Help Renew the Co-operative Development Initiative (CDI)

January 16, 2009

The Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet) is adding its voice to the many groups supporting the renewal and expansion of the Co-operative Development Initiative (CDI).

Canada’s national co-op associations are asking co-ops, members and co-op supporters across the country to join the campaign to renew and expand the Co-operative Development Initiative (CDI), a federal program that helps promote and develop new and emerging co-ops. As the Conservative Government and Mr Flaherty put together their economic recovery plan for the end of January, they need to be reminded that the Co-operative Development Initiative could play an important part.

CDI is a unique partnership program between the federal government, the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) and the Conseil canadien de la co-opération et de la mutualité (CCCM). It provides technical assistance and project grants to help co-ops get off the ground. 

In the first five years, the current CDI has helped create 200 new co-operatives, delivered advisory services to almost 1,500 new and existing co-operatives, and held more than 100 training workshops and 2,720 meetings with groups to explore the co-op option. • The Innovations & Research component funded 209 projects to help new and existing co-ops and study new ways of using the co-op model. • Since 2006, Ag-CDI has supported 60 value-added and bio-energy co-operatives. 

This program is scheduled to expire in March 2009, and the CCA and the CCCM have proposed a new and expanded CDI that would increase funding for advisory services, create a new co-operative loan fund where co-ops can access development capital, and continue providing project assistance. The new program would also continue the Agricultural CDI, which assists bio-energy and value-added agricultural co-ops.

We encourage you to write to Agriculture Minister, Gerry Ritz ( ), whose department is responsible for administering the program, as well as Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty (), and your Member of Parliament. Please do this before January 23, 2009. 

For more information on CDI and an electronic letter that will allow you to quickly e-mail your MP, visit