Co-operative Law

Fall Event Roundup

October 1st, 2019 by Iler Campbell

While the warm weather makes it hard to believe we’re into fall, we are certainly into the full swing of fall activity.

In September, we were pleased to attend two 25th anniversary parties for housing co‑ops – one in Whitby and another in Pickering. So great to see co‑ops do what they do best – celebrate strong, inclusive community.

In late September, we also delivered an IC Education workshop for housing co‑ops. We were delighted to have Alterna Savings and Credit Union  sponsor the event, allowing co‑ops to attend for free. Thanks to the Central Ontario Co‑operative Housing Federation (COCHF) for co‑organising this with us. Although it was held at a co‑op in Waterloo and many attendees were from COCHF co‑ops, we were delighted to have people attend from Sudbury, North Bay, Toronto, Peel Region and the Niagara Peninsula. If you have ideas about in‑person training and have the space to accommodate it, please be in touch. If we can find a way to deliver training in a way that is cost‑effective for you, we will.

ONPHA has its annual conference, themed “Owning our Future”, on Nov 1‑3 in Toronto. Iler Campbell lawyers are honoured to be on the program a few times: on Friday, Nov 1, Safia Lakhani will help housing providers understand their current obligations to their employees; and Celia Chandler will be part of a panel discussing medical assistance in death and how that relates to housing. On Saturday, Nov 2, Michael Hackl will pair up with another housing lawyer to discuss cannabis in housing; and Celia will return to the conference to offer thoughts on Building Successful Tenancies and Strong Communities with two community mediators.

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Client Profile: Urbane Cyclist Worker Co-op

September 10th, 2019 by Iler Campbell

Urbane Cyclists worker owners

Urbane Cyclist Worker Co-op is more than your average bike shop. Since opening in 1997, this shop has been part of a movement towards human-powered transportation that promotes, in their words, “the awesomeness of bicycles.” Urbane Cyclist Worker Co-op began as a repair shop geared (get it?!) towards commuters that were seeking an affordable and reliable way to get from Point A to Point B. Urbane recognized that the needs of a commuter are often very different from those of a recreational cyclist. Commuters are interested first and foremost in being as functional and efficient as possible on the bike, without any need for the flashy (and often expensive) bells and whistles that interest the recreational road cyclist. Since then, Urbane has branched out to adventure cycling and is the only shop in the city that specializes in recumbent bicycles.

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Free legal workshop | Messy Human Dramas and how to navigate them in your co-op

July 31st, 2019 by Iler Campbell

Messy Human Dramas and how to navigate them in your co-op

You won’t want to miss this evening sponsored by Alterna Savings!

Meet your fellow housing co‑opers September 19th for a light dinner hosted at COCHF member, Shamrock Co‑op.

Then after dinner, Alia Abaya, Director, Community Impact and Member Experience at Alterna will discuss the Alterna Savings CHIP program offer for COCHF coop members, designed to support the continued future financial health of Co-operative Housing Communities.

Celia Chandler, lawyer at Iler Campbell LLP, will then lead you through fifteen common member situations in co‑ops: from accessibility issues to hoarding to smoking to kids to the “unco-operative co-oper” and everything in between!

The evening will conclude with a chance to ask questions of Alia and Celia about their presentations.

Sign up here

BC court orders overhoused co-op members to move. Implications for Ontario?

July 25th, 2019 by Celia Chandler

This article was first published on rabble.ca

At Iler Campbell we hear all the time from housing providers about the issue of overhousing and underhousing — that is, situations where people are renting units that are bigger than they need (overhousing) and people whose space needs are not met (underhousing).

Underhousing is not surprising — we are experiencing a housing crisis in Canada so having people living in cramped quarters seems an obvious outcome.

Perhaps less obvious is the reverse. Case by case, though, we understand how overhousing happens: in many cases, people moved into their now‑too‑large units years ago when they were living with spouses and children. They’ve celebrated family milestones within the walls; they’ve welcomed newborns into their lives there; they’ve marked their children’s heights on the kitchen wall; they’ve lost loved ones there; they’ve buried pets in the backyard; they’ve invested their sweat and money into improving their homes — in short, they are connected to the living space. Their need for space may be diminished but their need for this particular space has not.

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Client Profile: Women’s Community Co-operative Inc.

July 23rd, 2019 by Iler Campbell

A photo of Women’s Community Co-operative

Women’s Community Co-operative Inc. is a 46 unit mid-rise building in Hamilton. The co-op houses a diverse group of women, some of whom have lived there since the beginning, choosing to age in place and others who have joined more recently. They come from all walks of life and many corners of the world – in short, they are like every other housing co-op in 2019. Despite difference, they have all chosen co-operative living.

Managed by Niagara Peninsula Homes, Women’s came to our firm a couple of years ago to help resolve some interpersonal issues among its members. Like many of our clients, it seemed to the Women’s board that the co-op world had shifted from one where their by-laws were paramount and they could largely operate in isolation from the bigger world. Now there were obligations imposed on them from the outside that they didn’t understand. At the same time, their members were using language of human rights and harassment that made the board uneasy, afraid to ignore for fear of legal implications, but not sure how to respond. The Women’s Board and the co-op staff were routinely drawn into disputes and away from broader community concerns. Their meetings were filled with lengthy discussions about members’ complaints leaving little time for discussing building related issues, City relations, upcoming federation events, and so-on.

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Client Profile: Humber Co-operative Development Corporation

May 23rd, 2019 by Iler Campbell

The Humber Condominiums is Options for Homes’ latest development on the market. Options calls The Humber “an affordable modern condominium surrounded by nature and convenience.” And we’re sure the condo on Wilby Cres. in Weston Village will be!

The relationship between Options and Iler Campbell dates back to the ’90s when Brian Iler helped the founder of Options establish a financing model that provides down payment support to purchasers, making home ownership affordable to people who mostly wouldn’t otherwise be able to get into the housing market. That was 25 years ago. Nowadays, the need is even greater. In addition to the benefits to purchasers, the model moves some renters into ownership, which frees up more space in a tight rental market. Over 3,000 new homes have been built using their innovative model, creating great communities of people living in quality homes that are more affordable.

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