The spring of 2020 will go down in history. No matter how you spend your time, all our lives were turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic that has devastated the entire world. Health networks were overwhelmed, and the economy suffered greatly: the downturn, the many cancelled projects, job losses, government help, and increased public debts made headlines.

While all signs indicate that it will take many years to recover from this crisis, certain businesses were able to surf this giant wave in order to lessen the economic consequences of such a global shock. In fact, due to their sheer numbers and durability, co-operatives were able to continue their activities in spite of the storm.

Remarkably, during this pandemic, co-operatives supported each other by exchanging services and contracts. This trust between co-operatives allowed them to ensure the continuation of activities during this very critical situation.

By supporting each other this way, co-operatives once again confirmed that their sustainability is one of their strengths and that they can face challenging economic shocks. Sure enough, co-operatives have a much higher survival rate than traditional businesses. After five years, 62% of co-operatives are still active compared to 35% of traditional businesses. After ten years, the gap widens to 44% for co-operatives versus 20% for traditional businesses .

In sum, the co-op model is a strong, solid model whether economic conditions are good or bad. Thanks to this model, thousands of people were able to benefit from health services during the crisis. There’s no doubt that Canada’s economic development must include an increasing proportion of co-operatives!

*MINISTÈRE DU DÉVELOPPEMENT ÉCONOMIQUE, DE L’INNOVATION ET DES EXPORTATIONS, Taux de survie des coopératives au Québec, [En ligne], 2008, p. 4.