Canadian co-operatives should be able to access the right financing opportunities to help them achieve their goals and objectives. This includes all applicable Government of Canada business infrastructure or relief programs, as well as investment readiness, data infrastructure and social economy ecosystem programs.  

As such, Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC) works tirelessly to defend the interest of Canadian co-operatives and to increase their accessibility to diverse financing opportunities. 

For example: 

  • As part of COVID-19 pandemic programs, co-operative enterprises were able to access Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program to support businesses. Co-operatives serving vulnerable Canadians during the crisis were also eligible to the Emergency Community Support Fund and non-profit co-operatives were able to access the Community Services Recovery Fund. 
  • CMC was an ecosystem partner to facilitate access to the federal government’s Investment Readiness Program (IRP) pilot and 2.0, and is advocating for its renewal.  
  • CMC is collaborating with the Women’s Economic Council to accelerate inclusion in the Sector, as part of the Government of Canada’s 50-30 challenge
  • CMC and some of its Members are also involved in other activities aimed at raising awareness of of the sector and identifying potential funders. This includes the Sustainable Finance Forum, where over 600 industry and community leaders, elected officials and policy makers came together to advance the vital and powerful role finance can play to grow a sustainable and inclusive economy. 
  • CMC participated in a stakeholder consultations as part of the Business Development Bank of Canada Act. Although technically the BDC can support co-operatives, this type of client represents an infinitesimalminuscule portion of its portfolio. As part of the BDC Legislative Review 2010-2022 Review, a section on non-traditional business models featured co-operatives prominently and CMC will be working with the BDC to help it better serve co-operatives. 

CMC Members and sector stakeholders can approach CMC if they have eligibility questions. For example, CMC was able to “unlock” the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program, the CanExport SME Program and confirm the eligibility of co-operatives to the Community Services Recovery Fund, the Low Carbon Economy Challenge, the upcoming 2SLGBTQI+ Entrepreneurship program. Please note that the eligibility for the NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program is still being discussed 

If you are struggling with accessing funding programs or have been told that co-operatives are not eligible (despite meeting the other requirements), please contact Daniel P. Brunette, Senior Director, External Affairs at dbrunette@canada.coop.