We believe that, with a few strategic investments, B.C. could become the best jurisdiction in the world for co-ops to be established and grow, potentially unlocking hundreds of millions of dollars in investment to help fuel the economic recovery.
To make this happen, the BCCA is proposing that the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery, and Innovation invest $2 million annually (to be matched dollar for dollar from co-operative businesses) to develop comprehensive co-operative business development strategies. Doing so would create meaningful employment opportunities for youth and precarious workers, promote business succession through employee ownership, and create vehicles for local communities to invest in local enterprises. It is a proven approach that has worked in other jurisdictions: in Nova Scotia, an initial government investment of less than $700,000 in 2019 has attracted $2 million from residents, invested in 116 small co-op businesses, created 1,200 jobs, raised $52 million in annual wages, and generated $25 million in annual taxes.
“In the coming weeks and months, as B.C. focuses on economic recovery, co-ops can play a central role in encouraging clean, innovative and inclusive growth, which keeps investments in local communities, promotes co-governance and reconciliation, and supports residents who have been traditionally marginalized and hardest hit by the pandemic” says Ben Hyman, BCCA Chair. “Building a future focused on solutions to not just economic but also social, cultural and environmental challenges is critical to the province’s success, which co-ops are well positioned to drive.”
B.C. already boasts one of the strongest co-op sectors in Canada, and over two million British Columbians are members of more than 1,000 active co-ops. With some ingenuity and creative thinking, B.C. can become a magnet for the thriving co-op industry – an industry with a proven record of sustainable growth, investment in communities, and a demonstrated commitment to social responsibility. The BCCA hopes that the BC government will engage the co-op sector to collaboratively write the next chapter of BC’s economic and social story.
For more information please contact:
BC Co-op Association
Click the links below to view documents that provide greater detail about our proposal: