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Update on Ontario co-ops and essential services

Published April 16, 2020

Ontario housing co-ops have been trying to figure out how to comply with the recent government directive on business closures and with public health advice to stay home as much as possible while still providing safe, affordable housing within a healthy community.

What is clear is that it is not business as usual. Community housing, which includes co-ops, is no longer listed as an essential workplace. Some of the work that happens in co-ops is considered essential and in determining how to operate, co-ops should focus on which of their services are essential according to the government’s directive.

Item number 20 of the government’s list states that the following is essential:

“Maintenance, repair and property management services strictly necessary to manage and maintain the safety, security, sanitation and essential operation of institutional, commercial, industrial and residential properties and buildings.”

Student co-ops are likely considered essential as noted on item 13 of the government’s list.

This likely means that your co-op will continue to do cleaning and urgent maintenance and repairs in order to maintain the safety, security and sanitation of your property. Your co-op will also need to maintain the essential operation of the business for example, through essential financial transactions such as collecting housing charges, making deposits and paying bills.

For co-op offices, this will mean that offices are closed for regular business and that staff, or volunteers, are only physically present in the office for those essential tasks. Staff can still be working but much of their work will now take place remotely.

These are challenging times and we appreciate the work that co-ops across the province are doing to adjust their operations and keep members healthy and safe. If you have questions please contact your local federation or CHF Canada staff.

Click here more information on COVID-19 for Ontario co-ops.

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