Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

May 21, 2009 15:28 ET

Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn Announces an Enhanced Co-Operative Development Initiative

LEVIS, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - May 21, 2009) - The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture) today announced that funding for the Co-operative Development Initiative (CDI) has been renewed and enhanced for the next four years through March 31, 2013. This $19.1 million investment will enable Canadians to continue to establish new co-operatives and test innovative methods for using the co-operative model to meet the socio-economic challenges of today and tomorrow.

"Co-operatives have long contributed to local economic development, especially in rural and remote areas, where they create jobs and provide essential goods and services," said Minister Blackburn. "Now more than ever, I believe that the co-operative development model is a viable option to provide services and results for Canadians."

The Government of Canada through the Co-operatives Secretariat will partner with the co-operative sector to implement an enhanced CDI, made up of three very specific components. Advisory Services will improve access to co-operative development information and services that will assist in the formation of new co-operatives. The "Innovative Co-operative Projects" component will assist in financing projects that respond to the needs of communities. Research and Knowledge Development component will focus on new applied research and the sharing of information necessary to support further sustainable development for co-operatives.

"The Co-operative Development Initiative along with the sister program Agricultural Co-operative Development Initiative have yielded results for Canadians," said Minister Blackburn. "We want to work with our partners in the co-operative sector, the Canadian Co-operative Association and the Conseil canadien de la cooperation et de la mutualite, to advance the co-op model even more in the future."

"To invest in co-operatives is to invest in a sustainable economic solution for our communities. This program will help co-ops get their ideas off the ground and ensure they have the required knowledge and support and connections to succeed and to serve their members well into the future," says Brigitte Gagne, Executive Director of the Conseil canadien de la cooperation et de la mutualite.

"By renewing and enhancing CDI, the government has recognized the value that co-operatives bring to Canada's economy," said Carol Hunter, Executive Director of the Canadian Co-operative Association."

Since it was established in 2003, CDI has supported over 1,500 co-op projects and helped to create over 200 new co-operatives. The program has also allowed for testing new kinds of co-operatives and undertaking research projects to understand how co-operatives can contribute to regional economic development. The Agricultural component of CDI, put in place in 2006, provided support to more than 60 new and emerging value-added agricultural co-ops.

To learn more about the Co-operative Development Initiative, please visit the site.

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Media Relations
    The Office of the Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn
    Sophie Doucet
    Press Secretary
    Office: 613-947-7298
    Cell: 613-608-3252