OTTAWA, March 23, 2016 – Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC) appreciates the growth-oriented budget tabled by the Government of Canada.  CMC welcomes investments announced to grow the Canadian economy; in particular CMC applauds investments in affordable housing and indigenous communities.

Although the budget has positive measures and investments to reduce poverty and inequality, we believe that co-operative solutions are not well represented.  Community economic development, co-operatives, and impact investing are not mentioned in the budget. Instead, the Government has committed to consultation with stakeholders on an Innovation Agenda to be unveiled later in 2016. This agenda must include community based co-operative solutions.

Jack Wilkinson, CMC President reacted by stating: “CMC sees important issues being addressed by the Federal Government in Budget 2016. Their objectives are very much aligned with the values and goals of the co-operative movement in Canada, and we are ready to work with the government to provide co-operative solutions that will help realize the Innovation Agenda.  Our development network and co-operative solutions in general, will prove invaluable in achieving some of the economic growth that the Government is hoping for.”

In particular, the following elements from the budget could potentially benefit CMC’s co-operative development networks:

  • Strengthening Innovation Networks and Clusters will make available $800 million beginning in 2017-18 to support innovation networks and clusters as part of the Government’s upcoming Innovation Agenda. We look forward to providing input into the development of the Agenda to the Department of Innovation Science and Economic Development.
  • Strengthening Canada’s Network of Accelerators and Incubators targets improving the growth prospects of young, technology intensive enterprises. CMC will work with the government to develop a performance measurement framework that includes consideration of co-operative start-ups and high growth potential sectors.
  • The National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program provides advisory services, research, and development project funding and networking. An additional $50 million has been allocated to the program in 2016-2017 to increase the number of enterprises served by the program’s Industrial Technology advisors. CMC will work to assure access to these services for co-operative enterprises and co-operative enterprise networks.

CMC and our established co-operative development organizations across Canada will lobby for an active role in the conception, planning and realization of the Innovation Agenda. Our co-operative economic development network exists in every region, urban and rural and works in virtually all economic sectors.

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For further information:

Brendan Denovan, Manager of Communications  613.238.6712 x206