Co-operative Leadership

Exploring community co-operatives

FCL believes in the co-operative business model and want to encourage its growth. In 2013, FCL invested $1 million to fund the Co-operative Innovation Project over two years to study the needs of rural and aboriginal communities and whether the co-op model could provide a feasible solution. Led by the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives at the University of Saskatchewan, the research team surveyed over 2,000 rural and aboriginal community members and 360 town or band administrators. This was followed by 26 engagement meetings between December 2014 and June 2015.


  • 649 of 1,732 rural and aboriginal communities in Western Canada, or 37 per cent, reached through surveys and meetings.

Research targets governance

Leading-edge research into co-operatives and co-operative governance is required for the business model to succeed and remain relevant in the future. Because of this, FCL will be providing $300,000 over five years to establish a new research chair. The Co-operative Retailing System Chair in Co-operative Governance at the University of Saskatchewan will focus research on enabling co-ops to operate more effectively and exploring governance mechanisms at work in the larger economy and society.


  • $678,000 provided to fund research and education in support of the co-operative movement in 2014.

Introducing youth to co-operatives

FCL invests in programs to help educate future generations about co-operatives. Thanks to funding from FCL, the Manitoba Co-operative Association (MCA) helped establish a student co-op at a Winnipeg high school in 2014. The after-school program at Children of the Earth High School aims to teach students about co-operative principles and help them organize their own co-op. About 20 students registered in the abOriginal Student Co-operative each semester, which worked with a collective of young artists to arrange art sales for Christmas and Mother’s Day. Because of FCL’s funding, MCA has worked with the Manitoba government and the co-op community to fund a full-time program coordinator for 2015-16.


  • Art sales raised $2,500 and the student co-op offered a patronage refund ranging from $30 to $80 each semester.
  • $565,000 provided in support of national and provincial co-operative associations.