A co-operative (co-op) is a type of incorporated business that is owned by a group of people (known as members) with common needs and/or a common goal.
Some other differences include:
- Each member has an equal vote regardless of their capital contribution (one member equals one vote)
- The primary purpose of a co-op is to meet the common needs of the members, not to maximize profits for shareholders
- At least two-thirds of the board of directors must be members that are elected at the general meeting
- Payment of profit or surplus is often limited or distributed to the organizational reserve
Co-operatives are set up as either federal or provincial corporations. Your needs, the needs of the members and the business location can help you determine which option is best for your co-op.