Co-operative Principles

Woodsworth Housing Co-operative follows the international co-op principles. These are guidelines by which co-operatives put their values into practice.

1. Voluntary and Open Membership
Membership in a housing co-op is open to all who can use the co-op’s services and accept the responsibilities of being a member, without discrimination.

2. Democratic Member Control
Housing co-ops are controlled by their members. Each member has one vote. Housing co-ops give members the information they need to make good decisions and take part in the life of the co-op.

3. Member Economic Participation
Members contribute financially to the co-op and share in the benefits of membership. The co-op does not pay a return on the members’ shares or deposits. Instead it sets aside reserves for the future and charges the members only what it needs to operate soundly.

4. Autonomy and Independence
Housing co-ops are independent associations. They follow the laws that apply to them and their agreements with governments or other organizations. But the members control the co-op.

5. Education, Training and Information
Housing co-ops offer education and training to the members, directors and staff so that everyone can play a full role in the life of the co-op. Housing co-ops find ways to tell the public what they are and what they do.

6. Co-operation among Co-operatives
By organizing together in federations, housing co-ops grow stronger and help to build a healthy co op movement. Where they can, housing co-ops use the services of co-op businesses to meet their needs.

7. Concern for Community
Housing co-ops work to build strong communities inside and outside the co-op. They help to improve the quality of life for others and they take care to protect the environment.

CHF Canada, Vision 2020

More about co-ops in Toronto: CHFT

Legalization of Cannabis: Important Considerations for Housing Providers & Employers

An article from a Toronto lawyer in the co-op sector. September 14, 2018.

With the impending legalization of cannabis, we have received requests from a number of housing providers to assist in developing policies that deal with the use and growth of cannabis in units. We have also received requests from employers around policies that prohibit the use of alcohol and drugs in the workplace. While policies should be crafted to suit a particular workplace or residence, below are a few considerations that employers and housing providers should bear in mind when creating rules around cannabis:

No Smoking Policies: Unlike private landlords who are precluded from amending leases to include new terms without the tenant’s consent, co-ops and condominiums can introduce no smoking policies so long as those policies are approved in accordance with the by-laws and the governing legislation. Co-ops and condominiums looking to introduce a policy that prohibits the smoking of cannabis, or wishing to amend an existing no smoking policy to include cannabis, should consider whether the policy includes an exception for the use of medicinal marijuana. Housing providers have a duty to accommodate residents with disabilities to the point of undue hardship; a policy that includes a blanket prohibition on the consumption of cannabis may not hold up on the basis that it is discriminatory toward individuals who use medicinal cannabis, and breaches the Human Rights Code. This does not mean that there is an unfettered right for co-op members or tenants to smoke in their units; however, it does mean that the housing provider must take steps to accommodate a disability that requires the use of medicinal cannabis.

No Growing Policies: As of October 17th, it will be legal to grow up to four marijuana plants per household. A number of housing providers have expressed concern about the possibility of residents growing cannabis in their units. While growing cannabis is not (as yet) protected under the Human Rights Code, it is worth considering the basis for a ‘no grow’ policy. The limit on the number of plants means that the likelihood of damage to the unit as a result of heightened levels of humidity, causing mold, is low. There is also the practical consideration of how such a policy would be enforced. We encourage housing providers to carefully consider the rationale for establishing a policy that prohibits residents from growing cannabis, and the methods of ensuring compliance.

“Zero Tolerance” Drug and Alcohol Policies in the Workplace: Like housing providers, employers have a duty to accommodate employees with disabilities to the point of undue hardship. A policy that provides for termination in the case of employees found to be under the influence of alcohol or cannabis in the workplace could be discriminatory on the basis that it fails to accommodate employees who are required to use medical cannabis. While the courts have found that zero tolerance policies may be justified in safety sensitive workplaces, like construction sites, workplaces that are not safety sensitive should be wary of establishing policies that provides for automatic termination in the event that an employee is found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the workplace. As a starting point, employers who are introducing drug and alcohol policies at this time should distinguish between recreational and medicinal use of cannabis. Individuals who are required to use medical cannabis do not have an unfettered right to consume it in the workplace; however, employers are required to develop an individualized accommodation plan that takes into account the employee’s disability, unless it amounts to undue hardship. A well-rounded workplace policy might state that employees found to be under the influence of recreational cannabis or alcohol will be subject to a policy of progressive discipline. Policies can also prohibit employees from bringing cannabis into the workplace (unless it is for medicinal purposes). Such policies should be applied evenly, taking into account any individual needs for accommodation.

This summary is not intended to be legal advice. Any policies concerning the use and prohibition of cannabis in the context of housing or employment should be crafted to meet specific needs and goals. We at Iler Campbell have experience in developing such policies, and would be pleased to assist you.

Seniors’ fitness programs in Woodsworth

Updated:  August 30, 2018

Free programs in the co-op! Exercise programs designed for seniors (60 and over) and people with disabilities led by a qualified trainer on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the penthouse


3:30 -4:15 pm – Falls Prevention program – balance and gentle exercises. This  program includes an evaluation of balance. Maximum number of members will be evaluated but others can participate.

4:30 – 5:30 pm – Exercise. Chair and standing – More vigorous exercise.


3:00 -3:45 pm – Falls Prevention program – balance and gentle exercises. This  program includes an evaluation of balance. Maximum number of members will be evaluated but others can participate.

4:00 – 5:00 pm – Exercise. Chair and standing – More vigorous exercise.

One and two pound weights are available. No special gear except a theraband or similar may be required. No special clothing, just comfortable clothes that you can move in. No floor exercises!

The S4S contact for this program is member Carol Pasten.

Cannabis Legalization: What Social Housing Providers Need to Know

A webinar, presented on April 18, 2018
Speakers: Celia Chandler, Partner, Iler Campbell LLP & Brian Laur, Director, Insurance Services, Housing Services Corporation

You can hear about:
– the Canadian legislation, government plans and timelines for legalization
– the areas of obligations- human rights, tenant/member & buildings
– property management issues (community, property damage, costs and liability)
– property risk management implications
– practical measures for managing risk

This is a previously recorded webinar.