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Co-op Legislation

Co-operatives are incorporated under the BC Co-operative Association Act. An online version of the British Columbia Co-operative Association Act (1999) can be viewed here. Anyone wishing to purchase a copy of the Co-operative Association Act should contact Crown Publications Inc. directly.

The BC government also publishes a wonderful guide to incorporation called Incorporating a Cooperative Association in British Columbia that outlines the process for filing your incorporation documents and identifies what you are required to include in your Memorandum of Association and Rules. The Guide also provides some sample language for key provisions.

Model Rules are available in Schedule B of the Co-op Regulations, available here in Word format for ease of cutting and pasting. Note that the Model Rules do not include all the sections you may want to include in your co-op's Rules. For example, they don't contain Rules relating to Community Service Co-ops.

Community Service Co-ops

With the passing of the 2007 amendments, non-profit co-ops can incorporate as "Community Service Co-ops", which have the same status in law as non-profit societies including eligibility for charitable status where applicable.

The legal recognition of Community Service Co-ops is a formal recognition of the unique value and role provided by co-operatives that wish to operate on a non-profit basis. The Community Service Co-op designation will end the confusion that has arisen from uncertainty surrounding the legal status of non-profit co-ops, while affirming the democratic structure of member ownership and control that is unique to the co-op model.

To incorporate as a Community Service Co-op, a co-op's Memorandum of Association must include all of the following non-alterable provisions:

  1. That the co-op is a community service co-operative,
  2. That the co-op will not issue investment shares,
  3. That the co-op's purposes are charitable or to provide health, social, educational or other community services,
  4. That upon dissolution, the co-op's property must be transferred to another community service co-op or a charitable organization,
  5. That no part of the property of the co-op is to be distributed to members while it is in operation.