Our Vision & Principles



A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.


Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.


The 7 co-operative principles are guidelines by which co-operatives put their values into practice. Here below are the 7 principles.

Voluntary and Open Membership

Co-operatives are voluntary organisations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

Democratic Member Control

Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary co-operatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and co-operatives at other levels are also organised in a democratic manner.

Member Economic Participation

Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their co-operative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the co-operative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing their co-operative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the co-operative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.

Autonomy and Independence

Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organisations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organisations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.

Education, Training and Information

Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders – about the nature and benefits of co-operation.

Co-operation among Co-operatives

Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

Concern for Community

Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.


Co-op Housing Vision

Our vision of who we are is also shaped by our commitment to give service of the best possible quality at a fair price. We define our commitment to serve through the aims that Canadian housing co-operatives hold in common.

We meet our members needs for the following:

    • Good housing people can afford through wise decisions at the time of development, an active membership, not-for-profit operation and assistance for low-income households
    • Security of tenure based on respect for members’ rights as joint resident-owners, fair application of by-laws, effective management, striking a balance between group and individual needs, and protection from the sale of the property
    • Safe and secure communities in physical design and in attention to domestic violence and other crime in our co-operatives and neighbourhoods
    • Control over our housing environment through educated decisions on budgets and governance, and resistance to undue intervention by government in co-op affairs
    • Community by means of co-op traditions that celebrate tolerance, mutual support and social, cultural, ethnic and economic diversity among members as a source of strength
  • Opportunities for personal growth through co-op education and our expectation that all members will contribute what they can to the co-op.
    • Involvement in our immediate neighbourhoods
    • Fair employment practices within co-operatives
    • Choices that respect the environment and demonstrate the principles of sustainable human settlements
  • Support for co-operative development in Canada and abroad.
    • Practicing stewardship, including responsible care of co-op lands and buildings, economical management, not-for-profit operation and the creation of land trusts


    • Lobbying governments for fair housing policies that work for all of us


  • Developing new housing co-operatives at home and abroad

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