Recent CMC study highlights the positive economic impact of the cooperative sector in Canada

22 August 2019


Earlier this year ICMIF was asked by Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC) to provide data on the performance of the Canadian cooperative/mutual insurance sector to contribute to a report being published about the Canadian cooperative sector.

At the Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC) National Congress 2019 in June, Scott Banda, Chief Executive officer of Federated Co-operatives Limited and Nadine Groulx, President, Cantons-de-l’Est Regional Council of the Desjardins Group launched the resulting study: Economic Impact of the Co-operative Sector in Canada. The study was led by Dr. Fiona Duguid in partnership with George Karaphillis and it confirms that cooperatives are an economic driver that contributes to the development of the Canadian economy.

CMC Board President, Doug Potentier said, “This study finally provides the cooperative sector with the data it needs to prove its importance and sustainability in the Canadian economy. The Canadian cooperative sector contributes more to GDP and job creation than the mining, utilities, telecommunications and the automotive and auto parts manufacturing sectors.”

André Beaudry, Executive Director of CMC commented, “It is great to see the full breath of the cooperative and mutual sector, including both financial and non-financial cooperatives, in one consolidated report highlighting the impact of democratic capitalism. Let’s engage all political parties to ensure that strategies and programmes are put in place, as they are for traditional businesses, to support the development of the sector”.



  • Their volume of business was CAD$ 85.9 billion in 2015, with assets of CAD$ 503.2 billion. This represents a 20.9% growth in volume of business and 42.5% growth in assets.
  • Memberships totalled 31.8 million, and the number of reported full-time equivalent employees was 182,253. This represents a 13.3% increase in membership and a 2.4% increase in the number of employees.

The economy

  • The contribution of the cooperative sector to Canada’s GDP in 2015 was estimated at CAD$ 61.2 billion, representing 3.4% of the national figure of CAD$ 1,813.9 billion.
  • The co-operative sector in Canada contributes CAD$ 61.2 billion annually to Canada’s GDP, an increase of 12% since 2010.
  • The sector provided CAD$ 34.3 billion in taxes to governments, an increase of 11.1% in five years.

Conducted earlier this year using data collected in 2015 from 5,730 cooperatives, including contributions of data from ICMIF, Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada says this study is one of the most comprehensive ever done and provides a comprehensive portrait of Canadian co-operatives. Among other things, it presents descriptive statistics for 2015, five- and ten-year trends, and the economic impact of the sector on the Canadian economy.

André Beaudry, Executive Director of CMC, will also be discussing the study at the National Co-operative Business Association (NCBA-CLUSA) Impact Conference from 2-4 October 2019 in Arlington, Virginia and at the World Conference on “Cooperatives for Development” of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA), 14 to 17 October 2019 in Kigali (Rwanda).

About CMC—Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC) is the national and bilingual association for co-operative (co-op) and mutual businesses. Our mission is to support the development of Canada’s national co-op ecosystem comprised of more than 31.8 million memberships from approximately 8,000 co-operative and mutual enterprises, which represent 3.4% of Canada’s GDP, almost 200,000 jobs, and a volume of business of +$85B per year. * Our objectives are to accomplish this through programming, tools, and educational resources. We are an apex organization and our members are Canada’s largest financial and nonfinancial cooperatives, provincial cooperative associations, and national sector federations. We were founded in 1909 as the Co-operative Union of Canada, and in 2013, became CMC.

* CMC’s Report—Economic Impact of the Co-operatives in Canada (2010–2015) p.15

For member-only strategic content on the cooperative/mutual insurance sector, ICMIF members have exclusive access to a range of online resources through the ICMIF Knowledge Hub.

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