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CHF Canada Glossary 0-9 and A-E

CHF Canada is grateful to the Co‑operative Housing Federation of Toronto for letting us borrow from Words, Words, Words: The Co‑op Housing Dictionary. We also thank the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association for letting us draw on their website glossary.

Scroll down to browse the glossary, or use the alphabetical index to jump directly to the section you want.

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2020 Vision Project – Launched in 2006, the 2020 Vision Project was created to help co‑ops map a vision of the road ahead for housing co‑ops and the co‑op housing movement. By the year 2020, some 55,000 co‑op homes will be operating outside of any contract with CMHC.

2020 Certification – The 2020 Certification program offers co‑ops a way to measure their operations against eight standards set by CHF Canada. Co‑ops that meet all eight standards can become certified as 2020 Co‑ops by CHF Canada.

2020 Compass – The Compass is an innovative process that helps co‑ops decide what they value as a community and how to incorporate these values in a vision and mission that will guide their future. The 2020 Compass is a key building block of the 2020 Vision project.

2020 Vision toolkit – The kit includes tools to help make 2020 Vision a reality for co‑ops. The tools come in the form of guides, software and education programs that help co‑ops.

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aboriginal community director – The director elected to CHF Canada’s board of directors to represent the aboriginal community. Only aboriginal persons may run for the position. Co‑ops with at least one aboriginal person in at least 10% of their units may vote for this director.

access planProvincial and federal/provincial housing co‑ops in Ontario each had an access plan attached to their original operating agreement. The plan set out

  • how many households should be paying the co‑op’s full charge
  • how many should be paying a rent-geared-to-income (RGI) charge
  • how many RGI households should be from the neediest group.

It also confirmed the co‑op’s right to choose its membership. The access plan was sometimes called a targeting plan.

Affordable Housing Program (Ontario) (AHP) – A housing supply program funded by the federal, provincial and municipal governments in Ontario starting in 2002. The AHP features several program components, including rental and affordable homeownership. The municipally delivered and administered program has had a number of different phases with different funding arrangements and rules. Program rules and funding arrangements also vary from municipality to municipality.

affordable mortgage payment – The share of its mortgage payment that a SHRA co‑op can afford without subsidy. It is the difference between benchmarked revenues and benchmarked costs in the benchmark year.

Agency for Co‑operative Housing (The Agency) – The Agency is a non-profit, non-governmental organization incorporated under the Canada Cooperatives Act. It was created to administer the federal government’s co‑operative housing programs in PEI, Ontario, Alberta and BC, under contract with CMHC.

agenda – A list of the business items a meeting is asked to deal with.

AGM – See annual general meeting.

AGRTQ – See Association des groupes de ressources techniques du Québec.

AIRSee annual information return.

AMO – See Association of Municipalities of Ontario.

annual general meeting (AGM) – Also called annual meeting or annual general members’ meeting. This is the meeting where the members of a co‑op receive the auditor’s report and appoint an auditor for the next year. Most co‑ops also hold their board elections at the AGM.

Annual income review – the yearly income reviews of RGI members to determine their ongoing eligibility for RGI assistance. To do the reviews, co‑ops must collect information from its RGI members about their income, assets and household composition. The precise rules vary according to the funding program.

Annual Information Return (AIR) (SHRA co‑ops) – The annual reporting form that SHRA co‑ops send to government at the end of each fiscal year.

The form tells the service manager

  • how much the co‑op earned and spent in the year
  • how much subsidy money the co‑op used for people paying a housing charge geared to their income (RGI)
  • how much operating subsidy the co‑op needed during the year
  • the number and average income levels of RGI households by household type (family, seniors, non-elderly singles and special needs).

Annual Information Return (AIR) (federal) -The Annual Information Return is a form filed by federal-program co‑ops in BC, Alberta, Ontario and PEI with the Agency for Co‑operative Housing. The AIR collects financial data to risk rate co‑ops and monitor compliance with operating agreements.

annual project data report (APDR) – The form Section 95 (previously Section 56.1) co‑ops file with government each year. The form tells Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) or the provincial or territorial housing agency or department

  • how much the co‑op earned and spent in the year
  • how much rent-geared-to-income (RGI) subsidy the co‑op's members used
  • how much the co‑op put into its replacement reserve fund
  • how much the co‑op put into its subsidy surplus fund
  • how much subsidy money (if any) the co‑op must send back to CMHC or the province or territory.

The APDR has been superseded in PEI, Ontario, Alberta and BC by the Annual Information Return (AIR) (federal).

APDR – See annual project data report.

appeal – To ask that a decision be rethought. For example, a member can sometimes appeal a board decision to the co‑op's members. A members' meeting will then decide whether to reverse the board's decision.

Arrears – Co‑ops use this term for unpaid housing charges.

