The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry, announced in April that the Government of Canada has completed the transfer of responsibility for co-operatives to Industry Canada from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, which was a key recommendation in the report of the Special Committee on Co-operatives published last year.
"Co-operatives play an important economic role in generating jobs and growth in Canada," said Minister Paradis. "Responsibility for this sector is well aligned with Industry Canada's mandate to help make Canada more productive and competitive and improve Canada's economic and social well-being."
Work on co-operatives will continue at Industry Canada with a number of initiatives, including:
- assessing Industry Canada programs and services that are relevant to and accessible by co-operatives;
- advancing a cross-government network with other federal departments that have responsibility for co-operatives;
- developing an engagement strategy with provincial counterparts to build working relationships and increase understanding of the co-operative business model; and
- releasing Co-operatives in Canada in 2009, a report on the activities of co-operatives across the country.
Canada has over 9,000 co-operatives and credit unions with more than 18 million members. Canada's co-operatives employ approximately 156,000 people and own total assets of approximately $266 billion. Industry Canada is responsible for developing federal legislation for the incorporation of federal bodies other than financial institutions. The Department was already responsible for the Canada Cooperatives Act. Corporations Canada, which is part of Industry Canada, administers the Act and the incorporation of federal co-operatives.
"This change will ensure that there is a single focal point in government to facilitate development, innovation and growth in Canada's co-operative sector," added Minister Paradis. "Our Government welcomes the opportunity to engage with co-operatives and to further review our business programming to support co-operatives."
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