Industry Canada to assume responsibility for co-operatives

A new partnership between co-operatives and the federal government

OTTAWA, Jan. 28, 2013 /CNW/ - Canada's co-operative movement is delighted with the federal government's decision to transfer responsibility for co-operatives to Industry Canada and looks forward to working closely with the government on improved access to capital and other issues.

In its response to the recommendations of the Special Committee on Co-operatives, the government affirmed its willingness to forge a new partnership with the Canadian co-operative movement. Its first step will be to transfer federal responsibility for co-operatives from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, where it has been for more than 30 years, to Industry Canada.

Canada's two national co-operative associations, the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) and the Conseil canadien de la coopération et de la mutualité (CCCM), had strongly urged the government to make this move.  Legislative and regulatory responsibility for financial co-operatives, such as credit unions and mutual insurance companies, will remain with Finance Canada.

The government also responded positively to other recommendations of the Special Committee, including efforts to highlight the strategic role co-operatives play in the Canadian economy and collaborate with financial institutions, the provinces and territories and other key stakeholders to offer business financing and capitalization to co-operatives.

"This represents the beginning of a new partnership between Canada's co-operative movement and the federal government," said Jill Kelly, president of CCA.  "It is a signal that the government recognizes the important role co-operatives play in creating jobs and supporting local economies across the country.  The government has put co-operatives firmly on the policy agenda, and we thank them for their positive response."

Marthe Hamelin, president of CCCM, reacted to the news by saying: "We are looking to build a new relationship with the Canadian government.  We now know that the government has been listening to us. With Industry Canada, we can work together to create an accurate portrait of the capitalization needs and opportunities of co-operatives, and possibly open the door to further actions in the not-too-distant future."

Go to www.coopscanada.coop to read the government's response to the Committee report.

Special Committee on Co-operatives

Created by the House of Commons on May 30, 2012 in recognition of the International Year of Co-operatives, the Special Committee on Co-operatives held five days of hearings in which they heard 46 presentations and received 60 briefs.  Its mandate was to study the situation of co-operatives in Canada and make recommendations for encouraging their development.  On September 17, 2012, the Committee completed its work by tabling a final report which made eight recommendations to the federal government.

SOURCE: Canadian Co-operative Association

For further information:

Donna Balkan
Communications Manager
Canadian Co-operative Association
Tel: 613-238-6711 ext. 206
Cell: 613-314-1032
communications@coopscanada.coop

Visit our website at www.coopscanada.coop

Michaël Béland
Director of Communications and Programs
Conseil canadien de la coopération et de la mutualité 
Tel : 613-789-5492 ext. 24
Cell: 613-265-7579
michael@cccm.coop

Visit our website at www.cccm.coop