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Who belongs to CHF Canada?
Who belongs to CHF Canada?
Membership in CHF Canada is voluntary. Most of CHF Canada’s members are housing co‑ops. Eight out of ten housing co‑operatives outside of Quebec are members of CHF Canada (Quebec housing co‑ops are affiliated indirectly, through membership in regional federations that hold membership in CHF Canada). There are 895 member housing co‑ops as of September 2009, 82% of all co‑ops outside of Quebec.
Other members include associations of housing co‑operatives (“federations”), associations of co‑op housing staff, co‑op management companies, and sponsoring organizations. Individuals or firms that support CHF Canada's aims may join as non-voting associate members. CHF Canada has also named a number of individuals, who have given special service to CHF Canada, as Honorary Life Associates.
Where does CHF Canada have offices?
CHF Canada has offices in Ottawa, Toronto (as a result of the merger of CHF Canada and the Co‑operative Housing Association of Ontario 1996), Vancouver (opened in 1995), Winnipeg (opened in 2000), Halifax (opened in 2002) and London (opened in 2005).
Who owns, controls and governs CHF Canada?
CHF Canada is a co‑operative, owned and controlled by its members. It is governed by its Board of Directors, which currently has 16 directors: ten representing the provinces and territories, one representing the Aboriginal community and five directors elected at large. For the purpose of electing directors, some of Canada’s provinces and territories are combined as follows: Quebec/Nunavut, Alberta/Northwest Territories, and British Columbia/Yukon.
Regional representation is aimed at making sure that the concerns of members in every part of Canada can be brought to the board, and to ensure that at least one director is available in each province to support political action, member relations and member recruitment. In many provinces, this role now includes representing member co‑ops among provincial politicians and housing officials, especially when no local federation exists.
In 2003, the Governance Review Task Force recommended that the size and composition of the Board should remain the same. It also recommended that regular reviews of CHF Canada’s governance should be conducted, with the next formal governance review to take place in 2008.
What does the CHF Canada Board of Directors do?
The Board sets CHF Canada’s priorities, exercises financial oversight, and hires/ supervises the Executive Director.
Directors serve two-year terms, with one-half of the Board being elected each year. The Board meets at least four times a year, three times in Ottawa, and once in the city where the annual meeting is held. The President of the Ontario Council and the chair of CHF Canada’s Federations Committee attend Board meetings, but do not vote.
The duties of the Board include:
Why does CHF Canada’s Board include an Aboriginal director
In 1996, CHF Canada members increased the size of the Board of Directors from 15 to 16 seats, to add a director representing Canada’s Aboriginal community. The director, who must be of Aboriginal ancestry, is elected by CHF Canada member housing co‑operatives that declare that they have more than 10 per cent of their units occupied by persons of Aboriginal descent. Members decided in 1996 that the best way to add a seat for the Aboriginal community was to consider it a “region” – although it is a region that has no geographical limits.
About 50 co‑ops in Canada have declared that one of their principle aims is to serve Aboriginal Canadians. The Aboriginal director serves for a two-year term. The election is conducted by mail ballot, before that year’s annual meeting. The Aboriginal director takes on special responsibilities for liaison with member co‑ops that serve Aboriginal Canadians, and contact with other Aboriginal housing organizations.
Why do some regions directly elect their Board representative?
Members in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, PEI, Manitoba and Saskatchewan have decided to hold the election in their region. The Northern Ontario representative on Ontario Council is also elected at a regional meeting held every two years.
What does the Executive Committee do?
The Board of Directors appoints six of its members to an Executive Committee to conduct urgent business between Board meetings. These members include the President, Vice-President, Treasurer and two to four others (enough “others” to ensure that each of five regions is represented on the Committee).
How is CHF Canada’s work organized?
CHF Canada's national work program is delivered from all of its offices. The Toronto office also delivers the Ontario Region’s work program.
How much does all this cost?
CHF Canada’s annual budget in 2009 is close to $4.2 million.
Where does CHF Canada get its money?
