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What is a co-op?

A co-operative involves people voluntarily coming together to meet a common need through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise. The key organizational distinction between a co-operative and other corporate structures is democratic participation through ‘one-member, one-vote. Co-ops are responsible to their own members. The members determine how the co-op will be run, elect the Board of Directors and allocate the profits of the co-operative among its member-owners. Co-ops serve a range of sectors, including housing, food, worker, agriculture, service, financial, youth, aboriginal and community.

The co-operative model uses its unique form of business enterprise to accomplish social and policy ends. As such, co-operatives and the co-operative model are optimal for the delivery of service in the social economy. They are also ethical in their treatment members, employees, suppliers and the environment.To be successful, co-operatives must be competitive while maintaining their special nature as businesses that are user-driven, democratically owned and managed by their members. Success is not only defined as profitability, but by improved wellbeing of the members and the communities where they live. (from the Ontario Cooperative Association (On-Coop))

One of the most important aspects of co-ops is the support and co-operation between them. Here are some of the co-ops that operate in and around Ottawa.

Mountain Equipment Co-op

Fitzroy Beef Farmers Co-operative

St-Albert Cheese Co-operative

Co-operative Housing Association of Eastern Ontario

Centretown Laundry Co-op

Sandy Hill Pet Food Co-op

re-Cycles Bicycle Co-op

The Independent Filmmakers Co-operative of Ottawa

Gladstone Clayworks Pottery Co-operative

Families Matter Co-operative