Industry Canada to assume responsibility for co-operatives

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A new partnership between co-operatives and the federal government

 

For immediate release

Ottawa, January 28, 2013 – 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.