CHF Canada has lobbied governments on behalf of co-op housing since 1968.
These are just some of the things we have accomplished:
- 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.
- 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.
The Federal Community Housing Initiative is a lifeline for low-income households living in co-op and non-profit housing in many communities. This expansion of the Initiative will ensure that more low-income households in federally-administered co-op and non-profit housing can live affordably, bringing needed housing stability and security to those households, and the co-op and non-profit communities in which they live. - CHF Canada President Tina Stevens, April 2021
- 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.