In British Columbia Co-operatives are governed by the B.C. Co-operative Associations Act and founded on a set of values and principles, articulated through the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) in the Statement of Co-operative Identity. The ICA unites, represents, and serves some 800 million members and their co-ops around the world.
Co-operatives generally provide quality employment and they tend to be more resilient over the long-term than other enterprises as meeting needs, not maximizing profit, is their priority.
Co-ops Foster Co-operation
Not only from within, they co-operate with other co-ops. In doing so, the co-operative movement tends to foster social cohesion and build social capital both of which support peaceful co-existence and democratic institutions. In a co-operative, the reality of mutual self-help, collective ownership, self-governance and a focus on information and education, often means members build new skills and gain solid experience that lead to empowerment and innovation.
Finally, in co-operatives there are no “others” – no outside shareholders – who benefit. A member/owner can be both landlord and tenant, employer and employee, seller and buyer, or service provider and client.