Articles of Incorporation – The co‑op’s founding documents. The articles typically set the co‑op’s name, head office, purpose, number and powers of directors and restrictions on the use of property.

asset management – The process of preserving the long-term value of a building through a continuous process of good property and financial management and good planning.

Association des groupes de ressources techniques du Québec (AGRTQ) – The association of resource groups in Quebec.

Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) – The organization that represents all municipalities in Ontario except Toronto.

auditor – A professional accountant qualified to examine the records supporting a co‑op’s financial statements and give an opinion about the fairness and reliability of the statements.

auditor’s report – The report issued after the auditor examines the records supporting a co‑op’s financial statements which outlines the scope of the auditor’s examination and gives the opinion about the fairness of the statements.

AutoGuard – A group-buying program that offers vehicle insurance at preferred rates to members and staff of CHF Canada’s members and associates.

Award for best practices in co‑op governance and management – An award created by the members of CHF Canada in 2005 to celebrate best practices in co‑op governance and management guided by CHF Canada’s core management standards.

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Balance sheet – A list of the assets, liabilities, and equity of the co‑op at a specific date.

Bank reconciliation – A term used when the differences between the co‑op’s bank statement and the co‑op’s record are accounted for. The two might be different because of

  • the delay between when the co‑op issues and records cheques and when they clear the co‑op’s bank account
  • the delays between recording by the bank or credit untion and the co‑op (for example the co‑op may not record bank service charges or interest until the bank statement is received)
  • errors in recording by the bank or credit union and the co‑op.

BCHMC – See British Columbia Housing Management Commission.

benchmark year – The first fiscal year of a SHRA co‑op, when the final benchmarks apply.

benchmarking – The process the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing used to set new base-year operating revenues and costs for housing providers under the Social Housing Reform Act. The benchmarked revenues and costs were used to set the level of mortgage subsidy. Since January 1, 2008, the indexed benchmark revenues and costs have been used to set the amount of operating subsidy.

bridge subsidy – bridge subsidy — Money the government gives a co‑op to help it pay its mortgage and other expenses. These funds help bridge the gap between the co‑op’s direct income and its costs. Direct income includes housing and parking charges, laundry money, interest and other minor amounts. See also federal assistance, interest reduction grant, mortgage subsidy, operating subsidy and pre-determined assistance.

British Columbia Housing Management Commission (BCHMC) — The housing agency of the province of British Columbia.

BRUNCH – See Brunswick Co‑operative Housing.

Brunswick Co‑operative Housing (BRUNCH) –An unincorporated association of housing co‑operatives and other CHF Canada members in the province of New Brunswick.

Budget – a budget is the statement of the co‑op’s financial plan usually for the co‑op’s fiscal year. It is a plan of what the co‑ops revenues and expenses will be. Co‑ops usually have two types of budgets:

  • An operating budget that sets out revenues from the operation of the housing co‑op and the day-to-day or operational expenses
  • A capital budget that sets out the planned capital expenses and how they will be paid for.

Budget variance – The amount by which the actual expenses and revenues differ from the figures in the co‑op’s budget.

building condition assessment – a report that describes a building’s condition and is part of a capital reserve plan. It includes a list of all capital items that will need to be replaced during a building’s lifetime, when each item will need to be replaced and how much it will cost.

by-law – A rule or set of rules for the conduct of a co‑op or its members. Once the co‑op’s board and members have approved a by-law, these rules have the force of law, unless they conflict with municipal by-laws or with provincial or federal laws or codes. See also rules of association.

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Canada Cooperatives Act — The act governing federally incorporated co‑operatives. CHF Canada comes under this act. Housing co‑operatives come under the co‑op act of their province or territory.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) – The national housing agency of the federal government. CMHC

  • insures residential mortgage loans
  • provides subsidies under federal housing programs
  • administers the operating agreements of Quebec and co‑ops funded under federal government programs.
  • conducts and publishes housing research
  • promotes Canadian exports in the housing field.

Canadian Co‑operative Association (CCA) – The national association representing the broad English-speaking co‑operative movement in Canada. CCA has regional affiliates and partners in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Atlantic Canada and northern Canada.

Canadian Housing and Renewal Association (CHRA) – A national association of managers and delivery agents of housing programs across Canada. CHRA tries to influence housing policies and programs to improve access to adequate and affordable housing.

Capital financing – In housing co‑ops, the funds used to help buy, build or renovate the co‑op’s buildings.

capital reserve – See replacement reserve.

capital reserve plan – A management tool. The plan consists of a building condition assessment and a reserve fund forecast. The plan helps co‑ops make sure they have enough money to replace roofs, windows, appliances, mechanical equipment and other capital items as they wear out. It tells co‑ops how much money they need to put into the capital reserve each year and when they will need to spend it.

