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CO-OPERATIVES AND MUTUALS

What Is a Co-operative ?

A co-operative is a legally incorporated company that is owned by members. Below are some examples of the types of co-operatives that exist.

Consumer Co-operative

Provides personal goods and services. Sectors : food, credit unions, shopping, housing, etc.

Producer Co-operative

Provides common goods and services. Sectors : agri-food, self-employed workers, consultant services, etc.

Worker Co-operative

Workers are owners and employees. Sectors : forestry, leisure, retail, tourism, etc.

Multistakeholder Co-operative

Group of workers and users with common interests and needs coming together. Sectors : home care services, recreation and tourism, local development, etc.

Worker-Shareholder Co-operative

Group of worker-shareholders who contribute to the management of the business. Sectors : manufacturing, high technology, etc.

What Is a Mutual ?

The term “mutual” is almost always – though not exclusively – used to describe insurance companies in Canada. In a mutual insurance company, the policyholder represents both the insured party and a participant in the business, which is like a co-operative.

Other types of insurance companies may be owned by external investors who risk their capital and reap profits. Mutuals return any excess revenue by lowering the cost of policies, which keeps the market competitive, or by investing in improving services or supporting their community, depending on what members decide.

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