Report on All-Party Caucus on Co-operatives, compliments of Honourable Mauril Bélanger, M.P. for Ottawa–Vanier

Dear Friends,

The All-Party Caucus on Co-operatives held its fifth meeting on Wednesday, November 27, 2014, under the theme “Canada’s national co-operative association (CMC) and a look at the study entitled At the Vanguard of Canadian Innovation: A Compilation of Co-op Case Studies.”

My colleague Hélène LeBlanc, M.P. for LaSalle—Émard, chaired this fifth meeting and welcomed the following guests: Ms. Julie Cafley, Vice-President of Canada’s Public Policy Forum, Mr. Leo LeBlanc, President of Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC), and Ms. Denyse Guy, Executive Director of CMC. Parliamentarians from all three recognized parties attended. Several CMC directors were also in attendance.

CMC is the national and bilingual association representing more than 18 million co-operative members from 9,000 co-operatives. Mr. LeBlanc noted that the co-operative model proved to be resilient during the past economic crisis. In fact, co-operatives have a success rate double that of private companies. Ms. Guy reviewed the status of the recommendations made by the Special Parliamentary Committee on Co-operatives. For example, there is now an interdepartmental committee on co-operatives chaired by Industry Canada, and that department undertook an outreach initiative in conjunction with the regional development agencies to educate their staff on co-operatives. I encourage the government to do more to improve the level of knowledge within government regarding the co-operative business model.

Ms. Guy highlighted CMC’s two requests to the federal government. The first is to help design and implement a Canadian co-operative development strategy. The second is to provide a federal contribution of $50 million to the Canadian Co-operative Investment Fund (CCIF).

Canada’s Public Policy Forum conducted research on innovations in the co-operative sector to highlight game-changing products, services and practices. The organization published a study that we included in our meeting’s theme. During her presentation, Ms. Cafley explained that the research uses case studies to raise awareness of the co-operative model and provide key lessons in fostering a culture of innovation within and outside the co-operative community. You can find a copy of the study at the following link:

Our plan moving forward is to organize four other meetings of the All-Party Caucus on Co-operatives, this winter and in the spring.

Honourable Mauril Bélanger, M.P. for Ottawa–Vanier Liberal Advocate for Co-operatives

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