Investment fund opens to boost Canada’s co-ops

Organisations including the Co-operators, Desjardins and Vancity have committed $25m between them to start up the fund

Canadian co-operatives and mutuals have committed CAD $25m to establish the Canadian Co-operative Investment Fund (CCIF). 

The CCIF will provide financing for new and expanding Canadian co-operatives in Canada. The $25m committed to date is the threshold agreed by partners as the start-up capital required for a self-sustaining fund.

“The fund demonstrates the willingness of our sector to invest in the future of Canadian Co-operatives,” says Andy Morrison, chair of CCIF and former chief executive of Arctic Co-operatives Limited and the Arctic Cooperative Development Fund.

“There is a critical need for investment vehicles that understand the needs specific to co-operatives. CCIF has been designed by co-operatives to invest in co-operatives.”

The following organisations have agreed in principle to invest in the CCIF: The Co-operators, Desjardins Group, Affinity Credit Union, L’Alliance des caisses populaires de l’Ontario, Vancity, Concentra Bank, Arctic Co-operatives Ltd, Assiniboine Credit Union, Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation, Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada, Connect First Credit Union, Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada, Kindred Credit Union, and Freedonia.

“Co-operatives have a long tradition of working together, and the CCIF is a great example of the sector collaborating to develop a solution to a long-standing challenge,” said Rob Wesseling, president and chief executive of the Co-operators.

“We are pleased to support the creation of this new source of financing, which will contribute to the strength and sustainability of Canadian co-ops.”

“Co-operatives make a significant contribution to the Canadian economy and society”, added Guy Cormier, president and chief executive of Desjardins Group.

“Desjardins’ investment in the CCIF demonstrates our belief that co-operatives continue to have a significant role to play in Canada’s economic future and that we must enable the movement with the appropriate financial tools to succeed.”

The CCIF will be managed by Community Forward Assistance, an experienced fund manager with roots in community lending including co-operatives.

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