CHF Canada has lobbied governments on behalf of co-op housing since 1968.
These are just some of the things we have accomplished:
- The Federal Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) announced $462 million in funding over eight years for Phase 2 of the Federal Community Housing Initiative. Under Phase 2, housing providers will transition to a new rental support program, which will start on April 1, 2020.
- $30 million in interim funding to help federal social housing providers – including co-ops – continue to assist low-income members after their operating agreements expire. After a long-fought campaign by co-ops and affordable housing advocates, the federal government announced the interim funding in their 2016 budget and committed to working towards a long-term solution.
- Federal co-ops with expired operating agreements identified as a “priority group” in the 2016 update of the Canada-Ontario Investment in Affordable Housing agreement, ensuring that low-income households in these communities can stay in their homes.
- The Federal Minister of National Revenue stated in August 2012 that CRA officials would stop sending “educational letters” threatening co-op and non-profit tax-exempt status. CHF Canada fought the Canada Revenue Agency letters being sent to co-ops and non-profits that had found alternate income sources to support their affordable housing communities.
- 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. The program expanded under subsequent governments and is helping financially healthy providers make significant capital repairs and extend the life of their buildings.
- 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.
Our co-op wanted to refinance but the prepayment penalty that was demanded by CMHC was outrageous. CHF Canada’s advocacy resulted in getting this penalty to be paid on our behalf by the government. This allowed us to refinance and make the necessary repairs we needed to continue to provide affordable co-op housing for future generations. - Village Canadien Co-operative Ltée, Winnipeg, MB
- 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.