Co-operatives across Canada are celebrating Co-op Week

Oct 16, 2014
Message from the President

Co-operative and Mutuals Canada (CMC) are grateful for the work that the 9,000 co-ops and 18 million members in Canada put into strengthening our communities. We believe Co-op Week is a wonderful time to reflect on the social and economic impacts of co-operative and mutual enterprises and the role that they can play in continuing to develop sustainable business solutions.

Co-operative and mutual businesses are connected locally, nationally and internationally through their commitment to people centered values and principles. The International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) is mobilizing co-op businesses around the world to solve some of the most persistent economic issues we face. This campaign is called The blueprint for a co-operative decade which sets out a strategy to promote and expand the co-operative way of doing business.

The strategy focuses on three main areas:

Member participation: Co-op member owners are inherently more engaged because they govern through a collective model that serves their community. This business model is more relevant to collective community needs than corporate competitors serving the interests of distant shareholders.

A sustainable business model: local ownership creates greater sustainability because co-op leaders consider the economic, social and environmental impacts of their decisions.

Putting people at the heart of economic decisions: People closely associated with the community will make fairer decisions and consider more than just economic returns. They have the power to take a holistic view of their business and its impacts on the community.

In these uncertain times, while stock market investors are focusing on short-term profits, co-op member owners are instead focusing on investing in projects that will meet members and community needs over the long term.

Co-ops are more stable and anchored to their communities than traditional businesses and tend to survive longer in the market because of that. They run their organization by adhering to a set of values and principles that encourages fairness, solidarity, strong ethics, member participation, diversity, and long-term community benefits.

Help your community build a stronger economy by joining and supporting your local co-op.

Léo LeBlanc
President, Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada