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What is a Co-operative?

The word co-operative as an adjective means working or acting together willingly for a common purpose or benefit. A Co-operative, as an organization, is a group of people who come together to achieve a common purpose and for their own benefit.

A co-operative is a legally incorporated organization that is owned by its members, who use the co-operative's services or purchase their products. They can and do provide virtually every product or service, and can be either for-profit or non-profit enterprises. 

There are many different types of co-operatives operating across Canada and throughout the world. A community co-operative has community goals that are broader than meeting the needs of its members, the benefit to individual members is that they can participate in the creation and operation of initiatives  that are of interest to them and bring benefit to the broader community.

Co-operatives around the world share the same seven principles; as defined by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA)

  • Voluntary and Open Membership

  • Democratic Member Control

  • Members' Economic Participation

  • Autonomy and Independence

  • Education, Training, and Information

  • Cooperation Among Cooperatives

  • Concern for Community.


Haliburton County Community Co-Operative Inc.

The Haliburton County Community Co-operative is a unique model of community organizing and governance that provides support and infrastructure for a wide range of community-based initiatives.

The HCCC was formed in November 1998 with a mandate to encourage, develop and support entrepreneurial initiatives that contribute to the social, cultural, environmental and economic well-being of Haliburton County and its residents. The Co-op grew out of the discussions of a diverse group of community members who came together to investigate how to create new wealth in the community that could be re-invested in initiatives that benefit the community.

Any individual can become a member of the HCCC for an annual membership fee of $5.00. The board of directors meet once a month to deal with the business of the Co-op and consider new initiatives.

Each of the initiatives or parts of the Co-op has its own management committee that is responsible for planning and managing its affairs.

There are many talented and creative people in Haliburton County who have great ideas for new projects and initiatives that will benefit the community. It takes a lot of time, energy, resources, and expertise to get a great idea up and running. That is where the Co-op comes in. The Co-op provides the following support for projects and initiatives started by its members:

  • Assistance with project and business plan development,

  • Non-profit incorporated status,

  • Insurance (directors’ liability, commercial liability, comprehensive etc.),

  • Support in acquiring financing and funding,

  • Support with fostering appropriate partnerships (community, provincial and federal),

  • Support with grant-writing and accessing sources of funding,

  • Book keeping and accounting services (if required),

  • Advice and support from a board of directors,

  • Connections with other Co-op members.

  • Opportunities for sharing resources and equipment


Initiatives supported by the Co-op must be consistent with the Co-op's mandate and be run by a group of individuals who are members of the Co-op. Each initiative has its own management committee that has a broad scope of authority to manage its own affairs. A co-op board member acts as a liaison between each management committee and the Co-op board of directors. A terms of reference is in place for each management committee which outlines their scope of authority and the responsibilities of the committee and the board of the Co-op.


This structure allows a motivated group of community members to “hit the ground running” with their initiative without having to worry about the process of incorporating, acquiring insurance or creating a board of directors.


Although the management committee for each Co-op initiative has a broad scope of authority and a lot of autonomy, it is still a part of the Co-op. All assets are assets of the Co-op (since the Co-op is the incorporated entity). Each part of the Co-op contributes 8% of its gross revenue to support central administration costs. This includes insurance for all activities, bookkeeping, staffing costs (the Co-op has staff support 1 ½ days a week for bookkeeping and administrations tasks).


The Co-op currently has 19 initiatives. Nine of these initiatives are focused on the arts, two are community festivals, one is a community-based research centre that works with all sectors of the community, and seven are focused on promoting healthy, active communities through active transportation planning, physical activity and promotion of local food.


There is a board of nine directors and over 100 volunteers serving on the various management committees of the Co-op initiatives.   


Objectives of the Co-op

  1. The Co-op will support local initiatives that reflect the interest of its members and benefit the community at large.

  2. The Co-op’s activities will promote the social, economic, cultural and environmental well-being of Haliburton County.

  3. The Co-op will support the creation and presentation of the arts in Haliburton County.


Board of Directors

  • Jim Blake – President

  • Barrie Martin – Vice President

  • Carolynn Coburn – Secretary/Treasurer

  • Jack Brezina        

  • Eric Lilius

  • Pamela Marsales

  • Tammy Rea

  • Kay Millard

  • Amy Brohm

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