Special Committee on Cooperatives

Committees are how Parliament examines specific issues in depth. They review bills, call expert witnesses, investigate scandals, and report all of this back to the House of Commons or the Senate. You can see this committee's members and recent activity below.

Members

This committee has no members at the moment.

Activity Feed

  • Meeting on Aug. 29, 2012
    The committee met to discuss:
    • Status of Cooperatives in Canada
    Available from the parliament website: minutes
  • Meeting on Aug. 28, 2012
    The committee met to discuss:
    • Status of Cooperatives in Canada
    Available from the parliament website: minutes
  • Photo of Blake Richards

    I would like to thank all of the witnesses for their contributions. ... more

    July 27, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Michelle Rempel

    He's from my neighbouring riding, too, you know. There's no love.

    July 27, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Blake Richards

    Unfortunately, that's also concludes our time.

    July 27, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Michelle Rempel

    Everyone else got two minutes. Come on.

    July 27, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Blake Richards

    I'm sorry, but your time has expired.

    July 27, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Michelle Rempel

    Just in closing—

    July 27, 2012,   Parliament
  • Mrs. Vera Goussaert spoke

    There have been a lot of resources available. There's support from their co-op associations. Co-op federations sometimes will assist. There's a lot in terms of setting up your governance model, training on what a co-op is and what your roles and responsibilities are. ... more

    July 27, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Michelle Rempel

    Ms. Goussaert, you had spoken earlier about group development sometimes being an impediment to the development of cooperatives or their ongoing maintenance, and you mentioned the patience and resources that are needed to do that. How do cooperatives overcome that barrier when they're being formed?

    July 27, 2012,   Parliament
  • Mrs. Hazel Corcoran spoke

    Definitely.

    July 27, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Michelle Rempel

    No, I was just curious. I think it's a business model that not a lot of people are familiar with.

    July 27, 2012,   Parliament
  • Mrs. Hazel Corcoran spoke

    There are not very many in Canada. In the U.S. there are more. It's more common there, for some reason. ... more

    July 27, 2012,   Parliament
  • Mr. Peter Hough spoke

    There are not many in Canada.

    July 27, 2012,   Parliament
  • Mrs. Hazel Corcoran spoke

    In Quebec there are paramedic cooperatives. I think there are eleven of them around the province, and they're all unionized. They were previously a different kind of enterprise and they were unionized. Now they're unionized worker cooperatives. ... more

    July 27, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Michelle Rempel

    How does that work?

    July 27, 2012,   Parliament
  • Mrs. Hazel Corcoran spoke

    There are some, although not a very high percentage.

    July 27, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Michelle Rempel

    I'm not sure if you spoke to this already, but do you see examples of unionized worker cooperatives?

    July 27, 2012,   Parliament
  • Mrs. Hazel Corcoran spoke

    I would just add that if you are fired, essentially then you would be removed from the membership at the same time. If you quit, then you would also be removed from the membership. You have to be working in the worker co-op to be a member.

    July 27, 2012,   Parliament
  • Mr. Peter Hough spoke

    Essentially what happens is that when you join the cooperative, you make an investment into the cooperative. Basically you do that with par-value shares. You then get your profits built up over the year, which are, I would note, taxed as earned income. Unlike a corporation, when I get my profits from the worker co-op I'm actually paying earned income tax on it. It may be retained as shares in the cooperative, and then when I leave the cooperative the cooperative buys back all of my shares that I've built up through my initial investment and my profit-sharing. ... more

    July 27, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Michelle Rempel

    So in that situation, if someone were to exit—they were terminated or whatnot—would they retain their membership in the cooperative or would the cooperative buy it out? How does that work?

    July 27, 2012,   Parliament
  • Mr. Peter Hough spoke

    One of the first things you learn when you join any cooperative is that you're there based on responsibilities and obligations to the cooperative. Anybody in any kind of cooperative, whether it's a credit union or a worker cooperative, can be kicked out of the cooperative. ... more

    July 27, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Michelle Rempel

    Out of curiosity, because we're talking about raising awareness, does that create any issues with regard to governance, or hiring, or management issues? How does the cooperative model deal with hiring and firing employees?

    July 27, 2012,   Parliament
  • Mr. Peter Hough spoke

    Basically a worker cooperative is an employee-owned enterprise that is democratically operated following the cooperative principles incorporated under the cooperative act.

    July 27, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Michelle Rempel

    Oh, okay.

    July 27, 2012,   Parliament
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