Participation By-Law #23



(passed Jan. 23, 1984 as By-law No. 11) Reconfirmed by members on September 30, 2010 as part of the adoption of the consolidated by-laws.

1. Each member shall participate in the operations of the Co-op by sitting on the Board or a committee, or volunteering time in some other area of the Co-op's operation. Each member will be expected to contribute an average of four hours per month.

2. Members will be required, upon joining the Co-op and annually thereafter, to list the activities and/or committees for which they are available.

3. Each member will normally give a minimum of one year commitment to the chosen participation activity.

4. Each year the Board will provide an up-to-date list of Approved Volunteer Activities, with provisions for members to make particular individual requests.

5. Members who have contributed an average of eight (8) hours or more a month may apply for a one year sabbatical.

6. A member may apply to the Board for exemption from this participation requirement for reasons of health or employment or others acceptable to the Board.

7. No member will be considered in breach of this policy if there are no volunteer positions open.

8. Breach of this policy will affect a member's status in the Co-op.

9. An Annual Survey of the Membership shall include an outline of "Implementation Procedures" as they exist at that time.

Consolidated up to April 2010 and adopted by the members on September 30, 2010.

Rules of Order for Meetings

Rules of Order adopted by Woodsworth Housing Co-Operative Inc, March 27, 1979

For most items of business, a decision by the General Meeting is required. Decisions come about as follows: the item is presented and a motion is made and seconded; the motion is debated, and possibly amended; and the meeting votes on the motion.

As each item on the agenda comes up for discussion, it is introduced by the Chair and/or a presentation is made by the sponsor. The sponsor may have a specific proposal for the meeting or, after some discussion, it may become apparent that the Co-op should make a decision about the item, in which case a motion should be proposed and seconded. Every main motion should be submitted to the Chair in written form. (This does not include Procedural motions.)

Once a motion has been made and seconded, it is debated by the meeting, with debate regulated by the Chair. Speakers must speak for or against the proposal and the chair may rule a speaker out of order if his or her comments are not relevant to the motion. All remarks should be addressed to the Chair, rather than any particular member at the meeting. Each speaker may only speak for five minutes or less at a time. At the discretion of the Chair, no person may speak more than once on the same item until all members present who wish to speak on the item have done so.

All persons desiring to speak must raise their hand until acknowledged by the Chair. The Chair will maintain a “speakers’ list” of all persons requesting to speak and will allow them to speak in order.

During debate on a main motion, amendments to the motion may be introduced. An amendment may delete part of the main motion, add to it, or change parts of it, but can not be contrary to the intent of the motion.

An amendment must be moved and seconded. If the mover and seconder of the main motion agree to the amendment, it immediately becomes part of the main motion. If they do not agree, a vote must be taken on the amendment.

Once the amendment has been moved and seconded, all speakers must address the amendment rather than the main motion. The Chair will keep a separate speakers’ list for the debate of the amendment. When the meeting is ready to vote on the amendment(s), the Chair will review all the amendments and then take a separate vote on each. Those that pass are incorporated into the main motion and debate continues on the main motion as amended using the main speakers’ list, until the meeting is ready for the vote on the main motion or another amendment is proposed.

Occasionally, a member wishes to amend a motion by replacing it with a whole new motion. This is not allowed as a valid amendment. However, the member may briefly outline the substitute motion and either ask the mover to withdraw the motion on the floor or urge the meeting to defeat it so that the substitute motion can be proposed.

The mover of a motion may withdraw the motion from the floor. This would be done if the mover has decided no decision should be made at this time, or to allow a substitute motion to be made.

During the debate of a main motion or an amendment, any speaker, in their turn, and other than the mover or seconder, may call for a vote on the question or “call the question”. This is an attempt to end debate on a motion and vote without allowing any more discussion. Because a motion to “call the question” may take away some members’ right to speak, it should be used carefully. Before proposing to “call the question”, there should be some indication that most members have made up their minds, and that speakers are not contributing any new arguments.

