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Central Ontario Co-operative Housing Federation (COCHF) is a non-profit organization with a member-driven mandate.  Based on the international co-operative principles, our federated structure draws its strength from local housing co-ops forming a collective voice. COCHF services are provided upon request and are developed to serve our members’ needs.  The federation employs a staff-person to administer its services from its office in downtown Kitchener.  COCHF is financed primarily by members dues & use of services, and receives no government funding.

COCHF was founded by local housing co-ops to:

    Co-ordinate educational events and workshops to develop leadership/governance skills

   Share useful resources & information to benefit housing co-op operations

   Distribute news related to the housing sector and/or co-operative movement

   Offer tools to support good governance & sound business practices

   Represent housing co-ops to the public and to elected government officials

   Foster networking opportunities for co-ops to collaborate with other housing co-ops

COCHF members includes 37 multi-unit housing co-operatives and two student-housing co-ops, subsumed by:

  • 6 co-ops in Brantford
  • 7 co-ops in Cambridge
  • 7 co-ops in Guelph
  • 12 co-ops in Kitchener
  • 7 co-ops in Waterloo

Other sector organizations that are COCHF members include:

  • Co-op Staff Association of Central Ontario (CSACO)
  • Niagara Peninsula Homes
  • Homestarts Inc.

Our co-operative organization is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors that is comprised of:

  • 7 directors elected by housing co-ops
  • 1 director elected by the co-op staff association
  • 1 director elected by the member resource groups

Curious to know more about the sector services that are available to your housing co-op?  Invite us to your next members’ meeting and/or board meeting to discuss ways we can support housing
co-ops locally – Contact Us.

Co-op Housing Sector in Canada

CHF Canada is the national federation of housing co-ops representing co-ops from coast to coast.  Regional co-op housing federations and CHF Canada work together to co-ordinate their services and activities.  COCHF and CHF Canada have a Sector Membership agreement in place where housing co-ops that are members of COCHF and/or CHF Canada will also be members of the other organization. Click here to learn more about regional housing co-operative federations in Canada.

Central Ontario Co-operative Housing Federation (COCHF) Timeline

May 11, 1992

The federation is incorporated under the Co-op Corporations Act, and Mark Paul is hired as COCHF’s first staff-person & Managing Director.

1992:  Education & Training Services are launched.

1993: The federation’s core services are expanded to include the following: Meeting Chairing, Consulting, Central Exchange Newsletter, Government Liaison, CHIP Banking Program and Unit Vacancy Reports.

COCHF’s Logo from 1993 to 2007 

1998: Co-op Cost Cutters Group Buying Program is established under the leadership of Miriam Wohl (who centrally co-ordinates the program on behalf of 500 co-ops to this day!)

1999: COCHF goes online with the federation’s first website.

2000:  The federation starts to offer the Co-op Young Leaders (CYL) summer camp bursary to COCHF members.

2006: The 1st Annual COCHF Co-op Service Awards are presented to individuals who have been nominated by their housing co-op for making outstanding contributions.

2007:  COCHF Online Co-op Locator is launched to assist with promoting upcoming co-op vacancies to the general public, and to share housing co-op information with interested applicants contacting the federation office.

COCHF’s logo from 2007 to 2017 

2008: The federation creates the Online Contractor’s Listing for COCHF members to share recommendations & reviews about local contractors.

2010: COCHF creates a second staff position that was held by Judith Sainsbury, Elena Christy, and Naomi Cho respectively.

2011:  Judith Sainsbury, Member Services Co-ordinator, facilitates COCHF’s member needs/wants survey.  Following a meeting with each COCHF member, Judith summarized member feedback & service expectations in a thorough report that included establishing a methodology template for member consultation process(es).

2012:  The federation’s online presence receives a revamp with a new website & co-op locator, along with introducing COCHF to the world of social media – all engineered by Brian Eng and member services co-ordinator, Elena Christy.

2013: The Diversity Scholarship Program is introduced in the COCHF area, which is made possible from support of the CHFT Scholarship Fund.

Feb 2015: After 23 years of dedicated service, COCHF Managing Director, Mark Paul retired, and continued on as a member living at Country Hills Co-op.

2015-2017:  The federation is fortunate to have had Sabine Behnk as its Managing Director during a period of transition & significant organizational change.  Under her leadership, COCHF streamlined its strategy for considering to develop a new service, and established a system for tracking member service usage.

2016:  COCHF Annual Meeting includes a brainstorming session for the membership to discuss potential taglines for the federation.  At the 2016 October Budget Meeting, COCHF’s new tagline is announced, and reads as follows: “Building Strong Communities Together.”

2017:  Due to financial constraints, the federation returns to one staff position that is currently held by Naomi Cho.

Following the adoption of COCHF’s new tagline, our Board of Directors explored different ways to refresh the federation’s visual identity in order to give our new tagline the biggest impact.  After considering a variety of logo concepts, contemplating the objectives listed in our Articles of Incorporation, and consulting internal & external stakeholders, the federation announced its current logo in September 2017.

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