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“Who controls the co-op?”

Members — together — control many aspects of how the co-op works.

One of the most important powers of members is to vote for a board of directors. It is the directors who are responsible for the day-to-day management of the co-op. That doesn’t mean they do all the work, but they are responsible for making sure the work gets done. Because directors have responsibilities to the co-operative, the board members have powers to take some kinds of decision without consulting with the entire membership. The balance of powers between general members and the board is set in the Co-op Act and by the co-op’s Rules.

Co-ops must have an annual general meeting (AGM), but they may have other kinds of meetings where decisions are made. At an AGM, members get to vote for a board. They may also receive information from directors, an auditor, or other professionals. General meetings often include votes on financial matters, such as whether to approve changes in housing charges.

Co-ops often have contracts with other organizations. Those organizations can be governments (e.g. maybe your co-op leases land from a municipality) or financial institutions (maybe your co-op has borrowed money from a bank or credit union to pay for building repairs or upgrades). Those agreements with other organizations can also affect co-op decisions.