Recent research on the economic impact of the co-operative sector in Canada show that its activity contributes over $50 billion dollars to the Canadian economy and supports over 600,000 jobs.
Researchers George Karaphillis, Alicia Lake, and Fiona Duguid from the Measuring the Co-operative Difference Research Network (MCDRN) conducted economic impact analyses on the co-operative sector for the years 2009 and 2010. The results showed that co-operatives, credit unions, and co-operative insurance enterprises had a direct economic impact (GDP) of $22 Billion in 2010 – and, through indirect and induced spin-offs, this impact multiplies to over $54 Billion. This represented 3.4% of the total economic activity in Canada in 2010.
Further, nearly 270,000 full-time jobs were created in the sector and through spin-off effects, this activity supported over 614,000 jobs in many sectors throughout the country. Co-operatives between 2009 and 2010 also created jobs at nearly five times the rate of the broader economy.
The study was conducted based on the latest data available from Industry Canada’s annual co-operative survey, data on financial co-operatives via Statistics Canada, and the annual reports of the six main co‑operative insurance companies. A summary of the study is available on the project’s website and the papers are expected to be published in academic journals in the winter of 2015.
Denyse Guy, Executive Director of Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC), who is also the co-chair of the MCDRN, pointed out that the data was from a very important period where economic instability had a major effect on confidence and growth. “This is the first time that co-operative economic impacts have been calculated the same way as other sectors. The ability to compare this data during that time period is important.” stated Ms. Guy. “We are confident that with the right policy supports and strategies going forward, co-operative enterprises will continue to create jobs, prosperity and good social outcomes in Canadian communities.”
CMC is currently lobbying for Federal Government participation in a National Co-op Development Strategy that would substantially increase the economic impacts reported in the study. The co-operative sector is also investing in a capital fund that will make appropriate financing accessible to co-ops, a key solution to capitalizing new co-ops and expanding established ones.
With the federal election campaign well underway, it is important for co-operatives to make their voices heard and to advocate for co-operative solutions with candidates and their parties.
SOURCE: Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada