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Co-operative (Co-op) A co-operative is an enterprise that is equally owned by its members who share the benefi ts of co-operation, based on how much they use the co-operative’s services.5 Th e co-ops are generally classifi ed into four types:
• Consumer Co-op: This provides products or services to its members (such as a retail co-op, housing, health-care or child-care co-op)
• Producer Co-op: This processes and markets the goods or services produced by its members, and supplies products or services necessary to the members’ professional activities (such as independent entrepreneurs, artisans, or farmers)
• Worker Co-op: This provides employment for its members. In this co-op, the employees are members and owners of the enterprise.
• Multi-Stakeholder Co-op: This serves the needs of different stakeholder groups—such as employees, clients, and other interested individuals and organizations (examples include health, home care and other social enterprises)
Th ere are more than 18 million members in Canada, which means every four out of ten Cana- dians are members of a co-op. Th ere are various key benefi ts of co-op such as to help producers compete eff ectively in the marketplace, to server rural and remote communities, to develop com- munity leadership, to build social capital and to promote local ownership and control.