Co-ops in Manitoba are incorporated under the Cooperatives Act of Manitoba.  

Co-ops are a business model that can be adapted to virtually any type of business – whether it be a co-op to provide housing to its’ members or a co-op to provide employment for its’ workers.  In Manitoba, there are 7 types of co-ops:

  1. Producer co-ops / marketing co-ops - Producer co-ops are generally owned by independent producers or entrepreneurs who market their products and services and / or purchase their supplies and equipment through the co-op.  Members join these co-ops as a way to reduce operating costs, increase marketing power and gain access to other services and supports. 
  2. Consumer co-ops – Consumer co-ops are owned by members who are able to use the co-op’s services.  They can be operated in different ways – as a buying club where members place orders and benefit from bulk buying, as retail stores where members come in and shop or as service providers where members are provided with services such as internet, cable or water.
  3. Worker co-ops – Worker co-ops provide employment to their members.  A worker co-op is owned by its’ employees and operated in a democratic fashion where the members / employees have input into the policies of the co-op.
  4. Housing co-ops – Housing co-ops provide housing to their members.  In Manitoba, most housing co-ops are incorporated as non-profit.  Members purchase shares in the co-op and pay monthly housing charges to cover the anticipated costs of operating the co-op on an annual basis.  Members have a vote in the decision making of the co-op.
  5. Financial co-ops – Financial co-ops are essentially consumer co-ops that provide financial services to their members.  The most common are credit unions or caisses populaires.  Credit unions or caisses populaires provide the same services as banks but are owned by the members.
  6. New generation co-ops - New Generation cooperatives are found in agriculture, forestry, fishing and other industries that are supplied by producers. Members have both the right and obligation to deliver a certain amount of farm product to the cooperative each year.   Typically, higher equity investments are required by members in order to establish a processing plant. Furthermore, the number of members is limited to those who purchase delivery rights, as well as by the processing capacity of the plant.
  7. Multistakeholder co-ops – Multistakeholder co-ops allow groups that normally form separate co-ops, such as workers and consumers, to combine their resources to create a co-op together.  

Manitoba Cooperative Association can help your co-op and its’ members with day to day operating or corporate governance issues and in some cases with dispute resolution or help you explore whether the cooperative model is right for you.  Please contact us if you need assistance.

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