Co-operative Development Program (CDP)

As a third-tier co-operative, we have long recognized the valuable contributions that co-operatives have made to our own growth and development. Since 1992, The Co-operators has administered a program of grants dedicated to emerging and expanding co-operatives. Over $2.6 million has been provided to co-operatives across Canada through this unique program.

This program has encouraged the viability and growth of co-operatives that are responding to the collective needs of Canadians. We are proud of our efforts to support strong, vibrant co-operatives in Canada.

Aligned with our commitment to helping build more resilient and sustainable communities, we highly encourage co-operatives that operate in the following sectors to consider applying for CDP funding.
(Co-operatives operating in sectors not listed below are still welcome to apply)

  • Social Wellness (i.e. co-ops focused on mental well-being; social care)
  • Inclusive Economy (i.e. co-ops that provide financial security for their workers/members; co-ops providing skills/training for marginalized individuals; co-ops offering affordable consumer products)
  • Environmental Prosperity (i.e. renewable energy co-ops; alternative transportation co-ops)

Applying for funding

Applications are available starting January 4, 2021, and will be accepted until March 31, 2021, before 11:59 p.m. (Eastern Time). Co-operatives interested in applying or requesting more information are invited to email us.

To be eligible for a grant, organizations must be legally incorporated as a co-operative at the time of their application and include their articles of incorporation with their application.

CDP grants are made to cover costs associated with co-operative business development, including feasibility studies and market research, business planning, marketing and promotion, member engagement, and legal and financial supports. We do NOT provide financial assistance for:

  • Capital expenditures
  • Ongoing operational expenses
  • Insurance
  • Scholarships
  • University or College courses and programs
  • Conferences
  • Travel
  • Fund-raising initiatives
  • Deficit reduction
  • Retroactive expenses

The maximum grant amount available is $20,000 (this amount must not represent more than 50% of the project / initiative budget).

Recent examples of Co-operative Development Program success stories:

West Boundary Community Services Co-operative Association (Rock Creek, BC) received a grant which helped this new non-profit community service co-op with early-stage business planning, in relation to a new community hub development that was recently completed in Rock Creek. This building provides meeting space for local groups, along with the services of a local credit union. Notably this community didn’t have a financial institution for over 90 years.

Sun Certified Builders Co-operative (SCBC), (Winnipeg, MB) received a grant which was used to support a proof of study for the manufacture and shipping of a high-performance energy efficient wall system. With grant support from the Co-operative Development Program the SCBC feasibility study provided guidance for the development of their business plan. Today the organization participates in industry events to support knowledge building and bring awareness about efficient building benefits.