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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Bill 21 allows tyranny of the majority to trump minority rights

September 27th, 2019 by Michael Hackl

This article was first published on rabble.ca

Earlier this week, Quebec’s Human Rights Commission released a 327-page report (a 32-page summary can be found here), documenting xenophobic and Islamophobic acts of hate. The commission found that crimes reported and classified as hate crimes have been on the rise across Canada over the past decade, and in Quebec the two most targeted groups in hate crimes reported to the police in 2017 were Muslims and Arabs (and 78 per cent of xenophobic or Islamophobic acts were not even reported to the police). Further, the respondents to the study had experienced an average of three xenophobic or Islamophobic acts, and 35 per cent of the victims said they had changed their lifestyle as a result of encountering acts of hate.

The report’s recommendations include taking steps to address systemic discrimination. Myrlande Pierre, vice‑president of the Quebec Human Rights Commission, stated: “Systemic or structural racism exists. Quebec is not exempt from this phenomenon.”

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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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Some positive steps, but more work needed to improve Canada’s prisons

August 29th, 2019 by Karly Wilson

This article was first published on rabble.ca 

If the allegations against American billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein were not alarming enough on their own, his story became even darker earlier this month when, on the morning of August 10, he was found dead in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York from an apparent suicide. His death dominated the news cycle, causing outcry across the political spectrum over the quality of the security at the prison, the frequency with which guards checked on his safety, and why he was taken off  suicide watch despite having an apparent attempt just weeks earlier. To those who have kept an eye on the American carceral system, however, this was a pretty typical day, just with more news coverage.

The varied and systemic problems with prisons in the U.S. are not new, and they are not improving. In the past year alone, the U.S. prison system has frequently been in the headlines, from investigations into the extreme violence in Alabama state prisons, to the weeks-long power outage this winter in Brooklyn, to the high-profile murder of South Boston mobster James (Whitey) Bulger during a routine transfer. Underfunded, filled-to-bursting from the effects of mandatory minimums in the war on drugs, and guarded by a handful of underpaid workers struggling to stay safe and make ends meet — the violence within U.S. prisons is as horrifying as it is unsurprising.

But what about Canada?

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Video: Community Land Trusts – everything you’ve wanted to know

August 9th, 2019 by Iler Campbell

Community land trusts – What do they do? How are they formed? How can you find out more about this type of organization to try to start one in your own community?

A video of Iler Campbell lawyer, Claudia Pedrero’s webinar on the topic is now online. In the webinar, Claudia goes over the community land trust model, and how this form of organization can, and is, being used as a grass-roots model for community stewardship of land and community assets. Drawing on her work both as a lawyer and a board member of a Toronto community land trust, she explains how community land trusts differ from non-profit organizations, and how community land trusts are presenting themselves as an alternative form of land ownership and management.

Download a copy of her presentation here.

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