Year Round Educational Events for Co-op Staff

Lana Nwaokoro
Manager, Oak Street Housing Co-op
Director, CoAction Staff Association

  • Stay up to date with legislative changes affecting the management of your co-op
  • Learn how to maintain aging properties in a financially reasonable way
  • Learn how to deal with the day-to day challenges that come along with running a co-op
  • Network with colleagues in the sector and learn from each other

All good reasons to take advantage of educational opportunities throughout the year! Here are several that I highly recommend.

PM Expo is Canada’s biggest Property Management Exhibition and takes place every late November or early December. It offers a variety of workshops on property management related topics such as Fire Code or Building Code changes, tendering for capital projects, managing capital projects, building envelope deficiencies, and how to minimize and manage the impact of capital repairs on residents. Workshops range between $50-150. Entrance to the trade show is free if you register early.  Watch their website for registration details.

It is a huge trade show that runs for three days with 100-150 exhibitors from every product and service that co-ops use. This is where to meet new contractors (especially when you need three quotes), learn about new services and products, and reconnect in person with contractors that you are working with.

The next PM Expo takes place December 4-6, 2019 at the Toronto Convention Center (conveniently accessed through Union Station).

PM Springfest is what I call the little brother of the PM Expo, offering a similar trade show and roster of seminars. It is a one-day yearly event, this year on March 27, 2019. Entrance is free if you register by March 15th.

The ONPHA Conference and Trade Show, put on by the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association takes place every late October or early November. This three-day event draws mostly non-profit housing providers, but is also a great resource for co-ops.

It offers a huge variety of workshops on topics such as property management, current developments in the social housing sector, governance, resident engagement and dealing with difficulties. There is a trade show on the first two days with 30-40 exhibitors, many from ONPHA’s Best Deals program, which is similar to our CHFT Cost Cutters program.

The fees are quite high and range between $400-$600 for the full attendance package which also include a gala with dinner and entertainment in the evening. Partial packages are available with special pricing for tenants of non-profit or social housing providers.

This year’s ONPHA conference and Trade Show will take place November 1-3 at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto.

Staff Education Forum

This annual event in Ingersoll, a tradition for co-op staff throughout Ontario, is organized jointly by the Co-operative Staff Association of Central Ontario (CSACO), the Co-ordinator’s Association of Southwestern Ontario (CASO), and the Co-operative Housing Co-ordinators of Hamilton-Niagara Area (CHCHNA).

The Forum provides two days of interesting workshops (maintenance and legal issues as well as work/life balance and survival tactics), a small trade show, group discussions on the day-to-day challenges of co-op work, a great keynote speaker, and lots of entertainment.

The unique location of the Elm Hurst Inn offers lovely accommodation and fantastic meals – and you can book a Spa session! For my money, this conference is the best value. It is not only a source of learning, but of wellness and inspiration as well. Meeting so many great co-op staff from all over Ontario with so much experience and devotion to co-ops makes me proud to work in the sector. I have a lot of respect for the volunteers who put the conference together every year.

It’s just around the corner on February 6-7, 2019. Send an email to or visit the forum’s Facebook page

In March 2018 CoAction and CHFT delivered their first joint Staff Education Event at the Oakham House, Ryerson University. It was a big success, offering a full day of workshops with topics such as Managing Capital Projects and Preparing for Board Meetings. A panel of experienced co-op coordinators spoke about working long term in housing co-ops and shared self-care advice. The event was a place to network and exchange ideas and experiences.

The next one is coming up on March 6, 2019. Come back to our site soon and watch your inbox for details.

As an accredited Property Manager with the IHM, I never miss the Foundations of Housing Annual Educational Conference in the spring.

The conference hosts interesting workshops in administrative and maintenance streams to offer something for everybody. A small trade show with 10-12 exhibitors is part of the event, a GMM for IHM members, a banquet in the evening with a dinner and entertainment, and a final day breakfast and keynote speaker. The event is 2½ days long. Although non-members are welcome, IHM members receive a discount. As the locations change every year the conference takes place in a hotel and accommodation is offered at a discounted rate.

The 2019 event will take place in Niagara Falls on May 2-3, 2019.

CHFT Education Days

Each spring and fall CHFT conducts a Saturday full of workshops that is attended by co-op board members and some staff. I enjoy these events because there is always something to learn. I can connect with Co-op Cost Cutters contractors and network with colleagues and co-op members from across the GTA. The last Member Education Event in November featured workshops such as: Cannabis in the Workplace, Workplace Violence and Harassment, and Conflict Resolution and Land Trusts.

For more information please visit:

CoAction Education Events

And last but certainly not least, CoAction hosts various half and full day workshops throughout the year. We welcome new ideas, so if you feel the need to learn more about a specific co-op related topic, let us know with an email to