Co-operative Registration in Canada

An incorporated business owned by a group of members with common needs and a common goal is called a co-operative. If you want to start a Co-operative registration in Canada, we at Enterslice will guide you through the whole process.

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What is Co-operative Business?

The member-owners who own the business are called co-operatives. The Businesses are representatively controlled by their member-owners, and unlike the other Businesses in the co-ops, each member has a stand on how the business should run. Whatever services are provided by the co-op benefit is going to serve the member-owner. Co-ops aim to earn a profit, and it's a wrong belief that coops are non-profit. Co-operative registration in Canadian Businesses plays an important role in the economy in generating jobs and growth.

What are the Reasons for Co-operative Registration in Canada?

One usually does a Co-operative registration in Canada because of the three reasons which are mentioned below

  • When there is a challenge or any opportunity which cannot be met in any other type of business model as it is a specific need
  • When your local or small business is closing, and you want to maintain your employment and business opportunities inside your community
  • When you plan to do business, succession is when workforces want to buy out their employer and take over the business.

What are the co-operative principles?

  • Voluntary and open membership
  • Member Control
  • Participation in Member's economic
  • Independence and Autonomy
  • Training, Education, and information
  • Co-operative cooperation
  • Community concern

What are the Characteristics of a Cooperative Society?

There are several ways in which cooperative societies are diverse from other types of enterprises. First, the members-only own and manage, and second, it is a democratic process with one vote per member.

A cooperative society does not aim to make the most profits; instead, it aims to meet the needs of the members. The profits are dispersed to members in the form of investment dividends, which will depend on the use of the co-operative services or are reinvested in the co-operative society.

Co-operative societies are based on democratic values, which are equality, equity, and solidarity, and foster solidarity and cooperation between the members.

What is the process of Co-operative registration in Canada?

The process of co-operative registration in Canada can vary slightly because it depends on the territory or province of your business and wherever you intend to start the business. However, we have mentioned the general steps which are common across most of the jurisdictions

Step 1- Pick a Business Name

For co-operative registration in Canada, you will have to select a unique business name for your co-operative that will comply with the guidelines of the province or territory where you will be planning to register. The other business should not already use the name and should also accurately represent your co-operative’s activity.

Step 2- Article of Incorporation

For co-operative registration in Canada, you will have to draft the Article of Incorporation for your co-operative, which are the legal documents that will show your resolution, structure, and rule of operation for the cooperative. The common requirement for an article of incorporation is the co-operative name, address, objectives, membership structure, and voting rights, although these can vary from one jurisdiction to another.

Step 3- Name Search

Before moving forward, it is advisable that you conduct a business name search in the jurisdiction in which you are starting a business to make sure that your business name is available and not already in use by any other entity.

Step 4- Document File

For co-operative registration in Canada, Now will you have to submit the article of incorporation with the required documents to the appropriate government agency that will be responsible in your province or territory for business registrations, in usually all cases this will be the provincial or territorial corporate registry office.

Step 5- Fee payment

When incorporating a co-operative, there are usually associated registration fees. However, these fees can vary depending on the jurisdiction and will be based on factors like the type and size of the cooperative.

Step 6- Certificate of Incorporation

After the registration documents are processed and approved, you will receive a Certificate of incorporation or similar document from the government authority. The confirmation that your co-operative has been legally incorporated and is authorized to conduct business will be after you receive the Certificate of incorporation.

Step 7- Permits and Licenses

For co-operative registration in Canada, You may need to obtain additional licenses to operate legally, which will depend on the nature of your cooperative activities. This step will include business licenses, permits of specific industries, or regulatory approvals.

Step 8 – Internal Policies and Procedures

You have to form internal policies and processes for the operation of your co-operative, which will include the governing structures, membership criteria, decision-making, and financial management practices.

Step 9 – Bank Account

For co-operative registration in Canada, you will have to set up a bank account in the name of your co-operative business so that you will be able to achieve the finances and transactions.

Step 10- Register Taxes

Your registration for taxes depends on your cooperative structure and activities, although all corporations must file a corporation income tax T2 return every year, even if there are no taxes payable. you may also need to register for various taxes such as corporate income tax, sales tax, GST Harmonized Sales Tax, payroll taxes, etc.

Step 11- Business Number

For co-operative registration in Canada, deal with the federal government. Your business number will be your single account number regarding taxes, payroll, and other activities. If you want to hire employees or export or import goods, you have to register yourself for a business number.

What are the documents required to be filed to incorporate a Co-operative?

