Between late March and late April, caisses in Quebec and the credit union in Ontario organize their annual general meetings (AGM). The AGM is an opportunity for members to be heard and to vote on important issues. Here are all the advantages of participating in your AGM and exercising your democratic right to vote.
1. You participate in the discussion about member dividends.*
Unlike a private company, the cooperative nature of your caisse or credit union means it generates surplus earnings. Some of this money goes directly to eligible members in the form of an individual member dividend, while another portion funds flagship projects that create local spinoffs through a community dividend.
Members attending the AGM can share their opinion more specifically on the distribution of surplus earnings between member and community dividends. Each member has a vote, so the outcome of the vote is an accurate representation of the will of the group.
2. You decide who will represent your interests on your board of directors.
The board of directors ensures sound governance for your financial institution. If there are empty board seats, attendees at the AGM elect new board members to fill them. By participating and voting, you have a say in who will represent you during board discussions and decisions throughout the mandate. You can help ensure the board reflects your values as it works in your interest and in the interest of other members.
3. You make yourself heard and influence caisse or credit union decisions.
The AGM is an important event that fosters dialogue between members and the board of directors. It's a great opportunity to speak up and let other members know about the issues you care about.
Do you think your caisse or credit union could financially support a promising citizen-led initiative? What about a project that would benefit the entire community? Share your ideas!
4. You speak up about the projects that support in your community.
Education, health, the environment, the economy: many aspects of your community don't just need love, they need financial support, too.
What type of local projects do you think could truly transform your community for the better? How could your financial institution enrich the daily lives of families, youth, seniors, small business owners and vulnerable groups in the region?
Take advantage of the opportunity at the AGM to express your views on priority investments this coming year.
5. You get information about the financial situation and the financial commitments of your caisse or credit union.
During the AGM, the board of directors presents you and the other members in attendance with the financial results of your financial institution, and the projects it supported in your community through the Community Development Fund, as well as donations and sponsorships.
The AGM is an opportunity to understand the financial standing of your caisse or credit union and how it's active in your community.
6. You get answers to your questions.
Your board of directors makes decisions throughout the year to serve members and the long-term interests of the cooperative.
The question period at the AGM is an opportunity for you to ask the board of directors about specific decisions that were made. For example:
"Why did you make a change to the services available to members?
Why are surplus earnings higher this year?
How was the new location for a point of service determined?"
You'll be able to understand the reasons and the scope behind certain actions.
7. You get all that access… without having to take your slippers off.
Most AGMs are now streamed live. So you can participate and ask questions without being in the room. No need to be there in person to find out about past achievements, the current situation or future plans for the institution.
If you have a busy schedule and can't attend your AGM or watch the replay, you can still exercise your right to vote by taking just a few minutes in AccèsD, or by using voting terminals available in some of your local points of service. In the days following the AGM, you'll receive an invitation to vote on the distribution of annual surpluses earnings and on the election of board members, if applicable.
Keep an eye on your inbox to find out the exact date of your AGM. And look in AccèsD for the voting form so you can take advantage of a great opportunity to make your voice heard. After all, yours is as valuable as any other member's.
* For members in Quebec only. Members in Ontario don't vote on the dividend.