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Our Three Strategic Pillars

The Ontario Co-operative Association provides programs, services and benefits to support its membership, and to strengthen and promote the Ontario co-operative sector.  These programs and services are organized according to On Co-op's three strategic pillars.

In 2013, the board of directors reshaped On Co-op’s strategic vision to drive co-operative value, guided in a large way by the conversations that resulted from stakeholder survey responses. Moving into our second decade of operation, On Co-op’s new strategic pillars, each driving co-operative value are:

1. Co-operative Engagement & Development

Facilitating local and regional co-op networks; fostering an active and engaged membership; championing co-op principles and spirit; creating linkages with industry and business; nurturing the development and support of both emerging and established co-operatives.

2. Advocacy & Government Relations

Affecting legislative and policy changes; facilitating government and sector consultations; and providing grass-roots advocacy and support for co-operatives.

3.  Education 

Creating and promoting youth and adult learning opportunities; raising co-operative awareness within and beyond the co-op movement.  

Those three pillars are further supported by board, member, staff and organizational vitality. Learn more about each of our pillars below, or download our brand new (2015) Corporate Brochure for more information!


Co-operative Engagement

Networking, Communication and Relationship Building: Enhancing understanding of co-ops, and providing networking opportunities within the sector.

On Co‑op facilitates information sharing and creates opportunities for co‑operatives to engage, network, exchange ideas and collaborate.

  • On Co-op raises awareness of co-ops across the province and delivers topical information for and about Ontario’s co‑operatives, sector stakeholders and champions, through a variety of media and formats, including its electronic newsletters, website, social media networks, media releases, brochures, co-op guides and FactSheets, face-to-face meetings and other publications.
  • On Co-op provides professional development, education and networking opportunities all across the provincem by organizing workshops, webinars, sector-specific events and co-op assemblies like the provincial Co-op Conference and Celebration.
  • On Co-op strengthens the co-op identity and encourages its members and the larger sector to become part of the provincial and global co-op movement, by adopting and promoting the International Co-oeprative Alliance's Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade, the co-op marque/logo and dot-coop domain
  • On Co-op connects people to co-ops, by providing the province's only searchable database of co-ops, credit unions and caisses populaires.

Co-op Development

Helping all Ontario co-operatives get going ... and growing.

On Co‑op provides for the creation, access to funding and development of Ontario co-operatives and credit unions. Whether emerging, new or existing, small or large, co-ops benefit from our:

Advocacy & Government Relations

Forging and strengthening relationships between the co-op sector and all levels of government.

On Co-op is a co-operative. Through its membership, and the member-organizations of our member-federations, the association represents 85 percent of the English-speaking co-ops and credit unions in Ontario. We are able to speak on behalf of Ontario's co-ops in one loud, clear voice on topics that affect all of our organizations.

On Co‑op’s initiatives build and strengthen government relationships, while championing new programs and regulations that support the growth of co‑ops, by:

  • Facilitating community, regional and provincial roundtables and discussions on challenges and opportunities facing Ontario’s co‑op sector, and determining areas of common interest and need;
  • Advocating for recognition and support within government and the private sector; 
  • Empowering co-ops to self advocate, by accessing our advocacy tools and resources, which help co-ops to meet effectively with their local representatives on issues important to their members and their community;
  • Building awareness for co-ops, by identifying and addressing barriers for a sustainable co-op movement in Ontario;
  • Modernizing co-op legislation, by compiling co-operative case studies to support sector recommendations to legislative changes.

Co-op Education

Sowing the seeds of co-operative education and participation, and teaching future co-op leaders.

On Co‑op is passionately committed to the development and enrichment of co‑operative leaders and the sharing of co‑op knowledge. The association creates and delivers programs and learning resources, including:

  • Fundamentals of Co-operative Organizations Program - offering co-op specific learning, professional development and mentorship throuh a guided 6-month post-secondary program.
  • Co-operative e-Learning Courses - providing 24/7/365 online learning opportunities for those governing, leading, working in or entering the co-op movement.
  • Co‑operative Young Leaders Program (CYL) - creating co-operative teen leadership and engagement experiences.
  • All 4 Each Education Outreach - connecting co-ops and credit unions with their local schools through our "train the trainer" program, which includes a suite of educational resources and presentations.
  • Many other co-operative training and education opportunities and resources, tailored to meet the needs of our diverse audience.


Co-op Principles in Plain Language

Oct 12, 2015 - The co-op principles are the foundation of co-operatives worldwide. To make them more accessible and easy to understand, On Co-op presents a plain-language translation of each of the seven international principles.

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2018 OCA Annual General Meeting

Oct 18, 2018 - 2018 OCA AGM

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Start a Co-op

You're not alone in your quest to start a co-operative business enterprise!  Find out all you need to know about starting a co-op here.

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On Co-op is a trade association and capacity-building organization that develops, engages, educates and advocates for Ontario's co-op businesses.