriginal Director Linda Campbell with bringing more education and awareness of Indigenous issues and assisting housing co-ops to reduce barriers to accepting Indigenous members. Indigenous people find it “hugely challenging” to secure affordable housing in BC due to the discrimination of public landlords.
As a CHF Canada Board Director, “my priority is to be able to continue that education that (outgoing Aboriginal Director) Linda Campbell started and keep acknowledging our Seven Grandfather Teachings and how CHF Canada can incorporate the connection between these teachings and the Seven Co-op Principles.” Tina says she will also continue Linda’s work in educating the community about true Indigenous history.
When considering the need for more co-op housing for Indigenous people, Tina notes the movement toward urban centres for Indigenous people seeking better housing conditions including clean water, education and employment. In the matter of the murdered and missing women of BC and across Canada, it is imperative to create more affordable housing which would further address our much needed protection. She cites the issue of homelessness and personal power as key points to be addressed.
Her biggest wish is that all levels of government unite to create a strategy to maintain subsidies for Aboriginal co-op housing rather than terminate that housing with the end of operating agreements. Currently, CMHC funding contracts do not allow Aboriginal co-ops to retain any surplus from year to year, unlike the initial federal operating agreements when co-operative housing was created.
Tina brings to the board the strength of her advocacy and a commitment to communicate to CHF Canada on behalf of members of Aboriginal housing co-ops. “It’s a priority for me to keep building bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people within the housing co-op movement.”
She is also as a member of the CHF Canada Diversity Committee and Governance Committee.
Tina works for the Ministry of the Attorney General, where she addresses issues such as the high number of Indigenous people in prisons and within the child welfare system. As part of the OPSEU Indigenous Circle, she is focussed on bringing education and awareness to the union about Indigenous members.
“I will keep walking in Linda Campbell’s footsteps and continuing the journey that she started. I’m quite the humble person, being re-elected. I come with a lot of humility, working with vulnerable people and placing the importance on their survival.”
Sandra’s introduction to co-ops was through her previous job at Carrefour jeunesse-emploi, an organization that helps integrate young adults into the job market. Subsequently, Sandra applied for a job at FÉCHAQC and that’s how she found herself working in housing co-ops. For the past ten years, Sandra has been the executive director of the federation, which serves housing co-ops in the regions of Quebec and Chaudière-Appalaches.
As a new member of CHF Canada’s Board of Directors, Sandra’s goals include exchanging information and tools, deepening collaborations, and championing the cause of co-ops. She would also like to revisit and renew the agreement between CHF Canada and CQCH and modify it as needed to ensure that the two federations continue communicating and collaborating with one another.
One of the challenges that Sandra is currently experiencing at FÉCHAQC is the development of new co-operatives, among them owner co-ops which are different from government program co-ops. “Developing housing co-ops is a real obstacle course and is like doing relational gymnastics with stakeholders,” according to Sandra. Interesting analogy coming from a triathlete!
In life outside co-ops, Sandra serves as vice president for the Multiethnic Center of Quebec. The center welcomes refugees and economic immigrants, and facilitates their settlement, supports their adaptation, and promotes their access to better socio-economic conditions. The center also houses newcomers in one of its buildings.
Sandra lives in Lac Beauport, just north of Quebec City, with her partner Charles and their two teenagers, Thomas and Emmanuelle.
Anne has been a member of Granville Gardens Housing Co-operative for 30 years. She raised her family there and has been active in the co-op, where she has chaired the board and committees several times. Originally from Scotland, she values the same sense of community in co-ops that she experienced living in a small town.
Anne was previously president of CHF Canada for four years while serving on the board as the regional director for BC and the Yukon.
She is a strong supporter of regional co-op housing federations and believes we need a close partnership with them to deliver programs and develop a vision for the future. This relationship needs to evolve as we work to deliver services and represent our members.
Anne believes that lobbying governments is a priority for the sector as we seek a resolution to the loss of subsidy with the end of operating agreements. Before funding is announced in the federal budget, we have an opportunity to address the end of operating agreements and propose the co-op model as the solution to the critical shortage of affordable housing. The key to our success as a movement is involving our members in political action and improving our visibility with the public and politicians.
Another priority is finding innovative ways to develop more co-op housing, including convincing our members to leverage their assets to develop more co-op spaces.
Anne has a keen interest in the broader co-operative movement. She has recently been elected to the board of the BC Co-operative Association. She has been a delegate to Co-ops and Mutuals Canada and the International Summit of Co-operatives and attended a study tour of co-operatives in Italy.
Anne is retired from a senior position in the labour movement and has worked internationally on women’s rights issues. She is a social activist who believes in giving back to the community, volunteers at a homeless shelter and serves at community meals.
As a member of the Tenant Leadership Group, an initiative of the Canadian Housing Renewal Association, Lindsey is familiar with policy development, and with taking an active leadership role in the affordable housing movement.
As president of Vancouver International Housing Co-operative, she sees securing the future of co-ops that currently exist as a priority, along with encouraging more Canadians to consider co-op housing as an option. “It’s a great opportunity for young families. Some people don’t consider co-ops because they don’t know they’re an option,” she said.
Currently raising her second child, Lindsey felt that now would be a good time to offer her time to serve on the Board of CHF Canada. She feels that as a younger member, her perspective is valuable, while at the same time she stressed the importance of supporting older members who prefer the option of remaining in their homes as they age. She’s interested in becoming more involved with housing advocacy in general, and co-op housing in particular. Helping other co-ops to access available funding for maintenance or expansion will be one of her goals.
With a passion for learning, and a vision for the future, Lindsey feels she has the drive and dedication to see a project through to the end. Her Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences gave her the kind of research skills that some projects demand.
