The co-operative sector does not have the same framework or the same opportunities as companies making public offerings, for example, in terms of access to capital. Therefore, CMC is asking the Government of Canada to establish a federal co-operative investment plan, inspired by Quebec’s Régime d’investissement coopératif (RIC), to support the capitalization of qualifying co-operatives and federations of co-operatives that need equity capital for their development. 

 Established in 1985, RIC promotes the capitalization of co-operatives by granting, under certain conditions, a tax incentive for members and workers who acquire shares from a qualifying co-operative or federation of co-operatives.  

In Quebec, these shares cannot be offered to the general public and a potential investor is eligible only if they meet one of the following conditions: 

  • They are an individual member or employee of the co-operative. 
  • They are a partnership that is a member of an agricultural co-operative. 
  • They are an individual who holds at least 10% of the shares of the capital stock of a member of an agricultural co-operative (with restrictions). 
  • They are another eligible investor identified in section 9 of the Loi sur le régime d’investissement coopératif (Co-operative Investment Plan Act). 

The potential of a Canada-wide Co-operative Investment Program is well documented and was explored in March 2009 in a report produced by the Agricultural Co-operative Development Initiative (Ag-CDI), and funded by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, before the responsibility for the Co-op Sector moved to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED).