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
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.
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.”
“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.
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.
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.”