If you are planning to incorporate a Co-operative business, then you have to file an application that will include

  • The person who is applying will require a cover letter, which will also include the contact information, and, in this letter, it will be indicated that your co-operative is a non-profit housing co-operative or a worker co-operative.
  • A document of Article of Incorporation Form 3001 completed and signed copy
  • A document of initial Registered Office Address and First Board of Directors completed signed copy of Form 3002
  • A NUANS name search report is needed for the proposed name, which should not be more than 90 days old, and you have to attach a copy of the Corporation Canada letter if your name has already been pre-approved by Corporations Canada also, along with the NUANS name search report.
  • The filing fees

What are the Advantages of the Co-operative registration in Canada?

There are many benefits of incorporating the Co-operative model, some of the following are mentioned below

  • Co-operative Businesses do support the local economic, business, and community development.
  • Co-operative Businesses are multipurpose models that can be applied to any organizational size and business sector.
  • Every shareholder will have one vote as divergent to one vote per share
  • A wide variety of ways are used to share the profits of Co-operatives

What are the different types of Co-operatives?

There are some different types of Co-operative which you can start, which are mentioned below


This is the manufacturing sector, high technology, etc., in which the members are of the work-shareholder group who manage the business.

Producer Co-operative

These are sectors like agri-food, self-employed workers, consultant services, etc. All the members will regroup their resources to provide goods and services.

Worker Co-operative

In this sector, there is forestry, leisure, retail, tourism, etc., in which all the employees are the owners of the co-operatives.

Multistakeholder Co-operative

The multistakeholder sector includes home car services, recreation, tourism, local development, etc. In this, the members are the group of consumers, employees, and the producers, sometimes of which share a common goal, are the producers.

Worker-shareholder Co-operative

The sectors are wood and mineral processing, business services, new technologies, etc. In these, members and auxiliary members are allowed through it, collective shareholders of this company.

New Generation Co-operative

In the New Generation, the Cooperative sector is agricultural, which addresses capital, marketing, and other challenges that are part of the value-added process, which will be spread by capital contributions and with the risk between multiple members. New-generation co-operatives usually have a closed membership that will sell the stocks in the co-operatives, which will create transferability delivery rights to members.

Community Service Co-operatives

In this sector, there are health, social, educational, or any other community services that are cooperatives with the main objectives of carrying out activities and also providing the services that are primarily planned for community members and the general well-being of the community. These communities operate on a not-for-profit basis, and these can be obtained with the status of charitable.

What Services Enterslice can provide?

  • We at Enterslice will provide you with guidance and assistance throughout the entire process of Cooperative registration in Canada. Enterslice provides comprehensive support and makes sure that all legal requirements are met effectively.
  • We at Enterslice offer you personalized consultant services for your specific needs in Cooperative registration. Enterslice gives you insight into the legal framework, incorporation procedures, and strategic plans for your successful operatives.
  • Enterslice will help you with the documentation needed for Co-operative registration in Canada, which includes articles of incorporation, bylaws, and other regulatory filings. There will be a hundred percent accuracy and compliance with Canadian laws and regulations.
  • We at Enterslice provide ongoing support to co-operatives post-registration, which includes compliance monitoring, annual filings, and corporate governance advisory services.

Frequently Asked Questions

The popular model in Canada is for the organization of banking services and gas grocery stores. Also, the model can be applied to other sectors like childcare, telecommunications, and infrastructure services.

In Canada, cooperative members own, manage, and direct the cooperative. The model is based on open, democratic, and voluntary participation that can open the opportunity for active participation with marginalized and vulnerable social groups.

There was a total of 5,605 active co-operatives in Canada in 2021, which held a total of $ 47.3 billion in assets, employed a total of 100,755 people, and paid $ 2.7 billion in salaries and wages.

The largest financial co-operative in Canada is Desjardins Group.

The companies that are examples of co-operatives are agriculture co-operatives and Blue Diamond, which is an example of producer co-operatives.

You will receive the Co-operative number after your application is submitted. It will be used when you purchase your local Co-operative locations. The Co-operative number will track your purchases and will be used to determine the possible cash back.

A co-operative number can only be used in the location that has been operated by the individual Co-operative assigning the number. Each Co-operative business is a unique business that is locally owned and functioning. Also, it is run by the local board of directors, and the Co-operative number can't be used all over western Canada. However, you can purchase shares in as many Co-operative associations as you want.

You will need a SOCIAL insurance number under the Income Tax Act for tax reportage purposes. Likewise, as in Financial investments, Cashback or equity distributed to co-operative members will be considered taxable income. Also, a T4A form can be issued by your local co-operative in advance of filing deadlines.

The different ways of doing business in the co-operative means the people will be coming together for a common purpose in the community. Co-operative provides the services and products which will meet their needs.

It's an easy process. You have to complete the Membership Application in your local Co-operative location and purchase a share of the Co-operative.

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