The main sources of revenue for CHF Canada is membership dues (about 75%). Other revenue comes from commercial services, small grants for special projects and earnings on investments, including the national Endowment Fund. Half of the national Endowment Fund earnings is shared among regional federations outside Quebec. The Ontario Region has its own Endowment Fund.
What happens at CHF Canada’s Annual Meeting?
CHF Canada is controlled by its members. At the annual meeting, members set CHF Canada’s policies and elect their Board of Directors and Ontario Council.
Held at the same time, the Member Education Forum and Co‑operative Management Conference provides dozens of workshops for co‑op members and managers. Participants also learn from the experience and successes of hundreds of other co‑op members from across Canada.
What does the Diversity Committee do?
The Diversity Committee promotes leadership among such under-represented groups as people of colour, youth, seniors, people with disabilities, people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT). It also researches, educates CHF Canada’s members and trains workshop leaders in diversity issues. The six members of the committee are appointed by the board.
What does the Finance and Audit Committee do?
The Finance and Audit Committee’s role is to watch over CHF Canada’s finances on behalf of the membership. The committee advises the board and reports directly to the members. CHF Canada’s Treasurer, another member of CHF Canada’s Board of Directors, the Treasurer of the Ontario Region, and two members at large elected at the AGM sit on CHF Canada’s Finance and Audit Committee.
What does the Risk Underwriting Fund (RUF) Administration Committee do?
The Risk Underwriting Fund (RUF) guarantees loans to help member housing co‑ops undertake development projects. The money used to guarantee these loans comes from deposits and pledges from members and supporters, national co‑operatives and CHF Canada. Losses of up to $50,000 can be paid by CHF Canada, with greater losses shared among contributors. The Board of Directors appoints five people to the committee. One is from CHF Canada’s board and one from an outside organization that contributes to RUF. Of the other three (all CHF Canada members), two must have experience in developing housing co‑operatives and one in managing housing co‑operatives.
Why does CHF Canada have an Ontario Region with special responsibilities?
CHF Canada’s Ontario Region was created through a merger of CHF Canada and the Co‑operative Housing Association of Ontario (CHAO) in 1996. CHF Canada’s Ontario Council represents Ontario member housing co‑operatives on matters under provincial jurisdiction. It delivers services that arise from these responsibilities and deals with any other matters that affect only Ontario.
What is the composition of Ontario Council?
The Ontario Council, which directs the work of the Ontario Region, is elected at the annual meeting of Ontario members. The Ontario Council has either eight or nine members, elected by different groups. One Council member is elected by Northern Ontario members, one by Ontario federations and one by staff organizations.
The Ontario regional director from the Board of Directors sits on the Ontario Council and CHF Canada’s Board may appoint a second director from Ontario to the Council if it wishes. In addition, four Council members are elected at-large; three of those Council members must live in housing co‑operatives. The President of the Ontario Council attends Board meetings but may not vote.
What about the Manitoba office?
In 1999, Manitoba housing co‑ops decided to receive local services through a Winnipeg-based office of CHF Canada. They agreed to close the regional federation. With CHF Canada’s help, they decided how the new regional office would be organized and what it would do. CHF Canada’s office in Winnipeg opened in January 2000. Manitoba co‑ops contribute local dues to support the delivery of local services, in an amount that is similar to what co‑ops who join both CHF Canada and their local federation would pay.
The Manitoba Advisory Forum connects Manitoba housing co‑ops to each other through regular meetings of the Manitoba Advisory Forum. The Forum:
What about the Nova Scotia office?
CHF Canada opened its Nova Scotia office in 2002 to provide services to CHF Canada members in the province. The Nova Scotia advisory committee, made up of co‑op members from across the province, meets to give feedback to CHF Canada on issues affecting co‑ops in the province. CHF Canada members in Nova Scotia pay local dues to cover some of the costs of local services.
How are Quebec co‑ops affiliated with CHF Canada?
There are more than 1,200 housing co‑operatives in Quebec – homes to about 23,000 households. Housing co‑ops in Quebec have a different relationship with CHF Canada than other Canadian housing co‑ops have.
An agreement was reached with the Quebec co‑op housing sector in the late 1980s that regional federations would provide direct services to co‑ops in Quebec and that CHF Canada would not accept housing co‑operatives in the province as members. As a result, CHF Canada does not provide services to individual housing co‑ops in Quebec.