“I’m very dedicated. I think it’s important to reach out, to communicate to people who are not a part of the co-op community, and to the general public, and raise awareness outside of the co-op sector as to the value of co-ops and how they fit with affordable housing solutions.”
When she’s not busy with her young son, Lindsey can often be found maintaining her balcony farm, or reading a thriller.
Michelle has fond memories of growing up in Swansea Village, the co-op in which she still lives, only now with her husband and eight-month old son. “When I was a kid, there was a lot of green space, and a few trees that we climbed all the time,” she said.
As a young teen, she heard of LEAF, a Toronto tree subsidy program, and encouraged her co-op to apply. She received approval from the board, and managed to get about two dozen trees. The positive feedback from members inspired her to look for more projects. Before long, Michelle had started a Green Committee and soon was sitting on the board herself.
In 2009, she attended CHF Canada’s AGM in Victoria which she describes as an eye-opener. “It was the perfect AGM experience. There were so many new ideas. I just kept thinking of everything I could take back to my co-op.”
She became a delegate to CHF Toronto, and successfully ran for the board in 2010. She served on the board for CHF Canada from 2011 – 2015 and on the board of Swansea Village.
A job with Homestarts taught her about the day-to-day management of maintenance, subsidies, and finances. She learned that each co-op has its own unique culture. Now working part-time as a social policy instructor at George Brown College, Michelle still finds time to engage in her passion for the environment, run her own natural soap and beauty product business, and care for her young son.
She believes one of the biggest challenges facing co-ops is uncertainty, particularly when it comes to maintaining affordability. To that end, she wants to see more investment in co-op housing. “Co-ops are the best, sustainable, affordable housing model in Canada.”
She’d like to see CHF Canada offer educational events that allow for managers and members to spend more time getting to know and understand each other’s roles and viewpoints. “We’re doing such a good job of this at the national level. I’d like to see more of it at the micro level.”
For over 30 years Dawn has been a member at Saint Nicholas. “I’m so grateful to have had access to secure and affordable housing while dealing with the demands of raising a family and working in the arts sector.” She’s attended numerous education events in order to deepen her understanding of co-operatives. As the co-op’s GLOBE community champion, she received a Kathleen Blinkhorn Award for Volunteerism.
Dawn was honoured to be elected to the CHFT board in 2017, and is currently in her second year as president. Ontario federation meetings, several CHF Canada AGMs and the CHF Canada Visioning Summit in 2018 have inspired her to seek out ways to lend her voice to the ongoing fight for secure, affordable housing.
Dawn is a passionate advocate for co-operatives. “Affordable housing is a huge community and political issue. I have seen the movement in Canada mature in such an impressive way, and I am always deeply inspired by the energy and commitment of those involved. As a board member, I have learned the value of calm, thoughtful leadership, the importance of listening to diverse viewpoints, and the value in thinking outside the box. These are qualities I hope to bring to the CHF Canada Board.”
An actor by profession, Dawn has been involved actively in the governance of her professional association. She served for nine years as a national councillor of the Canadian Actors’ Equity. She received the Larry McCance Award for outstanding contribution to the association and its members. Currently, Dawn is working as an ESL instructor for newcomers to Canada. “This has been a rich and rewarding experience, and has given me an insight into settlement issues and the value of secure housing and a stable, caring community.”
Scott Stager Piatkowski has been deeply involved in the co-operative housing movement for over 30 years: as an active co-op member, as staff person in five different co-ops (in Ottawa, Guelph, Kitchener and Waterloo), and as an elected sector representative at several levels.
This has included serving as president of the Ontario Council for CHF Canada’s Ontario Region, president of the Co-operative Staff Association of Central Ontario, chair of the Federations Committee, treasurer for the Staff Education Forum and CHF Canada delegate to The Co-operators. He also served as a government relations consultant with the Ontario Co-operative Association.
Scott has been involved in the Central Ontario Co-operative Housing Federation (COCHF) since its inception, as an education program planner, workshop leader and neutral chairperson. He trains volunteer boards in governance issues, leads strategic planning sessions and chairs meetings for a range of co-op and non-profit organizations. COCHF has twice presented Scott with its Co-op Service Award for his contributions.
Scott has a long and varied history of community involvement. He was elected as a Trustee for the Waterloo Region District School Board in 2018. Prior to that, he served a two-year term as chair of the City of Waterloo’s Environmental Advisory Committee and served on the advisory panel which developed a new Neighbourhood Strategy for the City. He was also a long-time volunteer with Male Allies Against Sexual Violence and helped to found the local chapter of 100 Men Who Give a Damn. He has also served as chair of the Waterloo Region Cycling Advisory Committee and as a member of both the Community Grants Review Committee and Local Environmental Action Fund (LEAF) for the City of Kitchener. He was a member of the Steering Committee for his neighbourhood association for three years, including one year as its principal contact person. Scott is a former president of the AIDS Committee of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and Area and former chair of the board of the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union.
As a former volunteer facilitator with the Co-operative Young Leaders program (CYL), Scott was the 2010 recipient of the Youth Mentorship Award from On Co-op.
For 13 years, Scott wrote a weekly column for several community newspapers. He has had articles published by other local and national publications and websites, and he has appeared frequently as a commentator on television and radio.
This community involvement and media experience has given Scott a strong understanding of how government functions at all levels, a tremendous benefit he brings to his role on CHF Canada’s Board.
Scott is determined to press all levels of government to find a permanent solution to the expiry of federal rent-geared-to-income subsidies and to ensure that the long-awaited National Housing Strategy builds communities instead of just units. He recognizes that the co-op housing movement is currently undergoing a change in the leadership and looks forward to playing a role in mentoring the next generation of co-op activists.
* Executive Committee members