A motion to “call the question” requires a seconder and may not be debated. In order to be carried, the motion to “call the question” requires a 2/3 majority. If the motion is defeated, debate on the main motion or amendment continues. If the motion to “call the question” is carried, then the meeting is ready to vote on the main motion or amendment on the floor. The Chair should take the vote with no further debate.

During the debate on a main motion or an amendment, any speaker, in his or her turn, can move to “defer the question” to a subsequent meeting. This is an attempt to postpone a decision on the proposal on the floor until a future date or until after a specific action or decision has happened. A motion to “defer the question” does not need to be seconded. The mover, or if the mover declines, one other person may speak in favour of deferring the proposal, and one person may speak against deferring. A vote on the motion to “defer the question” is then taken. If carried, the proposal is deferred as per the motion. If it is defeated, debate continues on the main motion or amendment.

Members may only speak out of turn if they wish to raise a point of order or a point of information. To raise such a point, a member stands and with as much courtesy as possible, interrupts the current speaker or the Chair and announces that they wish to raise a point of order or information. The Chair may accept or reject such an interruption at its discretion.

If the Chair acknowledges the member, the point should be stated simply and briefly, and the member should sit down. A point of order should be raised when a member feels that an incorrect procedure is being followed, there is a better procedure, the Chair has made an incorrect ruling, or there is a lack of quorum. Once a point of order has been stated, the Chair will rule on its validity and, if appropriate, act on it. A point of information should be raised when a member feels that he or she has an important piece of information relating to the item under consideration that may save needless debate if it is raised immediately instead of at the member’s turn to speak.

The Chair may rule a motion out of order on the grounds that it is absurd, frivolous, obstructive, delaying or otherwise dilatory.


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.

Job Descriptions – Board, Committees and Representatives

1.  Board, committees with elected chairs and elected representatives

This is based on the  list of committees prepared for the elections of Board and committee members at the AGM in November 2017.

There is a list of non-elected committees – i.e. the whole committee is not elected including the chair – at the bottom of this post.

Additionally, you can see a list of committees and committee members (elected and non-elected) in the Member Directory.

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is the official body of elected or appointed members of Woodsworth Housing Co-operative, Inc. It is responsible for the overall governance of the organization. It represents the Co-op as the employer and financial decision maker on behalf of the Co-op and its members. There are seven (7) elected members. Each elected member fills one of the directorial positions. The seven (7) Board positions are as follows:

Usually the President chairs the Board meetings and the GMMs; however, alternating the chair, especially at the GMMs, is quite appropriate. The President is a non-voting member of the Board unless his/her vote is required to break a tie vote. The President is usually one of four signing officers for the Co-op.

Usually only in the absence of the President, the Vice-President chairs a Board meeting, chairs a GMM, or fulfills all of the President’s functions. He/she is usually one of the four signing officers of the Co-op.

The Treasurer works with the Finance Committee and the Property Manager with respect to the financial statements, budgets and audit. The Treasurer is usually one of four signing officers for the Co-op. The Treasurer is usually the Liaison to the Arrears Committee and is a voting member of that committee.

Corporate Secretary
The Corporate Secretary receives all incoming Board related correspondence either by email or the 2nd floor Board mailbox.
The Corporate Secretary acknowledges all correspondence that is directly sent to the Board of directors.
The Corporate Secretary responds to correspondence as directed by the Board of Directors.
The Corporate Secretary is one of the four signing officers for the Co-op.

Property Manager Liaison
The Property Manager Liaison is the liaison between the Board and management and members who have issues with management. The Property Manager Liaison works with the Property Manager on behalf of the Board of Directors and the Co-op and its members. It is important to note that the Liaison does not work independently but always consults the Board or the Manager whichever the circumstances. The Liaison ensures that the Board is kept current with any pertinent information.

There are two Directors-at-Large. They serve the same as the other Board members with responsibilities to their respective committees as liaison.

