A new study has revealed that Ontario’s co-operatives contribute almost CAD$6 billion (£3bn) every year to the region’s GDP.
The research was carried out by the Ontario Co-operative Association (On Co-op), the information hub and trade association for Ontario’s 1,300 co-operatives. It shows the movement is thriving in the province, with the highest number of co-ops working in housing and childcare services. In terms of the co-op sectors driving the economy, insurance, finance, agriculture and wholesale industries are leading the way.
Mark Ventry, On Co-op’s executive director, said: “Co-operatives are increasingly recognised for their contributions to the community and now we can demonstrate their contributions to the economic wealth of the province.”
He added: “The Ontario co-operative sector injects CAD$3.3bn into household income and is responsible for providing more than 57,000 jobs (full-time equivalents).”
Mr Ventry also revealed that Ontario co-ops pay more than CAD$1.3bn in taxes annually.
The data was taken from the annual co-operative survey of 2010 by Industry Canada. But although the results show the co-op sector is strong in Ontario, it has not grown in proportion with other provinces.
Survey researcher Fiona Duguid, president of the Canadian Association for the Studies in Co-operation (CASC), said: “The province of Ontario counts for nearly 40% of both population and GDP of Canada, yet its co-operative sector accounted for only 10% of the national co-op activity.
“If Ontario’s co-operative sector had grown at the national average, the sector would have been four times as large as it was in 2010.”
There is more research planned. The CASC has examined the size and economic impact of co-operatives in other provinces, while On Co-op also a socio-economic impact study of the 59 co-ops and sector-affiliated organisations in the city of Guelph earlier this year and plans to extend that across the province.