COVID-19 and New Brunswick housing co-ops
Published June 02, 2020
Updated July 28, 2020
Atlantic Region co-op services staff are here to help you with your questions about co-op operations that are impacted by COVID-19. Please call or email if you have any questions or need help sorting through an issue.
You can also checkout our COVID-19 Meeting Resources page for tips and guides for holding electronic board meetings, town halls, and (coming soon) alternate ways to hold a members’ meeting or AGM.
Update – July 28:
The Director of Cooperatives understands that due to the state of emergency in New Brunswick, Annual General Meetings that are required to be held under the Cooperatives Act cannot be held for at least the duration of the state of emergency. It is critical that co-operatives ensure compliance with the Emergency Measures Act and do all that it can to facilitate social distancing.
Cooperatives will be given an extension of 90 days after the state of emergency ends to hold annual general meetings and must then submit required filings to the Director within 30 days from the date the Annual General Meeting is held.
Update – July 8:
The Province of New Brunswick has outlined their phased approach to reopening businesses, services and public spaces over the coming months. The four level phased plan, will allow health experts to monitor and evaluate the impact of the lifting of restrictions levels.
New Brunswick is currently moving to the Yellow level. On Friday, June 5, 2020, New Brunswick zones, except Zone 5, will loosen additional restrictions under the Yellow level. With a progressive lifting of public health measures; this will broaden outdoor and indoor personal gatherings and physical contact. It is recommended that co-operatives adhere to mass gathering limits and maintain physical distancing and follow public health advice.
For the most current lifting of restrictions visit the Government of New Brunswick’s website.
For New Brunswick co-ops our advice remains that you should not have members meetings at this time. New Brunswick’s declaration of a state of emergency prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people. Even if your meeting will be less than 10 people, it will be difficult to maintain the proper social distancing between people.
The Co-operative Associations Act speaks to the Annual General Meeting (AGM). The co-op is required to hold an AGM no later than four months after the end of each fiscal year (see Co-op Act S.50). CHF Canada recommends that your co-op write a letter to the Registrar stating your intent to delay the AGM due to the State of Emergency.
New Brunswick – Financial and Consumer Services Commission, Financial Institutions Division 506-453-2315 firstname.lastname@example.org
Even though board meetings will be smaller than members meetings, during the pandemic, if you have a board larger than 10, you are not allowed to hold in-person board meetings. For New Brunswick housing co-ops, directors can hold electronic board meetings through such means as telephone conferencing or computer video chat if they are authorized through the co-operatives bylaws. If possible, this is the preferred way to conduct necessary board business during this time.
In scheduling an electronic meeting, CHF Canada co-op services recommends dealing with high priority agenda items and limiting meetings to no more than one hour in length. During the pandemic, it would be a good idea for the board to schedule short weekly or bi-weekly electronic meetings to discuss urgent issues.
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