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Updated New Brunswick Co-op Act includes housing co-ops and modernizes 43-year-old legal framework

Published October 09, 2019

“Members and managers in New Brunswick will need to review the new legislation with a view to updating their by-laws and policies, to ensure that their directors are acting in compliance with the law,” says Stephen Davies, CHF Canada’s Regional Director for New Brunswick and President of APHL in Moncton.

Until this year, New Brunswick’s Co-operatives Act had not been updated since 1976. According to Wendy Keats, Executive Director of New Brunswick’s Co-operative Enterprise Council (CECNB) efforts to modernize the laws stretch back almost ten years. CECNB is the umbrella group for all New Brunswick co-operatives, a provincial sector with more than $1 billion in revenues and about 7,500 employees.

Today, says Wendy Keats, “New Brunswick has the most progressive co-op law in Canada, and one that is much more palatable to millennials.”

For the first time, housing co-ops are specifically mentioned in the new law.

The new Co-operatives Act spells out important responsibilities for housing co-ops, for example around member arrears and evictions.  It requires that housing co-ops remain not-for-profit communities, forever.  And along with all New Brunswick co-operatives, housing co-ops have a new legal ability to make decisions using electronic voting if they choose.

Wendy Keats is grateful for the support that CECNB received from housing co-op representatives to help lobby for the new Act. Over the years, many of New Brunswick’s housing co-op leaders contributed both big ideas and detailed suggestions. While the new Co-operatives Act doesn’t answer everything that housing co-ops asked for, it is a big step forward, offering clarity and consistency to co-op businesses.

Co-operatives in New Brunswick are now being consulted about the specific regulations that will follow the overall legislation. CHF Canada will be providing updates to member co-ops in New Brunswick as these unfold.

Read the new New Brunswick Co-operatives Act here.

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