The International Summit of Cooperatives is honoured to count on the support of the Canadian and Quebec governments, two of its most important partners. “The support provided by these two levels of government is extremely significant, because it is a testament to the importance they attribute to the Canadian and international cooperative movement and their recognition of the effectiveness of this sustainable economic model,” said Stéphane Bertrand, Executive Director of the Summit. Through the Co-operatives Secretariat and the Co-operative Development Initiative (CDI), the federal government promotes the economic growth and development of Canadian society through cooperative enterprises. “In addition to their economic contributions, cooperatives also allow communities to be more self-sufficient and participate directly in the success of their businesses, in Canada and around the world,” said the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec (pictured, right). Canada has approximately 10,000 cooperatives belonging to over 18 million members, meaning 4 in 10 Canadians are members of a cooperative. In total, they employ close to 160,000 people. “The 2012 International Summit of Cooperatives is a unique opportunity for Canadian cooperatives to connect with other cooperatives from around the world, thereby supporting their local and international development,” added Mr. Lebel. For the Quebec government, “the 2012 International Summit of Cooperatives will be a chance for us to celebrate the success of Quebec cooperatives and the added value they contribute both economically and socially,” said Mr. Sam Hamad, Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade and Minister responsible for the Capitale-Nationale (pictured, left). “The cooperative and mutualist movement has close to a billion members in over 90 countries. It’s a powerful tool for economic development and social innovation, and it provides added value for all countries,” said Mr. Hamad.