We lend to and invest in co-operatives that are making a difference in their communities across Canada.
The selected examples below illustrate how we have worked with co-operatives to meet their financing needs.

Four Feathers Housing Co-operative

London, ON

Our work with Four Feathers’ Housing Co-operative facilitated the creation of 33 new affordable housing units for Indigenous community members of southern Ontario.

  • Target Community: Indigenous peoples
  • Sector: Housing
  • Product: Amortizing Mortgage

Early in 2012 Lloyd Stevenson, president of the Four Feathers Housing Cooperative board, discovered that due to a number of unforeseen circumstances, Four Feathers needed a second mortgage for their building in London, Ontario.

Mr. Stevenson looked into a number of possibilities but the rate of interest for second mortgages was prohibitively high.  He checked in with Tim Welsh Consulting of London, Ontario and, after some research, they were pleased to discover the Community Forward Fund.  They contacted CFF and started the loan application process. The loan with Community Forward Fund was assigned over to the Canadian Co-operative Investment Fund in 2018.

Mr. Stevenson stated, “I found the loan process straightforward and clear-cut. Working with the team at the Community Forward Fund was a great experience. We appreciate their assistance and their collaborative approach. We really feel we have partners in our endeavour and not simply a lender.”

Nora Sobolov, former CEO of the Community Forward Fund, noted, “We are pleased to support Four Feathers Housing Cooperative which will provide more affordable housing to the aboriginal community in southern Ontario.”

Four Feathers has a total of 33 units that provide affordable housing to aboriginal peoples in the region, supplementing a similar cooperative just two blocks away.

Four Feathers Housing Cooperative was move-in ready in the fall of 2013 and was aiming for 100% occupancy by November 2013. The loan with Community Forward Fund was assigned over to the Canadian Co-operative Investment Fund in 2018.

Sudbury Downtown Independent Cinema Co-operative

Sudbury, ON

Our work with Sudbury Downtown Independent Cinema Co-operative helped the co-op to bridge its capital campaign funding to retrofit an empty gymnasium into a state-of-the-art digital cinema.

  • Target Community: Sudbury community and filmmakers
  • Sector: Arts
  • Product: Bridge Loan

The Sudbury Downtown Independent Cinema Co-operative (Sudbury Cinema Co-op) was established in 2014 and aims to become Northern Ontario’s first cinema dedicated to festival-quality programming year-round. The co-op supports local filmmakers through screening their films and making the cinema available for post-production activities after hours; it engages the community by bringing in world-class cinema that would otherwise by-pass Sudbury and hosting out of town filmmakers to interact with the community and engage the next generation of Northern filmmakers.

The Sudbury Cinema Co-op recently secured an empty gymnasium and is retrofitting it into a state-of-the-art digital cinema with 180 seats. The Co-op held a successful capital campaign to raise funds for the retrofitting project but fell short of the amount of funding it needed.

CCIF was able to provide the Sudbury Cinema Co-op with a loan to bridge its capital campaign funding for leasehold improvements as well as to support its working capital needs.

The impact of having its own space dedicated to independent film means that Sudbury will now have access to the best in world cinema on a year-round basis. It also allows the Co-op to expand the number of film festivals and film series to help give voice and visibility to under-represented perspectives on the big screen. Sudbury Cinema Co-op will be launching #SamediCinema and #FirstPeoplesThursdays to support the work of francophone and Indigenous filmmakers, which, in turn, strengthens those communities. The new cinema will be a community space where instead of disappearing into a movie theatre, patrons will be engaged and part of discussions and a social component to the screenings, which could have an impact on social isolation. In addition, as many arts organizers and groups do not have affordable space for public performances or presentations, the cinema will serve as a new and accessible multi-arts purpose venue.

Sumac Community Worker Co-operative

Guelph, ON

Our work with Sumac Community Worker Co-operative helped the co-op to refinance its loans and improve its financial capacity to allow for future growth planning.

  • Target Community: Guelph community and surrounding areas
  • Sector: Food & beverage
  • Product: Amortizing Term Loan

The Sumac Community Worker Co-op wholly owns Planet Bean, a 100% organic and fair-trade coffee roaster that was established in 1997. The co-op has three coffee retail shops and also sells its coffee wholesale to over 200 commercial customers in Southern Ontario.

