BC Government Announces Investment in Co-op Development

In July 2022, the BC Government announced a new investment of $2 million through a one-time government grant to British Columbia’s co-operative movement. This funding will support co-op business development and growth, expand services, and enhance the work of co-operatives. We sat down with Elvy Del Bianco, Director, Cooperative & Government Relations, to discuss the investment announcement and what it means for BCAA and the co-operative movement.
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Why did BCCA and its partners seek out these resources – what is the objective?

British Columbia’s co-operative movement has been working to build out the educational, technical, and financial supports communities need to create co-operatives. This is working, as BC trails only Quebec in new co-op creation. We reached out to the Province of British Columbia for an investment to scale these supports and make the model more accessible to Indigenous communities, newcomers and other equity-denied groups and increase the social and economic benefits of this unique enterprise model.

How will we put these resources to work?

These resources will be used differently, depending on the participating partner. Some will seek project funding to address community challenges, such as creating or retaining employment. Others will focus on operations and building their capacity to support new co-op creation and growth and, critically, create revenue streams to support this work into the future. BCCA will do both: support operations and make resources available for feasibility studies, business planning, incorporation, and more.

How will this investment from the BC government impact the community & our members?

Unlike the extractive behaviour of corporations, co-ops address the specific needs of the communities they serve. Co-ops keep capital local and employ local people, and this investment will mean more co-ops meeting more needs. Beyond this baseline, our ambitions are for co-ops supporting Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, promoting equity and fighting racism, addressing climate change, providing meaningful employment opportunities, and creating a vibrant co-operative ecology.

When will the money start rolling out?

Modest amounts have already been disbursed. The bulk of the investment is expected to distributed between September-November 2022.

Is this a one-time investment on the part of the province?

The original proposal called for three years of $2 million per year. We are working towards securing years two and three.

 

Stay tuned for more information. And thank you again to the BC government for the investment in co-operatives!