Arrears Committee

The purpose of the Arrears Committee is to work with members who have fallen into arrears through non-payment or persistent late payment. The office has tried to work with these members to facilitate a positive outcome but has not been able to achieve a successful resolution.
The Arrears Committee meets with a member to arrange payment agreements if the member does not fulfil the agreed upon obligations to the Co-op. The Arrears Committee will make appropriate recommendations to the Board of Directors.
The Committee consists of four (4) elected members and one Board Liaison, who is a non-voting member, as well as the Treasurer, who is a voting member.
Serving on this Committee is rewarding, in that you can help members who may be in distress because of unforeseen circumstances.
Arrears issues are strictly confidential.
The Arrears Committee meets when required.

Archives Committee Chair

The Archives Committee Chair is elected to chair a committee of non-elected members. The purpose of the committee is to ensure that the history of Woodsworth Co-op is preserved by filing the past documents, records, etc. of Woodsworth from its inception to the present. The filing system has been previously set up (not, however, kept up-to-date). The records need constant updating for the archives system to work effectively. Members’ confidential information is not filed in the archives by this committee. The Committee Chair is elected for a 2-year term.

Co-op Management Committee

The Co-op management Committee conducts appropriate confidential surveys, prepares reviews, overseas projects, and submits recommendations to the Board and Membership for changes regarding property management and maintenance policies, practices and contracts..

Job Description
The Committee consists of three (3) elected members and the Property Management Liaison, who is a non-voting member of the Committee.
Because of the sensitive nature of the Committee’s work, its members are required to sign a confidentiality agreement.
The Committee, on a continuing basis, reviews property management policies and practices for the purposes of

Developing initiatives to standardize efficient and effective property management policies and procedures

Providing a forum that fosters the exchange of effective property management policies and procedures

Identifying, publicizing and promoting changes to policies, procedures, and other property management initiatives

Encouraging meaningful performance measurement and enhanced customer service in the interest of good property stewardship.

Directory Committee Chair

The Directory Committee Chair is elected to chair a committee of non-elected members. The purpose of this committee is to create and maintain an annual Woodsworth Co-op Housing Directory. The Committee Chair is elected for a 2-year term.

Editorial Committee Chair

The Editorial Committee Chair is elected to chair a committee of editors of the Woodsworth Weekly who are non-elected members. The Weekly has been publishing since 1979.

The Chair as well as other editors are available to all editors for advice through an online email group. This is in order to ensure the Newsletter By-Law and editorial policies are adhered to, and to facilitate smooth production of the Weekly each week.

The Chair and editors receive most of the content for the Weekly through a co-op email account, accessible through the web on their personal or co-op member computer.

The Chair ensures that the Weekly has been posted on the co-op website.
The Chair liaises from time to time with Production Team who photocopy and oversee delivery of the print edition of the Weekly.

The Chair creates a roster for the editors who alternate weekly to prepare the Woodsworth Weekly newsletter for reproduction and distribution. The Chair is normally included in the roster as n editor. The Committee Chair is elected for a 2-year term.

Election Committee Chair

The Election Committee Chair is elected to chair a committee of non-elected members.

The purpose of this committee is to co-ordinate elections in the Co-op. It arranges and oversees the annual elections, as well as any by-elections for the Co-op. It advertises and promotes elections to ensure the participation of members and potential candidates. It is responsible for democratic elections within the Co-op. The Chair of the committee maintains the records of all annual and by-election results, as well as the term records of the Board of Directors and Membership Committee members as outlined in the Organizational By-Law.

The Committee is responsible for ensuring that proper procedures are followed. The Committee Chair is elected for a 2-year term.

Finance Committee Chair

The Finance Committee Chair is elected to chair a committee of non-elected members. The purpose of the committee is to review the monthly financial reports and report any error or omissions to management. It assists the Board of Directors in understanding the finances of the Co-op. It also works with the Co-op manager to prepare the annual operating and capital budgets. The Chair often prepares a forum to assist members to understand upcoming budgets prior to voting on them. The committee works in conjunction with the Treasurer at each meeting. The Committee Chair is elected for a 2-year term.


