The Newfoundand-Labrador Federation of Co-operatives (NLFC) is the provincial association that represents co-operatives and credit unions in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL). Our mission is to promote the use of the co-operative business model and to support the continued growth and development of the existing co-op sector. We are the unifying voice for the sector in the province, providing a “common table” through which our members can work together to address their collective needs.
We are one of a network of provincial co-op associations in Canada that are linked through Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC), the country’s national co-operative sector association. NLFC's member co-operatives and credit unions are therefore part of this national network which works together to support the growth and development of the co-operatives sector in NL, across Canada and around the world.
We unite the sector and represent the collective interests of our member co-ops and credit unions through interactions with other co-op organizations; provincial/federal governments; and developmental agencies.
We inform and educate our members, government, other agencies and the general public about the benefits of being members of co-ops and credit unions and the important role they play in the community development process.
We support the growth of existing co-ops and credit unions and assist groups interested in pursuing the development of new co-ops in the province.
NLFC member co-ops and credit unions provide services for thousands of their members in communities across the province. We are also affiliated with a number of other provincial, regional and national co-op and credit union organizations that support the growth and development of the sector in the province. Examples are provided below. Visit their websites for further details regarding their locations and services they provide.
All co-ops and credit unions in the province are eligible to become members of the NLFC. Other organizations that support the NLFC's mandate may become associate members. The NLFC partners with the Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation (TCII) to deliver services that contribute to the growth and success of the existing co-op sector in the province. These services include:
Opportunities to connect with other local co-ops, credit unions; sector organizations; government; and other agencies through our communications networks.
Access to news and information regarding the co-op sector and programs and services to support their business needs.
Research and advisory support particularly in relation to project planning; government and public relations; and governance and legislative compliance.
Access to online presentations, workshops and training modules focusing on co-op basics; board roles and responsibilities; and other related topics.
Partnerships with other NLFC members, government and other agencies to facilitate delivery of enhanced sector promotion, education and development services.
Through our partnership with The Co-operators, members of the NLFC have access to insurance plans specifically designed for co-operatives and for individual members of your co-op.
Co-op Guard combines all the protection your co-operative needs in one complete package. Each co-op has its own unique needs so you cantailor the coverage to you at an affordable price. Coverages range from essential liability coverages like Commercial General Liability and Blanket Accident Insurance to more specialty liability coverages like Directors and Officer's Liability and Privacy Breach. Co-operatives can also access employee benefit programs through Co-op Guard.
Member Benefits Program provides individual members of your co-op access to exclusive, value-added coverage savings for a wide range of products. To learn more how your members can get more through the Member Benefits Program, contact your local Co-operators Financial Advisor.
CO-OP DEVELOPMENT SERVICES
The NLFC also partners with TCII to jointly deliver services to support the development of new co-ops in the province. These services are available at the community level for people who wish to consider the formation of a new co-op to meet their collective service requirements. They include the following:
Introductory information about the co-op business sector and the role co-ops and credit unions play in supporting economic and social development in the province.
Educational workshops which provide an overview of the co-op business model, the existing sector; and the co-op development process.
Co-op development advice to assist groups with the development and incorporation of new co-op enterprises.
Repayable equity and loan financing to supplement member investments in newly developing co-operatives (up to $15,000 for eligible co-ops).
Operational advice for newly establshed co-ops including board roles and responsibilities; governance and policy development; and strategic planning processes.
CO-OP SECTOR (NL)
There are over 100 co-operative enterprises operating in the province. They are owned by thousands of members that use the services they provide. For example, there are nine credit unions which deliver services for their members at over 35 community locations. Other co-ops operate in a variety business sectors including:
Fish harvesting, processing and marketing.
Agricultural production and marketing.
Housing and community development services.
Retail sales and services.
Child care and services for youth.
Filmmaking and crafts poduction.
Health care and services for seniors
Some co-operatives that operate in NL are based in other parts of of the world. Examples in Canada include the Co-operators Group, which provides insurance and investment services through over 20 offices across the province; and Mountain Equipment Co-op which provides on line purchasing of outdoor/recreational gear for thousands of members in NL. Internationally, co-operatives such as Ocean Spray and Sunkist provide a variety of products and services that are available in the province.
As with other types of business, co-ops and credit unions have operating expenses and must generate revenue from the services they provide. They must be financially self-sustaining and provide quality services for their members. However, they operate differently from private sector enterprises in a number of important ways:
Unlike private sector companies co-ops and credit unions are democratically controlled. Each member has one vote in the decision making process, regardless of how many shares held.
Profits generated may be returned to members based on the extent to which they have used co-op/credit union services. This is different from privately owned corporations where profit distribution is based on the number of shares held.
Co-ops and credit unions are regulated by their own unique legislative frameworks, which are different from that which governs private sector enterprises.
The co-operative model is an innovative and flexible business structure that can be applied to any business opportunity in any sector of the economy. It is also commonly used for delivery of community and social services on a non-profit basis. Co-ops and credit unions are considered to be an integral part of this province's social enterprise sector. Because they put a priority on member service rather than profit they have a longer survival rate than private sector businesses. Thousands of people in the province are members and owners of co-ops and credit unions because they are locally controlled and primarily focused on meeting member and community needs.
Not a member of a co-op or credit union? Want to get involved? Click below and find out how!
Learn more about co-ops and credit unions and how they can benefit you and your community... The NFC, in partnership with TCII, offers introductory information sessions and workshops on the co-op business model and how it benefits people and communities in NL. Contact us for more information.
Participate by joining an existing co-op or credit union and/or by buying products and services produced by co-ops that are accessible to you…For example, every consumer in NL has the opportunity to become a member of a credit union, or to buy insurance from a co-op. The NLFC in partnership with TCII, can provide more information regarding these and other membership opportunities. .
Create a new co-op with other like-minded individuals to meet your collective services requirements. Co-ops can facilitate delivery of services for small businesses and can provide social and community development services as not for profit enterprises. They are also an important component of the social enterprise sector. The NLFC can assist in identifying opportunities to establish new co-ops and help with the development process. Contact us for more information.
In 2017 the NLFC renewed its partnership with the Provincial Government to jointly deliver services that contribute to the growth and development of the co-operative sector in NL. The five-year partnership agreement includes the following services:
A regional advisory network to respond to requests for assistance from local co-ops and credit unions and to facilitate the co-op development process.
Small loans or equity investments for existing and newly developing co-ops in order to leverage additional project financing requirements.
Delivery of co-op education and development workshops, free of charge, through TCII’s Community Capacity Building program.
Co-op business assessment and advisory services through TCII’s Business Retention and Expansion program.