Co-operatives in Canada continue to be important actors in Canada's social economy. The strength of the co-operative model lies in its ability to support local economies by revitalizing and sustaining communities through socially inclusive means. As legally incorporated organizations owned by their members, co-operatives exist in most sectors of the economy, and can operate as for-profit enterprises, non-profits and registered charities. The sector continues to generate a significant economic impact while making important contributions to communities across the country.
As an entrepreneur or business owner, you now have access to Co-operatives in Canada 2012, a collection of baseline data on the co-operatives sector collected by the Government of Canada. The report, now in its 79th edition, provides an overview of data collected in 2012, including statistics on co-operative types and ages as well as on co-operatives' distribution by geography and industry.
According to the report, almost 8,000 non-financial co-operatives, boasting nearly 8 million in membership, operate in the sector. Generating an estimated business volume of more than $38 billion annually, co-operatives provide employment for almost 90,000 Canadians.
In 2012, 42% (or 2,135) of all reporting co-operatives were classified under the Real Estate sector primarily as housing co-operatives. Wholesale and Retail were second (14%), followed by Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting (8%), and Health Care and Social Assistance sectors (8%).
Co-operatives in Canada are involved in a wide range of activities, ranging from manufacturing and processing to housing, daycare and health care services. The co-operative sector also has the potential to support a number of government priorities under the Government of Canada's Inclusive Innovation Agenda, including social innovation and social finance initiatives, a transition to a greener economy, and Indigenous economic development.
Whether you are currently part of a co-operative, or looking to start your own co-operative business, the report provides valuable insight into the sector as a whole, providing a unique national snapshot of co-operatives in Canada and allowing you to make sound business decisions based on latest available data.
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) is currently in the process of preparing open data tables for data collected in 2011 and 2012 as well as finalizing the data for the Co-operatives in Canada in 2013, which will be published in the New Year.
Thinking about starting a co-operative? Check out the Canada Business Network's past blog posts for useful tools and resources:
SOURCE: Originally published by the Canada Business Network, December 22, 2016. This guest blog is provided by Co-operatives Policy, which provides analysis, advice and support to promote co-operative business innovation and growth in Canada.