Introducing ARC (Active Resilient Communities)

ARC is designed to support co-op communities think about their futures — to take time to discuss more than the day-to-day challenges. We do this by encouraging members to think about the kind of community that they really want, and then talk about how to achieve that. We bring in topic-matter experts, so that co-ops can make action plans that are grounded in reality.

ARC uses a variety of methods. We offer in-person and online activities — different ways to interact, including workshops and formal meetings. We also offer a website and a phone line to provide information and accept input from members. This means that members can be part of the process and have their voices heard, even if they cannot attend traditional meetings.

ARC has several modules including everything from visioning to implementation, and an optional annual refresher so that co-ops can reaffirm or re-calibrate what came out of the ARC sessions. Program delivery will be customized to fit each co-op community’s needs.

This comprehensive program is designed to be flexible for everyone. People with time constraints, limited childcare arrangements, shifting or remote work schedules, or health issues limiting access to communal spaces. All can benefit from virtual sessions and other activities that can be completed at their leisure.

Some of the various topics that co-ops could use ARC to explore include:

  • maintaining or increasing support for low-income households (without government assistance)
  • diversifying membership (seeing the larger community better reflected within the co-op)
  • improving environmental sustainability
  • partnering with organizations that provide services outside the co-op’s ordinary scope of activities
  • renewing co-op buildings and property
  • adding more homes to the co-op through infill or redevelopment
  • promoting options for aging-in-place
  • determining which model would work best to manage the co-op
  • working on reconciliation with First Nations communities


Over the years, the CHF BC group has tried to address a full range of member needs – adding group buying opportunities, management services, planning services, and land preservation – but work remained. How to help co-ops when it came time for them to make challenging decisions or have difficult conversations?

In the past, CHF BC and CLT both had success with various facilitation and engagement methods. These programs were the Co-op Compass and the Co-op Café (based on the World Café method). CHF BC had been exploring virtual means of delivering services with the hope of decreasing barriers to access and increasing engagement, but the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated those conversations.

Co-op Compass

The Co-op Compass service was originally developed for co-ops involved in CHF Canada’s 2020 Vision program, an initiative to make Canada’s housing co-ops stronger and ensure their viability after government programs were set to end. CHF BC had already repurposed the Co-op Compass beyond the 2020 Vision program to offer facilitated workshops to co-ops so they could develop a shared mission and vision and identify ways to achieve their goals.

The Co-op Café was offered by CLT to co-ops in its portfolio. The goal was to generate member feedback on specific decisions or conversations that the co-op boards had identified.  It consisted of a survey for the entire membership, from which the top four or five key topics about the decision or conversation were drawn for a World Café. Facilitators then compiled a report for the co-op from that facilitated discussion, allowing any future decisions to be directly informed by what the members had said.

The thought was that CHF BC could build on these successes by expanding the Co-op Compass into a larger program that incorporated expert advice, a focus on action and implementation, and facilitation methods aimed at generating engagement.

ARC’s Support

The development and piloting of the ARC program would not be possible without the Sector Transformation Grant, awarded to CHF BC from the Community Housing Transformation Centre. CHF BC is grateful for the Centre’s support.

ARC’s Pilot Program

The pilot phase of the ARC program began in November 2021. A few co-ops are testing ARC and providing valuable feedback, which will help refine and improve program content and delivery methods. At the end of the development and testing phase, ARC will be offered to CHF BC member co-ops alongside other education and support services. Furthermore, lessons learned by CHF BC during this project will be made available for use by community housing service providers across the country.

Please check our enews and social media feeds regularly so you don’t miss any updates on ARC!