CHF Canada eNews, December 20, 2011

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CHF Canada eNews
December 20, 2011

Happy holidays and thank you for your loyal support!

2012: The Year of Getting Management Right

Toronto forums inspire heated discourse on federal government’s role in co-ops

Canada's Economic Action Plan profile: Sapperton Terrace

Co-op members help family forced out by kitchen stovetop fire

Speak up for affordable co-op housing by contributing to online federal pre-budget consultations

Questions and suggested responses: online federal pre-budget consultations

CONTACT US
CHF Canada
Suite 311, 225 Metcalfe St.
Ottawa ON K2P 1P9

www@chfcanada.coop
info@chfcanada.coop
Toll-Free: 1.800.465.2752

HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND THANK YOU FOR YOUR LOYAL SUPPORT!

As our Year of Getting Governance Right, draws to a close and we approach 2012 and the International Year of Co-operatives, the board and staff of CHF Canada would like to thank you for your continued support of Canada’s co‑operative housing movement.

We also wish a special welcome to those co‑ops that joined in 2011, bringing total CHF Canada membership to over 900 co‑ops: in BC, the new First Avenue Athletes Village Housing Co‑op; in Alberta, Arts Hub Housing Co‑op; in Saskatchewan, The Esquire Housing Co‑op; in the NWT, Garden City Housing Co‑op; in Manitoba, Western Manitoba Seniors Non-Profit Housing Co‑op and South Osborne Housing Co‑op; and in Ontario, Alliance Housing Co‑op, Four Feathers Housing Co‑op and Riverside Garden Court Housing Co‑op. Welcome as well to new organizational members that joined in 2011: Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP and Victoria Park Community Homes Management.

Through your CHF Canada membership and everything you do to make your housing co‑op a better place to live, you are helping protect and preserve Canada’s precious legacy of secure, affordable and diverse co‑operative communities.

2012: THE YEAR OF GETTING MANAGEMENT RIGHT

Now more than ever before in our co‑operative housing history, we must ensure our co‑ops are well-managed and governed. That’s why CHF Canada has declared 2012 the Year of Getting Management Right. And because 2012 is the International Year of Co‑operatives, now is the perfect time to emphasize the role management plays in supporting the co‑operative housing enterprises that provide our members with affordable, community-minded housing.

This year, look for an emphasis on management at the CHF Canada Annual General Meeting in Niagara Falls, with plenty of workshops to choose from in both the Member Education Forum and the Co‑operative Management Conference.

In 2011, the national Good Governance Survey provided us with a timely snapshot of the quality of governance in housing co‑ops across the country. In the early spring of 2012, look for the launch of the Good Management Survey: results will be announced at the AGM and publicized in NewsBriefs.

There’s much more to come, so start thinking about the value of sound management in your co‑op, and look forward to a whole year of Getting Management Right!

TORONTO FORUMS INSPIRE HEATED DISCOURSE ON FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S ROLE IN CO-OPS

Co‑op members and managers at two Toronto forums in early December expressed strong feelings on the future of federal assistance to low-income members of housing co‑ops. The forums, focused on the end of rent-geared to income subsidies in a post operating agreement world, attracted an attendance of almost two hundred.

Nicholas Gazzard, CHF Canada's Executive Director, said the presentations inspired passionate comments from co‑op members about the politics of getting government back to the table. "People had strong feelings about the role the government should continue to play after the agreements come to an end,” he said.

Gazzard and Thom Armstrong, Executive Director CHF BC, led the sessions. The forums were arranged and hosted by the Co‑operative Housing Federation of Toronto.

CANADA'S ECONOMIC ACTION PLAN PROFILE: SAPPERTON TERRACE

Sapperton Terrace Housing Co‑operative received funding through the initial phase of Canada's Economic Action Plan, as part of the social housing renovation and retrofit investments, to improve the quality of life of its residents by keeping their homes safe and affordable. To learn more about it, visit CMHC.

CO-OP MEMBERS HELP FAMILY FORCED OUT BY KITCHEN STOVETOP FIRE

Co‑op members in Chatham are helping a family at Clairvue Co‑op that was left homeless when a fire destroyed their unit. The co‑op set up a trust account and is taking donations of furniture and household items. The family will return to the co‑op in four months, after their unit has been repaired. Unfortunately, the member did not have contents insurance.

The fire, in late November, was started when an unattended pot of oil on the stove ignited, and the flames quickly spread to the rest of the unit.

Donations can be sent to the trust account at the Royal Bank in Chatham: account number 00882 5018957, in trust for Kristen Ameriault.

SPEAK UP FOR AFFORDABLE CO-OP HOUSING BY CONTRIBUTING TO ONLINE FEDERAL PRE-BUDGET CONSULTATIONS

CHF Canada is encouraging co‑ops to get involved in the federal Department of Finance’s online pre-budget consultations.

