CHF Canada has lobbied governments on behalf of co-op housing since 1968.
These are just some of the things we have accomplished:
- The 2022 Federal Budget committed to launching a new Co-operative Housing Development Program, with $500 million in funding and $1 billion in loans. It is estimated this will result in 6,000 new co-op homes. Equally important, the budget committed the federal government to working with CHF Canada, and the co-op housing sector broadly, to co-design the new co-op housing program. This will help ensure it quickly and effectively delivers new co-op homes in communities across the country.
- As part of the More Homes for Everyone Plan, in 2022 the province of Ontario announced positive changes to the Housing Services Act (HSA) that will ensure the 250 HSA co-ops in Ontario will continue to have access to funding for rental assistance for low-income households once their mortgage ends. The new regulation clarifies that municipal Service Managers will be responsible for funding rental assistance for low-income households in co-op communities if the co-op signs a service agreement with their Service Manager at the end of their mortgage.
- As part of the National Housing Strategy, $500 million over 10 years was secured for the Federal Community Housing Initiative (FCHI), in order to provide rental assistance to low-income members in federally administered co-ops. This was initially announced by the Minister of Finance at Hugh Garner co-op in 2016, with complete funding announced by the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development at Briarview co-op in 2018. A further $118 million was secured in 2021 for the co-ops and non-profits that had originally been excluded from FCHI.
Today’s federal budget is a turning point, as it acknowledges the unique value of co-operative housing and commits to its expansion. Starting with 6,000 new homes over the next five years, we are optimistic the new Co-operative Housing Development Program will kick-start the development of the next generation of co-op housing at a scale that will help solve the housing crisis. Co-op housing is affordable, secure and enables the development of strong, inclusive communities, all of which we need more than ever. - CHF Canada Executive Director, Tim Ross, April 2022
- Ottawa announced in January 2013 it would adopt fair and reasonable penalties for federal co‑ops wishing to refinance, based on CHF Canada’s recommendation to the federal Special Committee on Co-operatives. These changes have been implemented and, as a result, CHF Canada has been able to help 55 co-ops (3,700 units) arrange for more than $200 million in new financing to address capital repairs and renovation needs, with more on the way.
- In 2013, Ontario passed a law amending the co-op eviction process based on CHF Canada recommendations, making it fairer to both co-ops and their members. The new, modernized system is now in place and has received positive feedback from all parties.
- CHF Canada lobbied for federal and provincial programs that led to the development of more than 92,000 co-op homes in every province and territory.
- The Agency for Co-operative Housing was incorporated after a 10-year national lobby by CHF Canada. The co-operative organization provides program administration for federally funded housing co-ops in BC, Alberta, Ontario and PEI.
- Help for leaky co-ops in British Columbia. Together with the Co-operative Housing Federation of BC, we worked to repair housing co-ops experiencing serious moisture penetration due to building-envelope failure.
- Legal action by CHF Canada led to an Ontario court decision to preserve 131 homes in Bridlewood Housing Co-op as affordable housing. The ruling blocked repeated attempts by the co-op’s members to buy the homes at well-below market prices, and it avoided the damaging precedent that would have been set if the public investment in affordable housing had been turned into personal gain.
- An end to the clawback of $535,000 from co-ops in a dispute with CMHC, which had tried to take a share of net operating revenues from 57 Section-95 housing co-ops in British Columbia and elsewhere. CHF Canada sent the government a clear message about the importance of respecting the legal contracts with co-ops.
- A ruling that gave most housing co-ops larger GST/HST rebates. Co-ops that apply for and are granted “municipal status” can now claim back over 57% of the GST/HST they pay on the rent-geared-to-income portion of their operations.