Maintenance Committee Chair

Two co-chairs are elected for two years for the Maintenance Committee to chair a committee of non-elected members. The purpose of the committee is to assist the Co-op members, Board of Directors, and management with maintenance issues, as well as research special projects or special requirements in units including drawing up Co-op specifications, overseeing the Preventive Maintenance Plan, working with the Management on move-outs/move ins, planning for unit inspections, etc. The committee is required to handle any maintenance projects that require research and to provide recommendations to the Board of Directors. The committee usually communicates with management and other committees, such as the Finance Committee, as required.

Click to see the full Maintenance Committee Operating Guidelines.

Membership Committee

The purpose of this committee is to ensure the established processes, by-laws and policies are complied with for processing new memberships and applications for membership from Long-Term Guests. This committee also arranges interviews with prospective new members, coordinates with the office regarding internal and external move-ins as well as move-outs, updates the Membership By-Law as required, prepares the annual membership survey, makes recommendations to the Board of Directors regarding all of the above and holds information sessions for new and prospective members as required.

The Committee consists of nine (9) elected members who meet once a month.


The PIPED officer is elected to ensure that Woodsworth is in compliance with the Privacy Act. It is important for the PIPED officer to familiarize him/herself with the Privacy Act and the duties and responsibilities of the PIPED officer to better serve the Co-op and its members. The PIPED officer may meet with any member who feels that his/her privacy is being jeopardized by the Co-op. The PIPED officer cannot hold any other elected or non-elected position in the Co-op during his/her tenure as PIPED officer. All privacy issues are strictly held in confidence by the PIPED officer. The PIPED officer is elected for a 2-year term.

Reconciliation Committee

The purpose of this committee is to help members resolve grievances through mediation usually after all parties have been unsuccessful in trying to work out problems themselves. The Committee meets only when there is a member grievance issue to resolve. The Committee also ensures that the Reconciliation By-Laws are still current and adequate. There are six (6) elected members. Serving on this committee can prove to be rewarding in that you would be helping members to resolve their differences to maintain and encourage harmony throughout the Co-op.

Social Committee Chair

The Social Committee Chair is elected to chair a committee of non-elected members. The purpose of the Committee is to organize entertainment throughout the year for the membership. In the past, the committee has hosted Bingo nights, brunches, summer barbecues, children’s Easter Bunny hunts and Christmas parties, international nights, and, of course, the regular get-together for refreshments after the GMM meetings and the spring and Annual Clean-ups.

All functions are usually held in the penthouse and enjoyed by all members and, occasionally, their guests. There are many regular non-elected members on this Committee, whose contribution and dedication have made these events a success.

The Committee’s Chair is responsible for organizing events to bring members together to maintain harmony in the Co-op and to bring his/her own ideas or carry on past successe

Representatives on Community and Sector Organizations

SLNA Delegates

There are three (3) elected SLNA delegates who represent Woodsworth Co-op. All three delegates are required to attend the regular monthly SLNA meetings and may wish to become more involved by joining one of its standing or ad hoc committees.[Please refer to the website for the range of possibilities.]

It is important that Woodsworth membership is kept informed about community issues, crime prevention, proposed new developments, community events and activities, etc. This is achieved by forwarding relevant SLNA emails to the Woodsworth Weekly and posting announcements on the seven co-op bulletin boards as well as picking up material available at the monthly SLNA meeting. Delegates should have a genuine interest in the St. Lawrence neighbourhood community and a desire to ensure Woodsworth Co-op representation.

CHFC Delegate & Alternate for the Conference

Each year two (2) members are elected as delegate and alternate to attend the Annual Co-op Housing Federation of Canada’s Conference. The Annual Conference is held in a different city throughout Canada. Delegates and alternates have traveled from as far as Halifax, Nova Scotia, or Victoria, B.C. or as close as Toronto or Hamilton to attend the conferences.
Travel arrangements are paid for by the Co-op, which include the cost of travel plus hotel accommodations for the 4-day conference. Both the delegate and alternate attend the conference. However, this is not a holiday; it is work with a very heavy schedule.

Prior to attending the conference, both the delegate and alternate are required to attend an information meeting held by CHFT in Toronto to discuss the upcoming conference and the resolutions.

