Value of Cooperatives

Value of Cooperatives

Through local co-op celebrations (like #CoopsDay in July and #CoopsWeek in October) learn how cooperatives contribute to a decent working environment. 

Cooperative employment is far from a marginal phenomenon. According to a recent estimate, cooperatives around the world employ or are the main source of income for more than 279 million people—almost 10% of humanity’s total working population.

Cooperatives in Canada

There are over 9,000 cooperatives, credit unions, and mutuals in Canada and over 750,000 across the world. They’re widely supported – 83% of Canadians say they would rather buy their products at a cooperative than a private business. Together, Canadian cooperatives have over 18 million members and employ more than 150,000 people. Cooperatives are major players in many sectors in Canada, including agriculture, education, financial institutions, and utilities, to name a few.

"Exemplifying collective rather than individual ownership, cooperatives are bottom-up organizations with the distinctive purpose of addressing member and community needs through mutual self-help." *

Rural Electrification Associations (REAs) are rural electric distribution cooperatives serving their communities with fair, efficient, and reliable power services since the late 1940s.

A Rural Electrification Association (REA) is a rural power distribution co-op.

What makes your REA valuable?

  1. You own the assets of a multi-million dollar cooperative. Your REA is an asset that you own jointly with other members of the cooperative and it has appreciated in value over the years.
  2. You have democratic member control of your REA. Every member-owner in a cooperative has one vote, a vote that makes a difference when critical business decisions are made.
  3. You benefit from economic participation. Your REA cooperative is as a not-for-profit business that reinvests savings, maintains fair rates, and provides safe and efficient electricity service to its members.
  4. You provide a comparison for electricity costs for Albertans. Your REA is a benchmark. As a not-for-profit, the REA sets a level of measurement for the whole electricity industry.
  5. You contribute to rural economic sustainability. Your REA is a member of a greater cooperative movement that values ownership and keeps money in the rural community.

(*Source: CO-OPERATIVES FOR SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES: Tools to Measure Cooperative Impact and Performance, Canada 2015)

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