Economic Impact of the Co-operative Sector in Ontario (2010)

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Karaphillis, George
Duguid, Fiona
Lake, Alicia
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Ontario Co-operative Association
The co-operative sector is well-known as an economic powerhouse globally, and is increasingly recognized as significant in the Canadian economy both nationally and in specific Canadian jurisdictions. This paper demonstrates the size and economic impact of the co-operative sector in the province of Ontario. Analysis shows that the value-added GDP impact of the co-op sector in Ontario is $5.9 billion yearly. Furthermore, the sector injects $3.3 billion into household income and $1.3 billion in taxes paid at all levels of government. In terms of employment, the sector is responsible for providing over 57,000 jobs (full time equivalents) in the province. We find in the analysis that the co-operative sector in Ontario is approximately 1% of the total economy (value-add GDP). We also find in this paper that the co-operative sector in Ontario is involved in a diverse range of industries. The highest number of co-operatives are in housing and child care services and this is also where there are also many members. The insurance, finance, agriculture and wholesale industries are the economic drivers for the co-operative sector in Ontario. In this paper we examine the trends in co-operatives and credit unions over the last seven years in Ontario and provide a profile of the sector in this province. From this data we find that the co-op sector in Ontario is diverse in nature and declining slightly in most economic indicators. This paper also draws on the relative literature to complete our understanding of co-operatives in Ontario. Using data from the Industry Canada’s Canadian Co-operative Annual Survey, the credit union system and individual co-operatives and applying economic modeling frameworks, this analysis determines the direct, indirect and induced impacts of co-operatively run enterprises in the province.