Members and supporters alike have an opportunity to influence the 2012 federal budget by answering five questions on issues ranging from how to better promote job creation to ensuring effective spending of taxpayer dollars. There is a 200-word limit for each response.

CHF Canada prepared suggested responses (below) for this year’s online consultation. According to the Department, they are expected to conclude by late January 2012.

You can also refer to CHF Canada’s submission to the federal Standing Committee on Finance’s consultations. Building Economic Strength in Livable Cities for the 21st Century outlines Canada’s housing co‑ops’ three main recommendations for the Minister of Finance to consider in advance of the 2012 federal budget. CHF Canada appeared before the Committee on October 20, 2011.

While a date has not been announced, the 2012 federal budget is expected to be tabled by the Minister of Finance in February or March 2012.

QUESTIONS AND SUGGESTED RESPONSES: ONLINE FEDERAL PRE-BUDGET CONSULTATIONS

(Please see above article for introduction.)

Department of Finance’s Online Consultations for 2012 Budget

1. Are there measures in the Next Phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan that should be revised to better promote job creation and economic growth? Should any be extended? Are there areas where funding should be shifted to meet changed priorities?

Suggested response:

The 2012 Budget can build on previous federal spending set aside for affordable co‑operative housing in Budgets 2009 and 2010 by continuing to provide practical and long-term investments in urban infrastructure and affordable housing.

The federal government has an opportunity to reduce housing need by using the tax system to stimulate new affordable housing construction through a program that resembles the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program in the U.S. As recommended by the Co‑operative Housing Federation of Canada (see page four of its pre-budget submission for the federal Finance Committee’s budget consultations), the program would “be targeted at low-to-moderate-income family housing”.

The construction of new affordable housing will greatly benefit our national economy as new development will produce a multiplier effect in the construction industry and building supply sector.


2. Budget 2011 outlined a plan to return to balance that included a strategic and operating review of Government spending of taxpayers’ dollars (whose results will be reported on in Budget 2012). In what areas should we look for more efficient and effective spending? How can we better respect taxpayer dollars by ensuring they are not wasted on duplication, inefficient operating expenses, or programs that have outlived their usefulness?

Suggested response:

While being mindful of the government’s goal of returning to a balanced budget by 2015-16, the federal government can ensure that the new Affordable Housing Framework (AHF) (signed on July 4, 2011) is both respected and implemented by provincial and territorial governments.

Canadian taxpayers are hoping that the new AHF will lead to the development of new forms of affordable housing options, including non-profit housing co‑ops.

With the goal of making Canada’s cities more livable, the federal government must demonstrate tangible results for federal tax dollars. These include new homes for vulnerable Canadians and measurable reductions in housing need, as a consequence of the new AHF and the new three-year (2011-14) cost-shared agreements with the provinces and territories.

Canada’s housing co‑ops asked for transparent accountability for federal housing spending. Let’s hope that we see significant improvements as governments are mandated to both enforce the new AHF and publicize their results through annual reports.


3. What should Canada’s priorities be for the short and long term to encourage private sector growth and leadership in the economy?

Suggested response:

One of the best ways to secure short and long term growth for the Canadian economy is through targeted federal investments in infrastructure and affordable housing.

Investments in new rental housing construction, highways, roads, and other forms of municipal infrastructure, will lead to economies of scale for Canadian-made goods, which will ultimately foster job creation in Canada’s construction industry.


4. The global economic recovery is slowing. While Canada is still doing better than most, we are still vulnerable to shocks from beyond our borders. Are there measures we can take to protect our economic recovery in the face of international events?

Suggested response:

The federal government has a unique opportunity to invest in the national economy by both supporting and developing co‑operatives of all kinds.

2012 marks the International Year of Co‑operatives. The federal government can take advantage of the UN declared year by investing in co‑ops. The theme of the International Year of Co‑operatives is “Co‑operative Enterprises Build a Better World”.

The Canadian Co‑operative Association’s recommendations for the International Year of Co‑operatives are found in their pre-budget submission:

  • a federal Co‑operative Investment Plan (CIP), which would provide a federal tax credit for co‑op members and employees who invest in producer (agriculture, fishery, forestry) and employee-owned co‑operatives
  • a co‑operative development fund, co-funded by the federal government and the co‑operative sector, which would provide capitalization loans to co‑operatives
  • a renewed, expanded, and permanent Co‑operative Development Initiative (CDI), which would continue to provide grants and technical assistance to new and emerging co‑ops. The current CDI program expires in March 2013.

New investments in the co‑op model will help secure Canada’s own financial well-being.


5. If you have any other comments please enter them below.

This question provides members with an opportunity to expand on their above-noted responses.

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