Archive for August 4th, 2009
Posted August 4, 2009on:
My name is Lindsay MacDougall and I am a CIEP Intern with the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada, Ontario region. My position is Program Assistant to the Manager of Government Relations as well as the Manager of Co-op Services.
The Ontario Region of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada is the voice of co-operative housing on matters that affect Ontario
co-operatives and their members. We exist to unite, represent and serve the community of housing co-operatives and member organizations. As such, my roles have been exciting and diverse, including members meetings, member concerns, government consultations and research of relevant funding and programs within the co-op housing sector, both past and present.
CHF Canada aligned with the Ontario region and local associations adheres to a very clear mission to:
1. Advance and defend the values and principles of our members.
2. Be the voice of the co-operative housing movement before the general public and the provincial government.
3. Promote the successful operation of housing co-operatives in Ontario, particularly those using provincial programs, by offering services to meet their unique needs.
4. Defend the interests of members, singly and together, by intervening as needed with the provincial government.
5. Manage the resources of the Ontario Region for the benefit of Ontario members.
6. Express the views of the Ontario members on matters of national concern.
7. Promote the growth of the co-operative housing movement in Ontario by mobilizing our own membership and by seeking support from the provincial government.
8. Inform the general public about housing conditions in Ontario and what co-operatives can do to improve them.
9. Ally ourselves with other Ontario organizations working for social and economic justice.
10. Take part in the wider co-operative movement within Ontario and promote its growth.
As a main priority, the CHF Canada and its Ontario Region continue to build strength and partnerships through adherence to the seven principles of international co-operation. Some examples of those principles in practice within the co-op housing sector include:
Principle #5: Education, Training and Information
Housing co-ops offer education and training to their members, directors and staff so that everyone can play a full role in the life of the co-op. Education ensures that we know what we are doing and understand the entire nature and benefit of our housing co-op. Ultimately good governance promotes the importance of education and training and making sure it gets included in the budget.
Principle #6: Co-operation among Co-operatives
As a federation we believe that organizing together is crucial in building a strong and healthy co-op movement, that is why we link as housing co-ops and build our movement by doing business and supporting other kinds of co-ops where it is possible. Mutual self help is a cornerstone of
co-operatives and in order to maintain our autonomy and independence we need to foster a network that can provide mutual support.
Principle #7: Concern for Community
Housing co-ops work to build strong communities inside and outside the co-op. From the beginning, co-operative values have included social responsibility and caring for others. The result of building strong communities has been the improvement in the overall quality of member’s lives and their communities.
I have recently graduated from York University with a Specialized Honours Degree in Global Political Studies. This internship has been an amazing opportunity, not only to learn about the co-operative movement but to learn from mentors that I consider longstanding, passionate and integral members of the movement. Ultimately, I wish to build a career in the co-operative housing sector, so that I may continue to expand my knowledge and contribute to the stability and growth of the co-operative sector as a whole.