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Province’s Co-operative Sector Continues to Grow

October 14 – Across Canada today, celebrations begin for Co-op Week and Credit Union Day. In Newfoundland and Labrador the co-operative sector is celebrating a year of stability and continued growth on a number of fronts, says Glen Fitzpatrick, Managing Director of the Newfoundland-Labrador Federation of Co-operatives (NLFC).

“There are currently over 100 co-operative enterprises in the province,” he says. “They are operating in many of our traditional business sectors including agriculture, fishery, forestry, retail and financial services. For example, the province’s credit union sector has experienced continued growth during the past year. Today, our nine credit unions serve 60,000 members, hold over one billion dollars in assets, and provide jobs for 334 people.”

Consumer co-operatives serve approximately 35,000 members and provide over 275 jobs in rural communities across the province. They are experiencing continued growth in a number of communities including Clarenville, Gander and Happy Valley-Goose Bay. Their members have shared thousands of dollars in patronage rebates this year based on use of their co-op’s services.

The co-op business model is also being used to provide a variety of other services in the province. For example, the Confederation Building Day Care Co-op operates a day care centre in St. John’s; the North Shore Ambulance Co-op provides health care services in Conception Bay North; the Newfoundland Independent Filmmakers’ Co-op leads the development of the province’s film industry; and the Advocate Youth Services Co-op delivers employment and career development services for young people on the Baie Verte Peninsula.

“There are many other examples of ways in which groups of consumers, workers, business owners and non-profit organizations are using the co-op business model to access services, strengthen local economies and build sustainable communities,” says Fitzpatrick. “Co-operatives are social enterprises that mobilize community investment and generate operational revenue from service delivery. Their profits are returned to the members or can be retained by the co-op to support future business growth and development.”

The NLFC provides co-op development support services through a partnership agreement with the Provincial Government. Co-operative workshops are offered to provide information about the co-op sector. Assistance is also available for groups interested in starting a new co-op enterprise. Further information is available by contacting the regional offices of the Department of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development or by contacting the NLFC toll free at 1-877-726-9431.

For More Information Contact:
Glen Fitzpatrick
E-mail: gfitz@nlfc.nf.ca

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