Category: Co-op News

14 Sep 2016

Time to start thinking about maintenance & repairs!

Guest post from IRC Building Sciences Group

Winter is coming, and when it comes to facilities management in Canada the old slogan, “Why wait ‘till spring? Do it now!” still applies.  The winter is the perfect time to plan the maintenance and repair work that needs to be done in the spring and to get the construction documentation and resources ready so that the work can proceed without delay.

Although it is human nature to wait for the spring to think about construction work, many property managers have learned that there are ways to take advantage of the “off” season.  For example, although the snow covers roofs and landscaping, most aspects of Building Condition Assessments, Life Cycle Costing studies, and studies of specific problems can be performed so that priorities for major repair and replacement work can be set.

In fact, winter is the time to see how your facility and its equipment perform during the cold season and to make plans to address energy efficiency issues.  An Energy Audit can help you plan strategies to make your facility more comfortable and to find efficiencies that will save money.

If you have already done your planning and you know what work will need to be performed in the spring, then you are one step ahead of the game and you can use the winter for other tasks:

  • Find and apply for any available funding programs
  • Hire an engineering firm to prepare drawings and specifications for the work
  • Tender the project to line-up a contractor
  • If you already have interior work that is ready to proceed, now is the time

There are many important advantages to getting as much work done as is possible during the winter.  For example, it is much easier to hire engineering firms and contractors than it is during the building season when they are typically bombarded with work.  In many cases, money can be saved because there is more competition among engineering firms and contractors for the available work.  In addition, engineering firms and contractors will have more time to prepare and can spend more time ensuring that your project will go smoothly.

Other advantages of using the winter for planning and preparation of construction projects are that you can take advantage of the entire building season and you can get funding and contractors lined-up, avoiding the possibility that the resources won’t be available when you need them.

It’s all about being proactive and this applies to other seasons than winter.  Ice damming and leaking foundations tend to occur during the spring and driving rains in the fall can cause leaks at windows and doors.  Seasonal problems can be studied and addressed when they occur or, better yet, they can be anticipated and addressed in off seasons.

Some emergency repairs and rush projects can’t be avoided but using the seasons to your advantage can help to reduce the emergency phone calls and the expensive repairs that are needed when building systems are neglected or fail.  Remember that the winter can be your friend.

30 Jun 2016

Century of Co-operation honours longstanding co-op members

We want to honour longstanding members of our co-op communities!

Here is how your members would qualify for this award:

Add together the age of the member plus the length of time they have lived in co-op housing. For example, a person who is 80 years old and has lived in co-op housing for 20 years qualifies with an even 100 years.

We will recognize everyone who achieves 100 years or more in 2016.

Send us an email with the following information:

  1. The name of your co-op
  2. The name of the member
  3. Member’s year of birth
  4. Number of years member has lived in co-op housing

Century of Co-operation recipients will be honoured at CHASEO’s Fall Education Day on November 19th, 2016.

Click here for a poster you can post in your co-op about the Century of Co-operation.


22 Jun 2016

Make your co-op stand out with marketing photos!

CHASEO is currently piloting a new service to help member co-ops market vacant units. We have contracted with a local photographer to take marketing photos that co-ops can use to give prospective members a look at your co-op.

The cost of a half-day (three hour) photography session would be $300 +HST.  In this session, the photographer would be able to supply:

  • Exterior photos of the co-op
  • Photos of common areas
  • Photos of a vacant or staged unit if desired.

While this service is in its pilot stage, CHASEO will contribute half the cost of the photography session, providing this service to the co-op for a fee of only $150 +HST.

We are also offering co-ops our assistance in creating electronic unit layout diagrams.  Please contact us for more information or to participate in the pilot for this service.

Faites que votre coop se démarque avec des photos de marketing!