While at the conference, the delegates are required to attend all of the workshops and seminars they have selected and are expected to attend the Meet the Candidate debate sessions (mandatory if there is one), the Ontario Members’ Meeting and the National Business Meeting in order to vote for the candidates who govern CHFC. “You’ll have your say, debate policies, consider budgets, elect directors, vote on resolutions, and much more.” The delegate and alternate also select different workshops to benefit the Co-op.

Upon returning home, the delegate and alternate are required both to provide a written report of the information they acquired (or what they learned) to the membership via The Weekly and a copy of the report to the Board of Directors but not at the GMM as has been done recently.

2018:  The 2018 Annual CHFC Conference: Victoria, British Columbia, from Wednesday, June 6 to Saturday, June  9, 2018.

2019:  The 2019 Annual CHFC Conference will be held in London, Ontario from Wednesday June 5 until Saturday June 8, 2019.

CHFT Delegate and Alternate

To represent Woodsworth Co-op at CHFT meetings and to bring back news from the 
Co-op Housing sector to the membership.
The Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto (CHFT) is a member-supported organization representing more than 45,000 people living in more than 160 non-profit housing co-operatives located in Toronto and York Region.

Occasional meetings are held at Ryerson – Oakham House/ Student Centre, 55 Gould St.

2. Other Committees – non-elected:

Block Representatives
Bylaw Committee
Lobby Display Box
Strategies for Staying (S4S)
Five-Year Capital Plan Group (President, the Treasurer, and Maintenance Committee Chair, according to 2017-05-03, meeting #20, Board minutes)

Great Elections: a CHFC workshop 2017

The purpose of board elections; how to have successful elections; the role of board and staff in elections; recruiting candidates.


Currently these are the qualifications for Directors in Woodsworth, as set out in the Organizational By-Law, Article IV (3).

  •  member of the Woodsworth Co-op Housing;
  • 18 years of age or older;
  • mentally competent;
  • not an employee of Woodsworth Co-op;
  • not presently in undischarged bankruptcy;
  • not in arrears with the co-op; or adhering to repayment plan as agreed with the Co-op; and
  • not in default under the Occupancy Agreement (including minimum participation requirements defined therein), or any other contractual agreement with the co-op.


Election Procedures

While our current by-laws don’t give a lot of details about specific procedures, the Ontario Co-operative Corporations Act (principally Sections 90 and 91) covers elections. And we must follow that legislation. (We do have procedures we have used since the very beginning, based on the legislation. See below.)

Article III of Woodsworth’s current Organizational By-Law says:

14. Voting: A member of the Cooperative has only one (1) vote. All questions proposed for the consideration of the members at a meeting shall be determined by a majority of votes cast and the Chairman presiding at the meeting has a second or casting vote in the case of an equality of votes.

And Article IV of our current Organizational By-Law says:

6. Election and Removal:

(a) Directors shall be elected yearly by the members in general meeting by ballot…Every member entitled to vote at an election of directors, if he votes, shall cast thereat a number of votes equal to the number of directors to be elected, and the member shall distribute the votes among the candidates in such a manner as he sees fit, but no candidate shall receive more than one (1) vote from each member.

And Article IV, Section 3 outlines the qualifications for directors. The Co-operative Corporations Act says the same in 89 (1-2).

There is more detail about election processes in the Co-operative Corporations Act (Ontario).

Candidates must be there or must have agreed to run for election:

Section 89, Consent
(3) A person who is elected or appointed a director is not a director unless,

(a) the person was present at the meeting when he or she was elected or appointed and did not refuse at the meeting to act as director;

(b) where the person was not present at the meeting when he or she was elected or appointed, the person consented to act as director in writing before his or her election or appointment or within ten days thereafter. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.35, s. 89 (3).

Who can vote and how:
91 (1) is the same – vote for the same number of members as there are vacant spaces and no more than one vote for each candidate by a member.

You must be there to vote, since we are a non-profit housing co-operative:

Meeting by electronic means
(3) If the by-laws of a co-operative, other than a non-profit housing co-operative, so provide, a meeting of the members of the co-operative may be held by telephonic or electronic means and a member who, through those means, votes at the meeting or establishes a communications link to the meeting is deemed for the purposes of this Act to be present at the meeting. 2009, c. 34, Sched. F, s. 1.

