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Our network of financial services cooperatives

A cooperative is a group of people who get together to meet their own needs at the lowest possible cost by forming a group where power is exercised democratically.

When you become a member of a cooperative, you become a co-owner and you earn the right to vote at annual general meetings. And, since cooperatives follow the "one member, one voice" principle, your vote carries the same weight as any other member's vote.

A cooperative's profitability is not its ultimate goal; it is a means to help it achieve its true goal, which is to continuously strive to serve members.

Values

The fundamental values of a cooperative are self-help, self-responsibility and responsibility for others, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. The members of a cooperative follow a strict code of ethics based on honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.

The cooperative movement in Quebec is more than:

  • 3,300 cooperative organizations and 44 mutuals
  • 8.8 million members
  • 88,000 jobs
  • $22 billion in sales
  • $158 billion in assets

In Canada, there are over 10,000 cooperative businesses in Canada, generating nearly 155,000 jobs and holding combined assets of $225 billion. They are owned by nearly 10 million members.

The worldwide cooperative movement counts nearly 750,000 cooperatives in more than 100 countries, with 800 million members, and jobs for 100 million people.

The 7 principles at the heart of organizing and running a cooperative

  • voluntary and open membership
  • the democratic exercise of power by members and their representatives
  • member economic participation in capital
  • autonomy and independence of the cooperative from governments and external interest groups
  • education, training, and information of members, officers and employees
  • cooperation among cooperatives
  • cooperative concern for the community

To find out more, visit the site of the Conseil québécois de la coopération et de la mutualité and the Conseil Canadien de la Coopération (sites in French only).

If you want to start a cooperative, it is recommended that you deal with experts who will provide guidance and advice. (sites in French only)

These 11 regional development cooperatives operate under the Fédération des coopératives de développement régional du Québec (site in French only).

In Canada, The Conseil Canadien de la Coopération (CCC), in collaboration with the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) and the federal government's Co-operatives Secretariat, created a national information and support network for people interested in cooperative development: Coopzone.

Useful links to help you start your own co-op

Conseil québécois de la coopération et de la mutualité (site in French only)

Conseil canadien de la coopération (site in French only)

Co-operatives Secretariat

Jeune coop (site in French only)

Coopératives jeunesse de services (site in French only)

Cooperation is creativity in action!

It creates partnerships and jobs and opens a door to the world. It generates debates and questions. It is a tool of democracy. In 1900, Alphonse Desjardins became a pioneer of the Quebec cooperative movement by creating caisses populaires. Cooperation is not a new phenomenon in this part of the country.

We don't always expect to find it in our daily activities but cooperation is alive and well, almost everywhere you look. The following is a list of 26 examples.

How cooperation works courtesy of Mes finances - Ma caisse magazine

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