CHF Canada has lobbied government on behalf of co‑op housing since 1968. These are just some of the things we have accomplished:
- Worked to end CRA’s “educational letters” threatening co‑ops’ and non-profits’ tax-exempt status. In August 2012, the federal Minister of National Revenue stated that CRA officials would stop sending the troubling letters.
- CHF Canada’s recommendation to the federal Special Committee on Co‑operatives led to Ottawa’s announcement in January 2013 to provide discounted penalties for federal co‑ops wishing to refinance. The federal government’s response said that the discounted penalty would help those with “financially healthy projects to undertake significant capital repair work, thus extending the useful life of their projects.”
- Legal action by CHF Canada led to an Ontario court decision in October 2012 to preserve 131 homes in Bridlewood Housing Co‑operative as affordable housing. The ruling blocked repeated attempts by the co‑op’s members to buy the homes for themselves at well below market prices and avoided the damaging precedent that would have been set if the public investment in affordable housing had been turned into personal gain.
- Successfully lobbied for federal investments in Budget 2013. These efforts led to the federal decision to renew the cost-shared Affordable Housing Initiative (AHI) and Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) for five additional years (until 2018-19).
- More than 92,000 co‑operative homes in every province and territory, developed under federal or provincial programs
- New funding in the 2009 federal budget to help with the renovation and energy retrofits of existing co‑op and social housing
- The Agency for Co‑operative Housing, a co‑operative organization that provides program administration for federally funded housing co‑ops in BC, Alberta, Ontario and PEI. The agency was incorporated after a 10-year national lobby.
- Help for leaky co‑ops in British Columbia. Working with the Co‑operative Housing Federation of BC, we are working to repair housing co‑operatives experiencing serious moisture penetration because of building envelope failure.
- Stopping the “clawback” of $535,000 for co‑ops in a dispute with CMHC, which had tried to take a share of net operating revenues from 57 Section 95 (56.1) housing co‑ops in British Columbia and elsewhere. CHF Canada’s effective defence sent the government a clear message about the importance of respecting its legal contracts with co‑ops.
- Winning a ruling that gave most housing co‑ops larger GST/HST rebates. Co‑ops that apply for and are granted “municipal status” can now claim back over 57% of the GST/HST they pay on the income-tested or RGI portion of their operations.