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Saskatchewan Co-operative Association
Feb 10


How many co-operatives are there?

Good question. Getting current statistics can be challenging. Here's the most up to date information we have:

  • About 950 co-operatives and credit unions are registered in Saskatchewan, operating in 24 key sectors of the province's economy.

- To see the most up to date count of how many credit unions and members there are, click here.

- To see the up to date count of how many retail co-ops and members in the Co-op Retailing System there are, click here.

  • 8,000 co-operatives and credit unions in Canada
  • 3 million co-operatives in the world


miscellaneousicon 000How many co-ops are in your community?

Find out on our interactive Co-op & Credit Union Google Earth Map. *We made this map a few years ago, so recently incorporated co-ops won't be listed here.

Open in Google Earth

How many members do co-ops have?

  • Hundreds of thousands of members in Saskatchewan, over 1 million memberships, for example:
    • There are more than 422,000 active members of at least one retail co-op in Saskatchewan
    • Credit Unions in Saskatchewan offer financial products and services to approximately 476,000 members.
  • In Canada, four of every ten Canadians, or 18,000,000 people, are members of at least one co-operative. In Quebec, approximately 70% of the population are co-op members, while in Saskatchewan 56% are members.
  • Canada has one of the highest per-capita credit union membership in the world: 33 per cent of Canadians are a member of at least one credit union.
  • There are over 1 billion members of co-operatives in over 90 countries around the world.

How many people do co-operatives employ?

  • Co-operatives in Saskatchewan employ about 15,000 people
  • In Canada, co-operatives and credit unions employ over 150,000 people. The Desjardins movement (savings and credit co-operatives) is the largest employer in the province of Québec and has 5.8 million members.
  • Co-operatives provide over 250 million jobs around the world, 20% more than multinational enterprises

A Look at the Saskatchewan Co-operative Sector

  • Consumer co-ops make up the largest segment in Saskatchewan, at 80%, followed by producer co-ops at about 18%.
  • The top five co-operative sectors are: Agriculture and Retail (Tied at 19% each of all SK co-ops), Arts/Entertainment/Recreation (15%), Child care (14%) and Financial/Insurance (12%)
  • Of the co-ops still operating today, 2 were incorporated in the 1910's, 16 were incorporated in the 1920's and 39 were incorpoated in the 1930's.

Co-operative Firsts...

  • 1895 - A group of dairy farmers in the settlement of Saltcoats formed the Province’s first co­-operative butter creamery, which was officially incorporated in 1897.
  • 1910 - The Jewish Colonization Association established the first Credit Union in Western Canada in Wapella, Saskatchewan.
  • 1935 - Canada’s first and only refinery - Consumers’ Co-operative Refinery - owned by Saskatchewan's Federated Co­-operatives Ltd., is established in Regina
  • 1977 - Sherwood Credit Union in Regina introduced the world’s first Automated Teller Machine (ATM)
  • 1985 - The first true debit card was piloted in the Swift Current area and involved the installation of a point of sale system at 28 Pioneer Co­op outlets
  • The first co-operative business in North America, a consumer’s co-op store, was established by immigrant coal miners in Nova Scotia.

Other Canadian Co-operative Facts and Statistics

  • Research has shown that co-operatives are resilient and have a stronger rate of start up success over other forms of business. Co-ops also demonstrate a higher survival rate than other forms of enteprise. A study published by the Quebec Ministry of industry and Commerce in 2008 shows that the long-term survival rate of co-operative enterprises is almost twice that of investor-owned companies. Similar studies and BC and AB have shown positive results in co-op resilience also.
  • Co-ops in Canada are led by 100,000 volunteer directors and committee members
  • Mountain Equipment Co-op is the largest retail co-operative in Canada

More Worldwide Co-operative Statistics

  • Co-operatives provide jobs or work opportunities to 280 million people - about 10% of the employed population
  • The Top 300 co-ops generate 2.1 trillion USD in turnover
    • Of the Top 300 co-operatives worldwide, 41% are in the insurance sector, 30% agriculture and food, 19% wholesale and retail, 6% banking 
  • One in every six people world wide is a co-op member (about 1 billion)



MLAKITCoverwebCo-operative Information Booklet

A few years ago. Saskatchewan Co-operative Association published "Saskatchewan Co-operatives: Supporting Economic Growth and Sustainability". The booklet contains basic information about co-operatives, co-operative statistics, stories of successful co-operatives and ideas about where the co-operative model may be used to support continued economic growth in Saskatchewan. The booklet also contains information about the work of Saskatchewan Co-operative Association and information about our member organizations.

Updated (but still old!) Co-op Statistics from Co-operative Information Booklet

Co opsbythenumbers2014web
Typesofco ops updated09 2014 web
Typesofco opsweb


2014 Co-op Week Publications Celebrate Co-operative Successes

Several features were published to celebrate Co-operatives Week in Saskatchewan in 2014. Saskatchewan Co-operative Association teamed up with Planet S and prairie dog Magazines to produce an 8-page insert in the October 2 issue highlighting the accomplishments of the co-operative sector. In addition, the Star Phoenix and the Regina Leader Post each produced a one-page special feature about co-operatives. In the Battlefords, the News Optimist published three stories celebrating co-operatives in their October 23 edition.

At the national level, the Globe and Mail published their annual Co-operatives Week feature with the assistance of Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada.


Co opfeature2014small Page 1 web2
Planet S/prairie dog
CoopWeek2014 web2
Star Phoenix
COOPWeek2014LP web2
Leader Post


CO OPOct6 14 Page 1 web
Globe and Mail
News optimist 2web
The Battlefords Regional Optimist October 23, 2014
NewsOptimist Nov 6 pg35 web
The Battlefords Regional Optimist November 6, 2014


 building a better world 2013cover web 001To Celebrate Co-op Week 2013, SCA teamed up with Planet S and prairie dog magazines to create an 8-page feature about co-ops in the October 3rd issue of the free city magazines.

The feature highlights some great project co-ops and credit unions are doing in their communities and will help readers understand the difference between co-operatives and other forms of businesses. Pick up a copy on the newstand until October 17, or take a look at it here.

Did you know that Planet S and prairie dog are published by Hullabaloo Worker Co-operative?



 IYCinsertcoverforweb12 page Planet S/prairie dog Insert Celebrates IYC and Co-operatives

Saskatchewan Co-operative Association along with Planet S and prairie dog magazines are pleased to present the Celebrating Saskatchewan Co-operatives special insert from the October 4th, 2012 Planet S and prairie dog newspapers.

This document has statistics and basic information about co-operatives as well as stories about co-ops in Saskatchewan and around the world.


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