Sumac was looking to refinance three of its outstanding loans that were held with a traditional financial institution. They hoped to secure a fixed rate term loan in order to free up monthly cashflow and improve their financial and growth capacity.

CCIF was able to refinance Sumac’s debt with flexible and affordable terms to allow it to improve its monthly cashflows and start planning for future growth.

With its debt refinanced, Sumac plans to look into future growth opportunities, including the purchase of its own warehouse.

Fredericton Bouldering Co-operative

Fredericton, NB

Our work with Fredericton Bouldering Co-operative facilitated the creation of a new state-of-the-art bouldering gym for the rock climbing community of Fredericton.

  • Target Community: Fredericton community members
  • Sector: Recreation
  • Product: Amortizing Term Loan

The Fredericton Bouldering Co-operative (FBC) was created in 2018 in an effort to rally the local rock-climbing community and provide fellow climbers with a climbing gym that would replace the aging and soon-to-be-demolished university gym in Fredericton, New Brunswick. The university climbing community has over 400 members and has been operating for over 20 years.

FBC was very successful in raising money from the community and through private investments to support the construction of the new state-of-the-art climbing gym, however, there was a gap between what it raised and what it needed to cover the project costs.

CCIF worked together with FBC to structure a term loan that met their needs and covered the gap between the funds that were raised for the project and the remaining funds that were required to finish the project and to support the new gym’s first year of operations.

The new state-of-the-art climbing gym is nearly 3,000 square feet and will provide the Fredericton community with an upgraded bouldering facility seven days of the week. In addition to regular member use of the facility, FBC plans to support additional programming for youth and hold corporate events in the space.

Halam Park Housing Co-operative

Hamilton, ON

Our work with Halam Park Housing Co-operative helped them to complete an infill project adding an additional eight new semi-detached one-bedroom units to its existing 94 townhouse unit complex.

  • Target Community: Seniors, singles and couples
  • Sector: Housing
  • Product: Amortizing Mortgage

Halam Park Co-op needed to secure additional funding beyond the contributions from its current surpluses and a grant received from the City of Hamilton to build these new units.  The challenge faced was that the additional source of funding had to be an unsecured loan due to requirements under our current first mortgage.  Tim Welch Consultants were working with the co-operative on the project and suggested other alternative sources of funding at which time we contacted Community Forward Fund and began the loan application.

Kathy Dimassi, Housing Administrator, states “Without the loan and partnership with CFF, the co-operative would not have been able to move forward on the project and many members who were considered over-housed in their current units would have been forced to move out of the community.”

Halam Park Co-op now has 102 units including one-, two-, three- and four- bedrooms units within its complex and can accommodate all members as their families either increase or decrease in size. No one will have to leave the Halam Park Co-op community.

Alfred Haenchen Co-operative Homes

Waterloo, ON

Our work with Alfred Haenchen Co-operative Homes helped them to expand their existing affordable housing apartment building with a new two-storey, five-unit building.

  • Target Community: Low-income households
  • Sector: Housing
  • Product: Amortizing Mortgage

Alfred Haenchen Co-op was established in 1990 to provide subsidized housing to the community. Its housing community is comprised of 64 affordable units that are 2-, 3- and 4- bedrooms. In 2012, the co-op began exploring the opportunity to expand the size of the housing community. Alfred Haenchen was able to secure much of the funding and financing that it needed for the expansion project but it had a gap.

Community Forward Fund was able to provide Alfred Haenchen with a loan to fill its financing gap for the expansion project. In mid-2019, the loan was assigned to the Canadian Co-operative Investment Fund.

Alfred Haenchen Co-op was able to expand its affordable housing co-op by 5 new units and now has 69 units including two-, three- and four- bedrooms units within its complex as well as a small community centre/office. It can accommodate all members as their families either increase or decrease in size.

Inn Roads Housing Co-operative

Edmonton, AB

Our work with Inn Roads Housing Co-operative helped them to purchase 4 of its 6 properties and complete building renovations and upgrades.

  • Target Community: Low-income households
  • Sector: Housing
  • Product: Amortizing Mortgage

Inn Roads Housing Co-op was established in 1983 to provide affordable housing to the Boyle McCauley neighbourhood of downtown Edmonton. Its housing community is comprised of 5 homes that house approximately 25 people. In order to improve the co-op’s financial sustainability, it sought to purchase some of its homes. Inn Roads reached out to the Canadian Alternative Investment Co-operative for mortgage financing.

