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Co-ops: Provincial & Federal

Co-ops are different than landlord-run housing in some important ways. These include:

  • you are known as a "member" and not a "tenant"
  • you have an obligation to participate in running and maintaining the housing community:
    o Keeping your home and the common areas well maintained and tidy
    o Adhering to the Co-op Bylaws: each co-op has its own set of bylaws that members approve and must follow
    o Attending meetings of members
    o You can choose to run for and be elected by the members to the co-op's Board of Directors
  • A dispute between a member and their co-op is handled differently that that between a tenant and their landlord. The first step to resolving co-op disputes is through the co-op's Board of Directors.
  • Co-ops and members are governed by the Ontario Co-operative Corporations Act and not for the most part by landlord-tenant legislation.

Different Types of Co-ops

In Ontario there are two types of co-ops, Municipal and Federal, depending on the government funding the co-op receives. In both types of co-ops the co-op itself runs the housing and is not owned by or run by the government.

Municipal Co-ops

  • These co-ops are administered by municipal Service Managers such as the Region of Waterloo. Co-ops and members are governed by the Ontario Housing Services Act.
  • The Service Manager keeps the waiting lists for Rent-geared-to-income (RGI) units for these co-ops and applications for RGI are made through the Service Manager.
    Municipal co-ops in Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge are listed in the Community Housing Catalogue

Co-op Act: members of co-ops must follow the rules of the Co-op Act.

  1. Co-op Bylaws: each co-op has its own set of bylaws that members must follow (please ask your co-op to provide you with a list of their bylaws).
  2. Appeal process: if a member has a dispute with a co-op landlord and it has been reviewed and a ruling given by the internal Board, a member can appeal it through the Supreme Court of Ontario.

Federal Co-ops

  • These co-ops have an operating agreement with Canada Mortgage and Housing (CMHC) and are administered by The Agency for Co-operative Housing. on behalf of CMHC . They have different program requirements than municipal co-ops.
  • Each federal co-op keeps its own waiting list for Rent-geared-to-income (RGI) units and applications for RGI are made through the co-op.
    Federal co-ops in Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge are listed in the Co-op Locator explained below.

More information on all co-ops in Waterloo Region

You can get more information on how co-ops work, watch a video and access the Co-op Locator on the Central Ontario Co-operative Housing Federation (COCHF) website. All co-ops, Municipal and Federal, in Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge are listed on the Locator.

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