CCA – See Canadian Co‑operative Association.

Cash flow – the movement of cash into and out of the co‑op. Money comes into the co‑op through things like housing charges, subsidy and laundry revenue. Money goes out of the co‑op to pay the mortgage, the utility bills and contractors etc.

Chair – is the person who presides over a meeting. The chair makes sure

  • the meeting runs smoothly
  • members have a chance to discuss every item on the agenda fully and fairly
  • that there is a clear conclusion to each item discussed.

Charter of Rights and Freedoms – A bill of rights entrenched in the Canadian constitution. The Government of Canada, all provincial and territorial governments and all federal and provincial or territorial laws must comply with the Charter.

Conflict of interest – A situation where a person has a duty to the co‑op that conflicts with their personal interests. A conflict of interest can happen when a director, officer, committee member or staff

  • makes or takes part in a decision affecting the co‑op and
  • the result of that decision gives the person or someone related to the person a benefit which the rest of the co‑op members do not have.

CCC – See Conseil canadien de la coopération.

Central Ontario Co‑operative Housing Federation (COCHF) – The federation of housing co‑operatives in the central region of Ontario, which includes such cities as Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph, Stratford and Brantford.

centralized waiting list – A waiting list kept by service managers of households approved for rent-geared-to-income subsidy in SHRA co‑ops and other social housing.

SHRA co‑ops may take RGI applications only from the centralized waiting list, but are free to process applications through the co‑ops membership procedures.

CHANAL – See Co‑operative Housing Association of Newfoundland and Labrador.

CHAO – See Co‑operative Housing Association of Ontario.

CHASEO – See Co‑operative Housing Association of Eastern Ontario.

CHF BC – See Co‑operative Housing Federation of British Columbia.

CHF Canada – See Co‑operative Housing Federation of Canada.

CHF Canada, Ontario Region – The Ontario Region is the part of CHF Canada concerned with matters that affect only Ontario co‑operatives and their members.

CHFT – See Co‑operative Housing Federation of Toronto.

CHIP – See Co‑operative Housing Investment Program.

CHRA – See Canadian Housing and Renewal Association.

CMHC – See Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

CMSM – For consolidated municipal service manager, see service manager.

CNIT — See core need income threshold.

COCHF – See Central Ontario Co‑operative Housing Federation.

Community-Sponsored Housing Program (Ontario) (CSHP) – The rent supplement program used by Ontario co‑ops funded under Section 61 (formerly 34.18) of the National Housing Act. The Ontario government has transferred the co‑op portion of this program to Ottawa. See also tripartite agreement.

Confédération québécoise des coopératives d'habitation (CQCH) – The province-wide body representing co‑operative housing in Quebec. Its members are the regional federations of housing co‑ops in the province.

Conseil canadien de la coopération (CCC) – The organization representing the broad French-speaking co‑operative movement in Canada. CCA has regional affiliates in Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Manitoba.

consolidated municipal service manager (CMSM) – See service manager.

co‑op act — The provincial or territorial law that governs co‑operatives incorporated there, including housing co‑ops. The act has different names in different provinces and territories:

The Canada Cooperatives Act is the federal co‑op act.

Co‑op Cost Cutters - A group buying program offered by local federations in Ontario and by CHF Canada in parts of Ontario, and some parts of Canada, where there is no local federation.

Co‑op Housing Bookstore - A joint project of the Co‑operative Housing Federation of Canada and the Co‑operative Housing Federation of Toronto. The bookstore publishes and sells

  • books about managing housing co‑ops
  • books about building communities in housing co‑ops
  • simple information in many languages on co‑op housing
  • leaflets to help members take part in meetings
  • co‑op videos and gifts, such as mugs and pins in many languages
  • notes to help workshop leaders present their workshops

Everything the bookstore sells is in plain language. Many books are available in French.

co‑op in difficulty – A co‑op thought by CMHC or a provincial, territorial or municipal housing agency or department to have financial or other problems that need action. See also project in difficulty.

Co‑op management company - An organization that specializes in providing property management or administrative services to housing co‑ops.

Co‑operatives Act — The name of the provincial law governing housing and other provincially incorporated co‑ops in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Cooperative Association Act — The provincial law governing housing and other provincially incorporated co‑ops in British Columbia.

Co‑operative Associations Act — The provincial or territorial law governing housing and other provincially incorporated co‑ops in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Yukon, Northwest Territories.

Co‑operative Associations Ordinance - The territorial law governing housing and other co‑ops operating in the Northwest Territories and Yukon.

Co‑operative Corporations Act - The provincial law governing housing and other provincially incorporated co‑ops in the province of Ontario.

Co‑operative Housing Association of Eastern Ontario (CHASEO) - The federation of housing co‑operatives in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario.