76 (1) A member of a co-operative has only one vote. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.35, s. 76 (1).

Election of directors
90 (1) The directors shall be elected by the members in general meeting, and the election shall be by ballot in the manner prescribed by section 91.

Voting for directors
91 (1) Every member entitled to vote at an election of directors, if the member votes, shall cast at the election a number of votes equal to the number of directors to be elected, and the member shall distribute the votes among the candidates in such manner as the member sees fit, but no candidate shall receive more than one vote from each member. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.35, s. 91.

Proxies prohibited
(2) Subject to subsection (3), no member of a co-operative shall vote by proxy. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.35, s. 76 (2).

Woodsworth has a procedure that the co-op and the Elections Committee has been using for years, based on the Ontario legislation and on our by-laws. This has been working well since our first elections in 1979.

The good news is that the model Organizational By-Law currently being reviewed by the By-Law Committee puts all of this in clearer and friendlier language!

Election Procedures (1998 version)

1.  Returning Officer


2.  ballots:there should be someone at the door to give out ballots to all members.


3.  Give members an overview of election procedure

–  members should have ballots and the candidate profiles of declared candidates

–  ballots were picked up at the door

–  latecomers will be given ballots only for those positions that have not been voted on already

–  some members have already agreed to stand for election

–  meeting  will be accepting nominations from the floor for the Board and for each committee

–  members will be given an opportunity to read  or re-read the candidate profiles from previously declared candidates before  marking ballots

–  members will be given an opportunity to mark ballots for each committee before the next nomination

–  ballots will be deposited in the ballot boxes at the end of the whole election

– in other words, after members have marked ballots, keep it until we are finished electing all the committees and the Board.


– no proxy voting is allowed

– you can put the first name or last name

– names are written for the members, if possible

– MEMBERS MUST CHOOSE AS MANY NAMES AS THERE ARE POSITIONS OPEN.  For example, you must choose five names for the membership committee this year.

– each name must appear on your ballot only once.

– if you do not choose the full number of names to fill the positions on the committee, your ballot will be spoiled and not counted.

– ask “Are there any questions?”


– do 1 committee at a time – use the order below, not the order on the agenda

– read out the names of those already running for that committee – tell how many are needed

– tell them which slip is to be used

– emphasize the colour and repeat everything slowly

– call for nominations from the floor

– call slowly three (3) times

– if anyone is nominated, ask if the person agrees to stand

– if the person nominated is not there and there is no written agreement to stand, the name cannot be accepted.

– if the person agrees to stand, the name will be added to the chalkboard list

– after 3 calls, declare nominations for the ————————— (committee) closed.


Acclamation –

If the number of candidates matches the number needed, no election is held – the candidates are acclaimed.  NOTE: if one position is for 1 year, the elected candidates themselves will decide who will be the 1 year person.

If an election is necessary –

– ask the candidates to come to the front

– introduce them slowly so that members can put familiar faces together with names

– give the members time to read any blurbs.

– ask the candidates if they wish to speak for up to 1 minute.

Board members will speak or read their blurb for up to 2 minutes.

– there should be a time keeper for speakers.

– remind them about spoiled ballots and the correct colour

– remind them which committee they are voting for now

– give them enough time to read and write the names – make sure they know the names of the candidates

– get a sense if they are finished, then go on to the next committee

– ballots are collected at the end of the elections

6. Finishing up

– ASK FOR A MOTION TO DESTROY THE BALLOTS IN 24 hours.  (after the meeting, someone responsible (not a candidate) should take charge of the ballot boxes.  SECONDED AND VOTE.

– AT THE END OF THE ELECTION, give them a few minutes to put the ballots in the boxes.

– Ask for volunteers to count (not candidates) and go to another room with the ballot boxes.


– successful candidates will be listed alphabetically without any indication of the number of votes for each candidate

– ballots will be kept for 24 hours before they are destroyed


– normally results are announced at the get-together after the meeting.