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COVID-19 and Nova Scotia housing co-ops

Published March 30, 2020

Updated March 25, 2021

Nova Scotia has been in pandemic mode for over a year; and everyone is operating under the new normal. Even with light at the end of the tunnel, it is still important to stay aware of the latest COVID-19 information.

On March 23, 2021, Premier Iain Rankin,  provided an update on Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 immunization plan.  Vaccines help protect you from viruses and bacteria that cause illnesses, they also protect everyone around you.

November 25, 2020:

 Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Chuck Porter, announced, Nov. 25, immediate protections ordered under the Emergency Management Act:

  •  rents (housing charges) cannot increase by more than two percent per year
  • landlords will not be able to get an eviction order for renovations

The protections will be in place until Feb. 1, 2022, or until the state of emergency is lifted, whichever is sooner. Rental increase protections are retroactive to Sept. 1, 2020.

By now, housing co-ops have made the shift to a “new normal” 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 also check out our main Housing Co-ops and COVID-19 page which contains more updates and a comprehensive set of FAQs.

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

Nova Scotia has been operating under a State of Emergency since March 22, 2020.   To slow the spread of COVID-19, a Health Protection Act Order and public health directives are in effect, including:

  • social distancing guidelines – keep a physical distance of 2 meters (6 feet) from other people
  • Wearing a non-medical mask is required in most indoor public places.
  • immediately self-isolate for 14 days if you enter or have returned to Nova Scotia from outside Atlantic Canada
  • reduce your business or organization operations

To keep up to date with the most recent restrictions click Restriction Updates.

Members meetings

In July, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing issued a Minister’s Directive that prohibits co-operatives from holding member meetings in person if the current restrictions on gathering sizes, physical distancing or other applicable conditions cannot be met.  The directive further states, that co-operatives are able to hold virtual meetings, or a hybrid of a virtual and in-person meeting, so longs as members are able to participate and have access to the meeting platform. Or co-ops can delay a meeting up to a further 90 days after the state of emergency is lifted.

It is apparent that the threshold for the size of public meetings will vary by co-operative or venue, and may go up or down depending on the rate of transmission and other factors.  If you are planning a member meeting, please consult the latest Public Health Orders which can be found here:  Gathering Sizes & Restrictions

Board meetings

Even though board meetings will be smaller than members meetings, during the pandemic you may wish to consider holding virtual board meetings. If holding in-person board meetings, please follow the Minister’s Directive and remember that ALL health protocols must be adhered too.

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). 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.

Additional Support

Co-operatives should submit their annual findings with the Registry of Joint Stock.  The Registry will accept annual filings for those co-ops who are not able to hold virtual meetings.  The annual renewal form can indicate that an AGM was not held, quorum was not present, and the financial statements were not approved by the members at the AGM.  Documents can be sent to the Registry by fax, mail, or as e-mail attachments to rjsc.coop@novascotia.ca

Questions: The Inspector of Co-operatives: Audrey Gay (902) 424-6154 or audrey.gay@novascotia.ca

If under an Operating Agreement or SHARP agreement, contact Housing Nova Scotia.

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