COVID-19 and Nova Scotia housing co-ops
Published March 30, 2020
Updated May 4, 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.
The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing announced that effective retroactively to 12:00 noon on March 22, 2020, co-operatives are prohibited from holding face-to-face meetings with over 5 participants.
The Minister has further directed that co-operatives are able to hold virtual meetings even if not permitted under their current Bylaws or delay a meeting up to a further 90 days after the state of emergency is lifted.
For Nova Scotia co-ops our advice remains that you should not have members meetings at this time. Nova Scotia’s declaration of a state of emergency prohibits gatherings of more than 5 people. Even if your meeting will be fewer than 5 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.30). All Registry of Joint Stock Companies, renewals that are ordinarily due in March, April and May have been extended to June 30, 2020. This includes year end filing to the Inspector of Co-operatives for housing co-operatives.
In-person services at Registry of Joint Stock Companies are suspended until further notice. However, you can send signed forms by mail, fax and email. “Wet ink” signatures are not required at this time. Credit card payments can be made by fax or telephone.
The Inspector of Co-operatives
- Nova Scotia – Audrey Gay, Inspector of Co-ops
- (902) 424-6154
If under an Operating Agreement or SHARP agreement, contact Housing Nova Scotia.
Even though board meetings will be smaller than members meetings, during the pandemic, if you have a board larger than 5, you are not allowed to hold in-person board meetings. For Nova Scotia 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. This is the preferred way to conduct necessary board business during this time.
In scheduling an electronic meeting, CHF Canada Nova Scotia 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.
SHARP Reporting Requirements
Many co-operatives received funding through SHARP. This funding has very specific reporting requirements, for example budget approval. If you are unable to meet these requirements, CHF Canada recommends that you contact Housing Nova Scotia (regional office).
- Housing NS will be deferring all mortgage and loan payments owed for April, May and June 2020. This will include loans provided to cooperatives under the Social Housing Agreement (SHA), Housing NS direct loans and STAB fund loans.If cooperatives wish to opt out of the automatic mortgage payment deferral, they must contact their Housing NS regional office to make the necessary arrangements; the deadline to do so is April 15th.
- Notice From the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies
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