A nationwide organization, the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada has 902 members, including sponsoring organizations, management companies, associations of housing staff, and local and provincial associations. With offices in Halifax, London, Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Vancouver, CHF is member-owned and financed through a combination of investments and earnings, small grants for projects, revenue from commercial services, and the National Endowment Fund.
The Co-operative Housing Federation has adopted a strategic plan which aims to ensure sustainability and inclusion and facilitate housing growth. Among the main goals are improved collaboration, reconciliation with Indigenous communities, advocacy to government agencies, and facilitating partnerships. The plan has been developed to ensure that members’ needs are fully accounted for, including advocacy, resources, education, and access to enterprise services such as refinancing, asset management, and insurance.
Scholarships and Grants
CHF features a number of awards such as the Diversity Scholarship, Member Loyalty Award, Young Member Discount, and Management Scholarship. The Diversity Scholarship is offered to young persons who are enrolled full-time and involved in promoting diversity. The program is open to Canadians living in Manitoba, Southwestern Ontario, and the Atlantic Provinces. The Management Scholarship is awarded to individuals enrolled in post-secondary programs in areas such as Administration, Finance, and Business Asset Management. Only persons pursuing a degree at a recognized training institute, college, or university are eligible to apply.
Workshops and Events
The Co-operative Housing Federation also organizes and hosts different workshops and events, including management training and events aiming to discuss advocacy and issues of concern and to foster network building. Management training is offered in the form of online courses, newsletters, conferences, handbooks, and workshops, including an introductory course and the Co-operative Management Conference. Co-operative studies and property management programs are also offered by institutions of higher education such as the University of Victoria, University of Winnipeg, and Chartered Institute of Housing.
An annual general meeting is also held, featuring a variety of events such as networking sessions, social events, regional caucuses, a meeting of the Ontario Region, and training and workshops for managers and members. A business meeting is held as well, featuring the election of the Ontario Council along with resolutions and reports. The annual general meeting takes place in different venues in London, Calgary, Ottawa, and Victoria and online.
CHF provides a number of services to members, including financial planning and asset management, insurance, and investment, aiming to assist staff with managing, budgeting, and planning and accessing long-term financial assistance. Asset management services include technical reports, developing management plans, and building condition assessments. Asset management services help members to deal with issues such as access to funding, cost of repair, long-term sustainability, and quality of housing.
In addition to planning and management services, the federation provides support and advice to members facing financial difficulties and marketing and building problems as well as issues with housing departments, CMHC, and mortgage providers.
The federation is actively involved in advocacy to ensure that low-income families have access to affordable and safe housing. One of the main goals is to deal with the housing shortage in Ontario in view of the fact that more than 171,000 households are still on waiting lists. The federation has made a number of recommendations to the federal government so that individuals at risk are able to afford municipal, non-profit, co-op housing. In addition to adapting existing programs, it is necessary to provide rental incentives and to invest in building urban infrastructure to ensure that affordable housing is available.