Co‑operative Housing Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (CHANAL) - The federation of housing co‑operatives in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Co‑operative Housing Association of Ontario (CHAO) - The association founded in 1987 to represent the interests of the Ontario co‑operative housing sector. In 1996 CHAO merged with CHF Canada to become CHF Canada's Ontario Region.

Co‑operative Housing Federation of British Columbia (CHF BC) - The federation of housing co‑operatives in British Columbia.

Co‑operative Housing Federation of Canada (CHF Canada) - The national umbrella association for Canadian housing co‑operatives and organizations that support their development and operation.

Co‑operative Housing Federation of Toronto (CHFT) - The federation of housing co‑operatives in Toronto and the southern part of York Region.

Co‑operative Housing Investment Program (CHIP) - A member program offered by a regional federation of housing co‑ops or CHF Canada. Co‑ops in the program receive a higher rate of interest on their deposits at a partner credit union or caisse populaire and lower (or no) service fees.

Co‑operative Principles - Guidelines followed by co‑operatives around the world. The International Co‑operative Alliance (ICA) adopted principles in 1995. The principles, in summary are,

  • open and voluntary membership
  • democratic member control
  • fair economic participation
  • autonomy
  • co‑operative education
  • co‑operation among co‑operatives
  • community

Co‑operative Societies Act - The provincial law governing housing and other provincially incorporated co‑ops in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Co-ordinated access - A local system to refer people to social housing in their community. The government of Ontario set up these systems in the early 1990s. They have since been replaced by municipally administered centralized waiting lists.

Core management standards – Adopted by CHF Canada’s members in 2004, the core management standards offer a simple blueprint for good co‑op management. The standards help co‑ops measure and improve the quality of their management. See Getting Management Right.

core need - The income level at which government sees a household as in need of suitable, adequate and affordable housing. Households in core need qualify for assistance under certain government housing programs. See also core need income threshold and household income limits.

core need income threshold (CNIT) - The most a household may earn and still be in core need. CNITs vary by region and household size. They are used to determine eligibility for certain housing programs of the federal and provincial governments. See also core need, high need and household income limits.

Core policies - The by-laws, rules or policies adopted by co‑op members. In Ontario, the term by-law is used for most rules adopted by members. In BC, by-laws are called “rules.” Terminology in other provinces and territories vary.

Corporate secretary – an officer appointed or elected by the board of directors. The corporate secretary must ensure that

  • all required notices of board and members’ meeting are given
  • all the necessary documents for board and members’ meetings are provided
  • the minute book of the co‑op is kept up to date
  • all legally required notices are given
  • all necessary filings to meet the co‑op’s legal requirements are made
  • complete minutes of all board and members’ meetings are kept and distributed before the next meeting, and
  • a copy of all new by-laws is given to the members as soon as possible after theya re confirmed.

The corporate secretary does not need to personally perform these duties.

CQCH - See Confédération québécoise des coopératives d' habitation

CSHP - See Community Sponsored Housing Program

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deep need - See high need

devolution - The transfer of responsibility for social housing programs from CMHC to the provinces and territories. The federal government has devolved co‑op housing programs in the three territories, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Manitoba plans to return the co‑op programs to CMHC.

District Social Service Administration Board (DSSAB) - A municipal level of administration in Northern Ontario. The boards are an extension of the previous District Welfare Administration Boards. They look after Ontario Works, child-care services and social housing programs.

diversity - A mix of people of different races, ethnic groups, nationalities, ages, cultures, backgrounds, lifestyles, skills, income levels, sexual orientation or family status.

downloading - The transfer of the cost and administration of Ontario social housing programs from the provincial to the municipal level of government.

Duty to accommodate – Refers to the obligation of the co‑op to change structures, rules, policies or practices to make sure that members, prospective members, staff or prospective staff are able to enjoy equal benefit, equal treatment, equal rights and equal access with respect to housing employment, or service etc. Needs that must be accommodated could be related to a person’s gender, age, disability, family status, ethnic origin, religion or any other attributes protected under federal, provincial or territorial human right codes.

Duty of care – The legal responsibility of each board member to exercise a degree of care, diligence and skill that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in comparable circumstances.

Duty of loyalty (also known as a fiduciary duty) – the legal responsibility of each board member to act honestly, in good faith and in the best interests of the co‑op.

DSSAB - See District Social Service Administration Board

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economic occupancy charge - The monthly charge an occupant would have to pay in the absence of federal assistance. The term appears in the section 95 (56.1) operating agreement.

Economic rent - (see economic occupancy charge)

enhanced assistance - Additional operating subsidy that CMHC can give to co‑ops in difficulty as part of a financial workout.

eviction - The legal process to take away a co‑op member's membership and right to live in a unit in that co‑op.

expulsion - See eviction