However, the province-wide Confédération québécoise des coopératives d’habitation (CQCH) and its seven member federations are CHF Canada members. Quebec housing co‑ops, therefore, are indirectly affiliated with CHF Canada through their membership in the Quebec regional federations that are members of CHF Canada.
Resource groups that develop new co‑ops, and their association, Association des groupes de ressources techniques du Québec (AGRTQ) also belong to CHF Canada.
For many years, CHF Canada and CQCH have worked closely on issues that affect members of both organizations. A formal partnership agreement, reached in 2003, sets out how CHF Canada and CQCH will consult one another on all issues of mutual concern. In practice, CHF Canada relies on CQCH for day-to-day advice on matters concerning the Quebec sector. For example, in making appointments from the province of Quebec to positions on national bodies, CHF Canada normally relies on CQCH to recommend a candidate or candidates.
What are regional federations and what do they do?
Federations are local associations of housing co‑operatives and other co‑operative organizations. Like any co‑operative, they receive their mandate from their members. There are now 15 regional federations in the country, including Quebec. In the last decade, some federations have closed, two federations merged, while in other regions, co‑ops have made different arrangements to ensure that their members receive services. Currently (2009) there is one regional federation in British Columbia, two in Alberta, five in Ontario, six in Quebec and one in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Federations typically earn revenue from membership dues, fees for services, income from investment programs and other commercial services, and transfers from CHF Canada’s Shared Revenue Program. They provide networking opportunities, train members and staff and provide a variety of services. Federation services may include any or all of education, newsletters, vacancy listings, consultation, public and government relations, pooling of reserve funds, and bulk-buying of supplies, equipment, and financial and other services.
What are resource groups?
Resource groups offer co‑ops under development special development expertise. They help co‑ops with the development process and assist with setting up the new co‑op’s governance and management systems.
What do staff organizations do?
Staff organizations (or staff associations) represent people who work for housing co‑operatives or other co‑operative housing organizations. Members may include managers / co-ordinators, administrative staff or maintenance staff. These organizations fulfill the education, networking and advocacy needs of their members. There are currently five associations who are members of CHF Canada, all in Ontario.
What are co‑op management companies?
Co‑op management companies provide services to housing co‑ops, ranging from property management to bookkeeping. Many of these management companies are affiliated with the co‑op housing sector, and some are owned by federations.
What is the Co‑op Housing Stabilization Fund?
The Stabilization Fund was set up in 1989 to assist co‑ops in difficulty that were funded under the Federal Co‑operative Housing Program (the ILM, or Index-Linked Mortgage Program). Its trustees are appointed by CHF Canada and by CMHC.
The Fund is a trust created to preserve the long-term viability of ILM co‑ops. The Fund provides loans to ILM co‑ops in difficulty.
What is the relationship between CHF Canada and the Agency for Co‑operative Housing?
In 1998, after the federal government announced its intention to have CMHC withdraw from any role in social housing, CHF Canada proposed an independent non-governmental agency to administer federal programs previously administered by CMHC. Following years of negotiations, the Agency for Co‑operative Housing was incorporated in 2004. It signed an agreement with the federal government to transfer portfolio administration to the Agency, and the transfer took place in 2006. CHF Canada appoints all the directors of the Agency.
What is CHF Canada’s relationship to the broader co‑operative sector?
CHF Canada is an active member of the Canadian Co‑operative Association (CCA), and a member-owner of The Co‑operators Group of Companies. Through Rooftops Canada, CHF Canada helps with international housing co‑operative development. Through these and many other international, and regional affiliations, CHF Canada connects its members to the wider co‑op movement, which includes everything from insurance and financial services, to retail, agriculture and child care.
Organizing for Success: Shaping our sector for tomorrow and beyond, Report from the CHF Canada Board of Directors on  Annual Meeting Resolution #8, March 2000.
Governance Review Task Force, Final Report, January 2004
CHF Canada New Member Orientation Package (History – Structure – Principles – Members – Services – Values – Mandate – Mission), 2007