The Canadian Alternative Investment Co-operative (CAIC) was able to provide Inn Roads with a series of financing to support its various building purchases and renovations. In mid-2019, the loan was assigned from CAIC to the Canadian Co-operative Investment Fund.

Inn Roads Co-op was able to improve its financial situation by purchasing 4 of its 6 buildings and also performing some renovations and upgrades to the buildings. The Co-op houses approximately 25 people in its community of members.

Peg City Car Co-operative

Winnipeg, MB

Our work with the Peg City Car Co-operative facilitated the purchase of additional vehicles for its fleet.

  • Target Community: Winnipeg community members
  • Sector: Transportation
  • Product: Amortizing Term Loan

Peg City Car Co-op based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, was established in 2011 to provide the community with more affordable and environmentally-friendly transportation options. Peg City allows its members to live car-free or car-lite with all the benefits of occasional vehicle access. Peg City currently boasts over 60 vehicles and 2,000 members.

As the demand for its services increases, Peg City must grow its fleet of vehicles. Peg City was able to purchase additional vehicles for its fleet with the help of CCIF’s innovative financing.

CCIF has provided Peg City with two loans to help it purchase new vehicles for its fleet and continue accommodating its growth. Peg City first approached CCIF in 2019 for a loan to purchase 3 vehicles, which the Fund provided in fall of 2019. When needing additional financing for 3 more cars in late 2020, Peg City again approached CCIF for a new loan, which the Fund provided and the cars were all acquired by January 2021.

With more cars in its fleet and some improved financing rates, Peg City will be able to better serve its members (and non-members) and grow its business of providing more environmentally-friendly and cost-effective transportation options in Winnipeg.

Cooperative d’aliments naturels alina de rimouski

Rimouski, QC

Our work with Coop Alina provided the long term and working capital to the co-operative after its recent second expansion.

  • Target Community: Local consumers
  • Sector: Food & Beverage
  • Product: Amortizing Term Loan

Cooperative d’aliments naturels alina de rimouski (“Coop Alina”) is a consumer co-operative based in the university town of Rimouski, QC that was established in 1975. The co-operative’s mission is to offer its customers access to a wide choice of organic, natural and quality food and personal care products. Coop Alina expanded its physical presence in 2015 and again in 2019.

Although it completed its latest expansion, Coop Alina needed to refinance part of its debt for the long term and to provide for working capital.

CCIF worked closely with Coop Alina to structure a financing product that best meets its needs, which was disbursed in late 2020.

Coop Alina is in a stronger financial position to support its long term and working capital needs after its expansion and continue providing organic, natural and quality food and personal care products to its community in Rimouski.

Rendering for Maitland Street Development (CNW Group/Compass Nova Scotia Co-operative Homes Ltd.)

Compass Nova Scotia Co-operative Homes Ltd.

Nova Scotia, NS

Our work with Compass NS provided the financing needed for the co-operative to purchase the land on which it will build 57 new units of affordable housing.

  • Target Community: Underserved families and community members
  • Sector: Housing
  • Product: Bridge Loan

Compass Nova Scotia Co-operative Homes Ltd. (“Compass NS”) is a non‐profit co-operative created in 2016 by the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada (CHF Canada) to address the challenges faced by housing co-operatives in Nova Scotia and to explore opportunities for growth. Compass NS consolidated six existing co-operatives and is currently comprised of 76 affordable co-operative housing units.

Compass NS was seeking to acquire land through the Federal Lands Initiative to build a new affordable housing project centrally located in Halifax and comprised 57 units. The co-op received financing from CMHC to cover part of the land purchase for the project but had a gap in available capital to complete the land acquisition.

CCIF worked closely with Compass NS to structure a financing product that best met its needs and enabled it to purchase the land for its new affordable housing project through an interest only bridge loan that will be repaid from construction financing. The funds were disbursed in early 2021.

As a result of the CCIF loan, Compass NS has successfully acquired the project land and will be starting the predevelopment work for the project. Once complete the new project will provide 57 affordable homes to the community of Halifax. The majority of the units will be 2- and 3- bedroom affordable units to accommodate families.

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