• Timothy Petrou


Cooperatives in Canada have a rich history marked by the plural forces that have been at work shaping the country, and the cooperative movement, in kind. Canada is a bi-lingual parliamentary democracy comprised of ten provinces and three territories, all of which are common law jurisdictions and primarily English-speaking; the exception being the French-speaking province of Québec that operates under a system of civil law. Canada’s natural abundance and sheer size provide the backdrop against which cooperative laws have developed, providing the conditions for cooperative enterprise to flourish on the one hand, and giving rise to parallel, and at times distinct systems of law, on the other. This chapter will begin by contextualizing the emergence of cooperatives in Canada, and then go on to illustrate the national cooperative legal framework. Where necessary, some distinctly provincial laws will be highlighted to provide a fuller picture of Canadian cooperative law.


Supra Note Credit Union Share Capital Business Corporation Cooperative Movement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I would like to extend my gratitude to Prof. Claude-André Guillotte, of the University of Sherbrooke and Prof. Tom Webb of St. Mary’s University for their assistance with this chapter. Also, this work was made possible by the Critical Research Laboratory in Law and Society at Osgoode Hall Law School through its support of the Cooperative Governance Initiative and cooperative law research.


  1. Adeler MJ (2009) Enabling policy environments for cooperative development: a comparative experience. Research report prepared for the project linking, learning, leveraging social enterprises, knowledgeable economies, and sustainable communities. The Centre for the Study of Cooperatives, University of Saskatchewan, p 15Google Scholar
  2. Canadian Cooperative Association (2011) Cooperatives helping fuel a green economy: a report on Canada’s renewable energy sector, OttawaGoogle Scholar
  3. Girard J-P (2002) The solidarity cooperative movement in Quebec: a new formula in North America. Report prepared for The International Organization of Industrial, Artisanal and Service Producers’ Cooperatives (CICOPA). At
  4. Haaf C (2013) A comparison of new generation cooperative legislation in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Available from the Centre for the Study of Cooperatives at the University of Saskatchewan.
  5. Haaf C, Stefanson B (2001) New Generation Cooperatives and the Law in Saskatchewan. Research paper prepared for The Centre for the Study of Cooperatives, University of Saskatchewan. At
  6. Hoyt A (2003) Up a creek with a paddle: excellence in the boardroom. Centre for the Study of Cooperatives, University of Saskatchewan. Accessed on 4 Jan 2013
  7. Ish D (1975) The Taxation of Canadian Cooperatives. Canadian Tax Foundation No. 57, Canadian Tax Press, p 21Google Scholar
  8. Ish D (1981) The law of Canadian co-operatives. The Carswell Company Ltd, TorontoGoogle Scholar
  9. Jackson AG, Smith M (1998) Bill C-5: Canada Cooperatives Act, 1998, Library of Parliament at
  10. MacPherson I (1972) The origins of the Canadian cooperative movement, 1900–1914, originally appearing in the Historical papers of the Canadian Historical Association, pp 207–226Google Scholar
  11. MacPherson I (1975) Patterns in the maritime cooperative movement 1900–1945. Acadiensis 5(1):67–83Google Scholar
  12. MacPherson I (1995) Co-operative principles for the 21st century. International cooperative alliance, Geneva, 1996. Adopted at the 1995 ICA Centennial Congress in Manchester, England. At
  13. MacPherson I (2000) A relationship not easily understood: an historical overview of state/co-operative relations in Canada. Originally presented at the Cooperatives and the State Symposium. International Congress of the Historical Sciences, OsloGoogle Scholar
  14. MacPherson I (2007) One path to cooperative studies: a selection of papers and presentations 2007. British Columbia Institute for Cooperative Studies, Victoria, p 10. Accessed 5 Dec 2012 at
  15. Mullord D, Axworthy CS, Liston D (1988) A History of Saskatchewan Cooperative Law. In: Paper prepared for the Centre for the Study of Cooperatives, University of SaskatchewanGoogle Scholar
  16. Richards B (2012) Status of cooperatives in Canada: report of the special committee on cooperatives. Prepared for the 41st Parliament, First Session, September 2012. At Accessed 7 Dec 2012

Further Reading

  1. Chapman HE (2012) Sharing my life: building the cooperative movement, University of Saskatchewan, Centre for the Study of Co-operatives. Harold E. Chapman, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, CanadaGoogle Scholar
  2. Côte D (2007) Best prcatices and cooperative development in Québec. In: Emmanuel J, Cayo L (eds) Effective practices in starting coops: the voice of Canadian Coop Developers. University of Victoria, VictoriaGoogle Scholar
  3. Ish D, Ring K (1996) Legal responsibilities of directors and officers in Canadian co-operatives. University of Saskatchewan, Centre for the Study of Co-operatives, SaskatoonGoogle Scholar
  4. Laycock D (1987) Co-operative-government relations in Canada: lobbying public policy development and the changing cooperative system. University of Saskatchewan, Centre for the Study of Co-operatives, SaskatoonGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Critical Research Laboratory in Law and Society (CRL)Osgoode Hall Law SchoolTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations