Archived News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

May 12, 2015

Province Launches Second Phase of Strategy to Strengthen, Expand Co-operatives

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Partnership with Co-op Community Creates Jobs, Provides Wide Range of Services, Products: Minister Saran

The Manitoba government is partnering with the co-op community to strengthen and expand the successful co-operative business model, which creates jobs and offers a wide range of products and services across the province, Housing and Community Development Minister Mohinder Saran announced today.

“Co-ops are one of the best ways for people to start and run businesses that work in their areas of interest,” said Minister Saran.  “Together with the Manitoba Co-operative Association (MCA) and Economic Council for Manitoba Bilingual Municipalities (CDEM), we will build on the success of the first phase of the 10-year strategy.”

Co-operatives are organizations owned by their members who use their services or purchase their products.  Co-ops can provide any product or service, and can be non-profit or for-profit enterprises.

Minister Saran said the first phase of the strategy, which occurred from 2009 to 2014, led to new legislation, financing tools, research and teaching at institutes of higher learning, a youth engagement initiative, and the development of tools to link the co-operative community together.

He added the second phase, supported by up to $1 million from the province over the next four years includes:

  • creating a more supportive policy and financial environment for the establishment and ongoing operation of co-operatives,
  • providing better awareness and understanding of the values and principles of co-operatives,
  • improving infrastructure supports and services for co-operatives, and
  • securing the financial and human resources needed to sustain the strategy.

“For the past four years, the Manitoba co-operative community strategy has fulfilled its mandate to serve the common needs and contribute to the mutual benefits of co-operatives in three key areas:  policy, development and education, with a focus on youth leadership and global awareness in co-operative enterprises,” said Dale Ward, chair, the Manitoba Co-operative Association (MCA).  “Today, MCA is pleased to renew and strengthen its collaboration with CDEM and the Manitoba government in a unique partnership in Canada.  This second five-year agreement is an opportunity to reiterate our commitment and support to the co-operative community in Manitoba.”

“CDEM is particularly proudto participatein thiscollaborative agreement withMCA in order to highlight the benefits of theco-operative business modelas an alternative meansof doing businessand to pursuebotheconomic viability and social responsibility,” said Louis Allain, executive director, CDEM.

Minister Saran released the strategy today at the Children of the Earth High School in Winnipeg, whose students established the aboriginalStudent Co-op Project to learn about entrepreneurship by marketing and selling their arts and crafts.  The students have held three sales to date, which resulted in more than $4,200 in sales.

The student program is offered by the Manitoba Co-operative Association, with contributions from Federated Co-operatives Ltd., Neechi Commons, the Co-operative Promotion Board and SEED Winnipeg, an organization dedicated the renewal of the inner city through expanding opportunities for entrepreneurship and local development.

“The Winnipeg School Division is pleased that the Manitoba government is providing funding support for the co-operative community strategy.  Social entrepreneurship is an important part of our community’s sustainable development,” said Mark Wasyliw, board chair, Winnipeg School Division.  “The work being done by abORIGINAL Student Co-op at Children of the Earth High School shows the engagement and employment opportunities available to our future generations.”

Manitoba has more than 400 co-operatives, representing nearly every sector of the economy.  In 2013, Manitoba had the fastest growing number of worker co-operatives in the country, with 4,500 employees and 385,000 members in the retail sector alone, the minister noted.  Between 2008 and 2013, the co-operative retail sector has returned $386 million to members in Manitoba through patronage dividends, he added.

A copy of Leading And Making a Difference in Manitoba – The Co-op Way, the second phase of the strategic plan, is available at

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