FAQ

When you join a co-operative, you are purchasing a share. As a shareholder and part owner, when the Co-op turns a profit, some of that profit is returned to you.
What is a co-op?

A co-operative is a different kind of business. In a co-op, every member is a part owner of that business, which is managed locally and governed by an independent board of directors. There is no foreign ownership, no “head office” and no sending profits to shareholders outside of the community. Every member is entitled to a vote to influence the future of the co-operative, and when a profit is made, every member is entitled to get a share of that profit.

Is this a new concept?

Hardly! Our co-operative federation includes over 200 co-ops, some of which have been in operation for over 100 years.

What do I get for joining a Co-op?

When you join, you become a part owner in your co-operative. When the co-op makes money, you get a share of those profits. The more purchases you make at your co-op, the bigger your share.

Additionally, you will become a part of an organization that is truly local, fiercely independent and wholly devoted to improving your community. Our co-ops have been making a meaningful difference in Western Canadian communities for many decades.

How do I get my share of the profits?

When your co-op turns a profit, some of those profits are distributed to all member-owners. This is done in two ways:

1. An annual cash payment in the form of a cheque that is mailed to you.

2. Payments into your equity account. And equity account represents your holdings in the business, which can grow over time and are paid out later on, usually when you reach age 65 (69 or 70 in some co-operatives).

When do I get my cheque?

All our co-ops are a little bit different, so cheques are sent at different times of year depending on what co-op you belong to. Most are mailed in May and June but some are as early as January and some as late as September. Please check your local co-op website to find out when you should expect your statement.

How do I join?

Please visit the customer service counter at your local Co-op and ask for a member application form.

How much does it cost to join?

Again, all co-ops are a little bit different. Some charge $1 and some charge $100 but for the majority, the one-time cost to purchase a share and join for life is $10.

Why can’t I join online?

We wish you could. The Co-op federation is made up of over 200 unique co-operatives so when you become a member, you’re actually joining your local, independent co-op. This makes centralized online member applications difficult (but we’re working on it!).

Does my Co-op number work everywhere?

Because each of our 200+ co-ops are completely independent, with their own local member-owners, boards of directors and ownership charters, your co-op number only works in the market area covered by your local co-op (although you are welcome to join as many co-operatives as you choose).

What is the co-operative “federation”?

Federated Co-operatives Limited provides centralized services to over two hundred co-operatives in Western Canada. This helps the co-ops to operate more efficiently and to gain buying power as a group. Each co-op remains independent – in fact, the member co-operatives own Federated Co-operatives Limited, which itself is a co-operative. Together, the co-ops and FCL form the Co-operative Retailing System (CRS).

Can I use a Co-op gift card at other locations?

Yes! Good news – you can use a Co-op gift card at any Co-op location in Western Canada. This includes food stores, gas bars and convenience stores, home centres, agro centres and liquor stores (where allowed by provincial law).

How can I learn more about Co-op membership benefits?

To learn more about membership benefits please visit your local Co-op or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.