L’AHCEO fait présentement l’expérience d’un projet pilote afin d’aider les coops membres à mettre sur le marché leurs unités vacantes. Nous avons engagé un photographe local afin de prendre des photos professionnelles que les coops peuvent utiliser afin de montrer les appartements à de futurs locataires.
Le prix pour une demi-journée (3h) de session de photo serait de 300$ +HST. Dans cette session, le photographe s’engage à fournir les photos suivantes :

  • Extérieur de la coopérative
  • Aires communes
  • Unité vacante ou unité habitée

Pendant que ce service est à l’essai, l’AHCEO contribuera à la moitié du coût de la session de photo, fournissant ainsi le service à la coop pour le prix de seulement 150$ +HST.
Nous offrons également aux coops de l’aide afin de créer des schémas électroniques de la disposition des unités. Veuillez nous contacter pour plus d’information ou si vous désirez participer à ce projet pilote pour ce service.

02 May 2016

Spring Congress Workshop Materials

What’s Next?

Moderator: Penelope Winter

Panelists: Linda Stephenson, Karla Skoutajan, & Peter Trostscha

When Rights Clash in Co-ops: Human Rights and the Duty to Accommodate

Instructor: Celia Chandler

Aging in Place

Instructors: Cynthia Mitchell & Fazeela Jiwa


Vieillir chez soi

Instructeurs: Marie-Josée Houle et Jean-Michel Bedard

28 Apr 2016

Our by-law didn’t pass… now what?

bylawsIt can be disappointing when time and effort is put into crafting a by-law, only to have it voted down by your co-op’s membership.

To decide what to do next, it’s important to figure out why the by-law didn’t pass.  This will guide your next steps. If the Board can determine why the by-law did not pass, then they can set about responding to the concerns of members.

Here are some potential courses of action based on different reasons a by-law might not pass:

Members didn’t feel they had enough time to absorb the significant by-law:

Not unusual! Sometimes co-ops or committees take months or years to pour over the documents, only to bring it to the membership with a few weeks’ notice. If this was a concern, the co-op can create “drop in and discuss” style sessions where members can come to ask the committee or Board questions.

Change can be hard, so allowing members the time and opportunity to understand what is being proposed and why can increase the likelihood of success.  After some time and some availability to discuss, the co-op could reintroduce the by-law.

Members dislike a new clause or section in the by-law (where there is flexibility for the co-op to change its position):

VoteBring the feedback to the committee and/or Board, and consider whether members’ feedback can be incorporated. If it can, and it is a tenable position for the co-op to take (e.g. it won’t blow the budget, won’t violate legislation, won’t upset the apple cart, etc.), the Board should consider responding to the needs and wants of its membership… they own the co-op, after all!

When the by-law is reintroduced, demonstrate to the membership that the co-op is flexible and has made the changes, but encourage the membership to next time introduce an amendment to the by-law to reflect their position rather than rejecting it completely.

Alternatively, the Board could present the same by-law with a list of alternative amendments that members could so move should they feel the need to. This builds capacity within the membership and empowers them while allowing the Board to continue to recommend their preferred position.

Members dislike a new clause or section in the by-law (where there is no flexibility for the co-op to change its position):

This is a case where more information needs to be brought to equip the membership with the information to make the right decision.

The lack of flexibility might come from a requirement that the by-laws conform to legislation or to directives from the City of Ottawa, or from a potentially serious impact on the co-op’s finances.

In these cases, members may need more information to understand the reasoning for the recommendations in the by-law.  This is something that CHASEO can help with, but members typically will make the right decision for the co-op when given the information to do so.

And what about the by-law committee?

Members of the by-law committee might be tempted to resign when the by-law they’ve worked to create is voted down.

However, they might instead consider it an opportunity for the committee to do more work to make sure everyone understands the legal and financial framework the co-op works within and what is being proposed.  It is also a mandate from the membership to act transparently and respond to the members’ concerns.

The committee should, however, consider resigning if they are absolutely not open to changing the by-laws to address the concerns of the membership.  After all, that would make it quite difficult to fulfill the mandate given to them at the last AGM.

If your co-op is feeling overwhelmed by by-laws, CHASEO offers by-law review services.  Contact Executive Director Céline Carrière at to learn more.