Every business and community in BC is being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and housing co-ops are no exception. CHF BC members have been asking us for advice on a range of issues. You will find our answers and resources below.COVID-19 General Guidance | Helping Members in Financial Distress | Resources for meetings during COVID-19 | Concern for Community
Find information and links to some great general resources for your community at this time.
Sign up now to join us for a free member Town Hall on October 14: Rethinking our co-op communities as we transition out of the pandemic
August 24, 2021 – We’ve now entered Phase 3 of the province’s restart plan. See all the information about what that means and the next phases here.
CHF BC has moved all its in-person events and services online, and members are encouraged to join us for these free virtual opportunities. As many co-ops transition to virtual meetings, we’re here to help with our Virtual Meeting Support Services.
Check our event calendar for more opportunities.
When restrictions do ease, your co-op can use this questionnaire to ensure safety for contractors, employees and members needing to enter a member's unit, prior to entry.
Our advice at the moment is that co-ops should do whatever they can to be part of the solution to the COVID-19 pandemic. That means limiting contact among people and practising social distancing to the greatest extent possible.
We canvassed the views of maintenance services including our own at COHO and the staff at BC Housing. They are providing maintenance and repair services to occupied homes only in emergency situations. All regular or routine maintenance is being restricted to vacant homes and common areas (interior and exterior). We think this is prudent in the circumstances and important for the protection of co-op members, staff and tradespeople. Of course there are always situations that call for judgement to be exercised. If, for example, a home is vacant because a member is away on vacation, it may be possible to have work done safely in the home while the member is away. That’s a decision for the board to make.
The board is charged with a special responsibility to act at all times in the best interests of the co-op. This sometimes calls for tough choices to be made. In the current situation, it is difficult for us to imagine that it’s in the co-op’s best interests to proceed with business as usual.
Trail Appliances has now closed all retail stores and outlets to protect the safety of their staff and clients. They are still able to provide curbside delivery but cannot offer haul-away service at this time. If your co-op has an emergency request, please contact Catherine Maxwell at firstname.lastname@example.org. All other requests should go to email@example.com.
Cabinets and Countertops:
Danube Kitchens, our cabinet and countertops partner on the Mainland, will still provide service on request, while respecting health and safety guidelines. If you have a request, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our flooring partners in the Lower Mainland, CD Contract and K&A Flooring, are both available for service on request, while respecting health and safety guidelines. On Vancouver Island, co-ops can work with the Island Flooring Centre . For any flooring requests, please contact us at email@example.com.
Our partner RONA stores are still open and you can shop until 6:00 p.m. You can also shop online. If you need more information or to request a service, please contact Brad LeGrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our telecom program partner TELUS has let us know that their technicians will not enter units to upgrade wiring to fibre-optic. Regular internet speed upgrades and repair appointments are still happening with modifications for safety. You can visit TELUS.com/covid19 for the most up to date information on how they are supporting clients in this uncertain time. And for any members with questions, please contact us at email@example.com.
Our Waste and Recycling partners Waste Connections on the Mainland and GFL Environmental on the Island continue to provide all services with no interruption.
If you have additional questions about any of our Group Buying programs, including ways we can help your co-op access group buying services at this time, please contact Arnold Sang at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BC Centres for Disease Control: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-professionals/clinical-resources/covid-19-care/signage-posters
Infection Prevention and Control Canada: https://ipac-canada.org/posters-graphics-and-videos.php
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety: https://www.ccohs.ca/outbreaks/resources/
Here you will find resources to help your co-op and its members deal with financial distress brought on by the challenge of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
On March 24, CHF BC issued a memo to all member co-ops called Helping Members in Financial Distress during COVID-19. Thank you for your positive response to that memo. We believe it sets out a sound approach, and this will add to that advice.
If you haven’t communicated with your members about April 1 housing charges, now is the time to do that. We recommend something very simple.
First, we recommend that you send a short notice to all members similar to this sample notice (MS Word file — will download). The purpose of the memo is to advise members that:
CHF BC will publish a summary of the assistance available from all levels of government later today. We will also publish additional information this week to help you make agreements with members to defer housing charge payments if needed.
We are living through a very volatile situation. Things are changing daily, if not hourly, and we will be monitoring developments carefully to ensure that our response is relevant and appropriate. By acting responsibly now, we will be laying the foundation for the weeks and months to come.
Don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions at email@example.com and please stay safe.
In response to questions from members we have developed resources that offer the latest guidance to help co-ops.
Here is some information about co-op meetings during the social isolation requirements of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Registrar will not be extending the blanket AGM extension past the end of April, 2021. Beginning in May, if a co-op wishes to extend its 2021 AGM, it will need to apply for an extension in writing (via mail or email to firstname.lastname@example.org) giving a brief explanation why the meeting must be delayed, and the date when the meeting is expected to be held. The co-op can apply for a maximum six-month extension. Before it grants an extension, the Registrar will want to ensure that the co-op is up to date with its annual filings, and in good standing with the Registrar. If a co-op wants an extension for a 2021 AGM, the Registrar will be checking to make sure that it has already filed the 2020 Annual Report.
Thanks for your COVID-19 advice. Our Board is about to meet via video-conference. How do we do Consent Resolutions?
If your board is meeting by video-conference, there is no need for a consent resolution. Consent resolutions are only used where it is not possible to have a meeting, and a video-conference is a valid meeting as long as quorum is present and everyone can hear and respond to each other.
Some things to note about the form of resolution:
You can poll the members by email to find out how they feel about the proposed increase, but that’s not enough to make a binding decision. In some co-ops the board sets the housing charges. In others, new housing charges must be approved by ordinary resolution at a members’ meeting called for that purpose. An email poll is not a meeting, so you’ll need to consider other options.
For more information on meetings, see CHF BC’s advice on meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Housing co-ops are resilient communities. Their members believe in the values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others. Here are some ways we continue to demonstrate that during this crisis.