Although co-operatives are an integral part of the Canadian economy and society, their special contributions and potential are often not fully understood. The Centre undertakes scholarly, often interdisciplinary, research about co-operatives and political, social, and economic issues relating to co-operatives. Research projects are supported by the Centre’s own resources or by external funds from research funding agencies or organizations commissioning particular studies.
In addition to the following featured research projects, be sure to take a look at our collection of RESEARCH OUTCOMES that include a governance portal, a series of Canadian co-op maps, and a couple of virtual exhibits, one about co-ops and the social economy and another about the history of the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool. Get to know more about some of our FEATURED RESEARCHERS.
Current Research Projects
Studying the Social Economy
Linking, Learning, Leveraging: Social Enterprises, Knowledgeable Economies and Sustainable Communities
Directed by Lou Hammond Ketilson, “Linking, Learning, Leveraging” is a substantial five-year, multi-partner research grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. In partnership with the Community-University Institute for Social Research, the Winnipeg Inner City Research Alliance, and the Algoma University Community Economic Development Program, Lou leads a team investigating how social economy enterprises help build more respectful relationships within communities, with the environment, and among stakeholders. The research is expected to conclude in August 2011.
See the Linking, Learning, Leveraging project website for complete information and outcomes.
Selected Completed Research Projects
Co-operatives are important alternative models for business development and service delivery in many places across Canada, particularly low-income, rural, remote, and underserviced communities. In many cases this includes Aboriginal communities. The centre’s research documents the co-operative model and its role in Aboriginal communities and investigates how co-operative models and structures relate to Aboriginal cultures and values. A co-operative is defined by the International Co-operative Alliance as “an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise.” Important research issues in Aboriginal communities include the connections between co-operatives and self-governance as well as the meaning and significance of autonomy and voluntarism, particularly in a reserve context. Research is not about “applying” a non-Aboriginal model to Aboriginal circumstances, but about reassessing the model in light of Aboriginal understandings to determine which elements are culturally dependent and may be adapted. An outcome of research in this area may be to change the general understanding of what a co-operative is and what it does. For information about other Aboriginal research at the University of Saskatchewan, see the webpage describing the Aboriginal Research Gallery.
Small Farmers Adapting to Global Markets Project: Farmers’ Association Development Strategy and Training Program (working title: The China Project)
“The China Project” is directed by Murray Fulton.
Co-operative Membership and Globalization: Creating Social Cohesion through Market Relations
Directed by Brett Fairbairn, “Co-operative Membership and Globalization” is a substantial three-year research grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Strategic Themes program. The project explores the extent to which co-operatives reflect or contribute to social cohesion or a common sense of identity in the communities where they are located. The grant is coordinated through the Centre and includes 15 academic co-investigators and more than 20 community partners.
Co-operatives in Transition
A Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada funded project.
Co-operative Research Inventory Project
A national joint project of the Co-operatives Secretariat, the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives, Centre Interdisciplinaire de Recherche et d’Information sur les Enterprises Collectives (CIRIEC-Canada), Centre de recherche sur les innovations sociales (CRISES), and the British Columbia Institute for Co-operative Studies.
Economic and Social Importance of the Co-operative Sector in Saskatchewan
A 1998 report based on 1996 data.
An Economic Impact Analysis of the Co-operative Sector in Saskatchewan: Update 1998
A 2001 update to the above report based on 1998 data.