Understanding the legalities of co-operatives in BC is crucial for co-op members/owners, especially in the early stages of co-op development.

Co-operatives in BC are incorporated under the BC Co-operative Association Act. Please contact Crown Publications Inc. directly to purchase a print copy of the Co-operative Association Act.

The Government of BC also outlines the seven steps to incorporate a co-op.

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 to the BC Co-operative Association Act, non-profit co-ops can now incorporate as community service co-ops, which have the same legal status as non-profit societies, including eligibility for charitable status where applicable.

The legal recognition of community service co-ops formalizes the unique value and role provided by co-operatives that wish to operate as non-profits, and clarifies their legal status.

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.

Want to learn more about co-op legislation? Request your copy of our Cultivating Co-ops Guide.