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COOP Committee News Release

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Special Committee on Co-operatives
House of Commons / Chambre des communes
Comité spécial sur les coopératives

For immediate release


House of Commons Special Committee on Co-operatives presents report

Ottawa, September 17, 2012 -

The Chair of the House of Commons Special Committee on Co-operatives, M.P. Blake Richards, presented Parliament with the Committee’s report, entitled “Status of Co-operatives in Canada”, September 17.

The Committee was created to study policy alternatives regarding the co-operative sector following the unanimous approval of a supply day motion in the House of Commons.

“The sheer number and size of Canadian co-operatives make their impact on the economy indisputable. Co-operatives have proven remarkably resilient, and they are a key contributor to Canada’s economic recovery,” said Richards. The Committee’s final report features eight specific recommendations, including:

• That the Government of Canada highlight the strategic role that co-operatives play in our economy by educating government employees in all departments, especially those in regional development offices, and the general public on the nature and benefits of the co-operative business model;

• That Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation support housing co-operatives by continuing to provide reasonable mortgage and refinancing services;

• That the Government of Canada explore the feasibility and cost of allowing Canadians flexibility to invest RRSP funds in co-operatives;

• That the Government of Canada work closely with regional economic development agencies to highlight the importance of co-operatives to Canadian economic development so that they can promote the co-operative business model along with other business models, and to ensure their officers have a clear understanding of how co-operatives are supported through existing federal programs and can promote such programs to co-operatives and entrepreneurs;

• That the Government of Canada review the issue of capitalization of co-operatives, including its causes, effects, and potential solutions;

• That the Government of Canada, in consultation with provinces, territories, and the co-operative sector, review the Canada Cooperatives Act to determine whether updates are advisable;

• That the Government of Canada study the possibility of consolidating the responsibility for co-operatives under a suitable department, such as Industry Canada;

• That the Government of Canada continue to reduce the red tape burden for co-operatives and businesses.

The Committee’s report is available online at

The House of Commons Special Committee on Co-operatives included a dozen Members of Parliament from all parties, heard testimony from 46 organizations and received more than 60 written submissions from stakeholders in the co-operatives sector.

“All the members of this committee worked hard over the summer, taking time away from their families and constituencies to make sure this important work was completed,” said Richards. “I would like to thank them, as well as the witnesses who made themselves available to inform us. I am confident the recommendations of this committee will serve to advance the national understanding of co-operatives and provide a solid basis for policy going forward.”

There are currently more than 9,000 co-operatives active in Canada, employing 155,000 workers and generating more than $50 Billion in revenue annually. The United Nations has declared 2012 as the International Year of Co-operatives.

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For more information, please contact:
Paul Cardegna, Clerk of the Special Committee on Co-operatives
Tel: 613-944-4364