COVID-19 and Manitoba housing co-ops
Published March 27, 2020
Updated September 22, 2021
By now, housing co-ops have made the shift to a “new normal” by changing operational practices in order to keep members and employees safe. If you encounter new developments, CHF Canada co-op staff are here to help you with your questions about co-op operations that are impacted by COVID-19.
Please call (204) 947-5411 or 1-888-591.3301 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or need help sorting through an issue.
You can also check out our COVID-19 Meeting Resources page for tips and guides for holding electronic board meetings, town halls, and alternate ways to hold a members’ meeting or AGM.
Restoring Safe Services
The Manitoba government provides up to date information on COVID cases, restrictions, mask mandates and vaccination issues. To check for the latest information, click here.
Freeze on Rent Increases and Evictions
On March 24th, 2020 Manitoba announced that rent increases scheduled for April 1st or later be frozen until further notice The rent freeze was lifted, and then reinstated for properties under the Residential Tenancies Act. Housing co-ops are not under the jurisdiction of the Residential Tenancies Act, and the freeze does not apply. However, a few co-ops may have operating agreements that link housing charge increases to the approved rent increases announced by the Residential Tenancies Branch (current at 0% for 2022 and 2023). If your co-op has this provision, there will be an effective freeze on the affected units.
For Manitoba co-ops, our advice is that you should move forward with necessary member meetings at this time. Refer to government limitations, and ensure that proper physical distancing and other recommended precautions are possible within your venue. The use of mail-in ballots and virtual meetings are tools that can help you with this.
It is apparent that the threshold for the size of public meetings will vary by location within the province, and may be expected to go up and down, depending on the rate of transmission and other factors. If you are planning a member meeting, check the current guidelines on gathering sizes and mask requirements. Contact your CHF Canada staff person for advice in planning your meeting in a way that is compliant with regulations and will keep your members safe.
Even though board meetings will be smaller than members meetings, during the pandemic you may wish to consider holding virtual board meetings. For Manitoba housing co-ops, directors can hold electronic board meetings through such means as telephone conferencing or computer video chat. This may be the preferred way to conduct necessary board business during this time. (section 201(1) of the Act)
In scheduling an electronic meeting, CHF Canada recommends dealing with high priority agenda items and limiting meetings to no more than one hour in length. (Zoom videoconferencing platform is free for meetings of 40 minutes or less). You can also check out our COVID-19 Meeting Resources page for tips and guides for holding electronic board meetings, town halls, and alternate ways to hold a members’ meeting or AGM.
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