Canadian Co-operative Governance Survey

Co-ops and Credit Unions: 2023 Report from the Board Room is now available!

Canadian Co-operative Governance Survey

Canadian Co-operative Governance Wave 2 Survey Report

At the core of every successful co-operative lies an effective governance structure that ensures democratic member control, equitable participation, representation, and expertise. However, governance is not a “one-size-fits-all” practice. The knowledge, skills, experiences, and composition of the directors, combined with specific governance practices such as succession plans, board evaluation processes, and board recruitment strategies, contribute to the effectiveness of governance in each organization. While there has been an increase in educational training opportunities and resources to support governance among co-operatives, research has shown that co-operatives continue to lack quality data to benchmark their governance practices. 

In 2019, in response to this need, the Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives – with generous support from UFA – developed and launched the first wave of the Canadian Co-operative Governance SurveyThe goals of this survey were to:

  1. Gather data on governance practices among Canadian co-operatives and credit unions in order to develop a tool to benchmark their governance practices as compared to those of their peers.
  2. Collect comprehensive, robust, and longitudinal data on governance practices that would allow co-operatives to reflect over time on the governance practices of their organizations and those of their peers.

You can read the full Wave 1 report here

After a successful first wave of the survey in its initial pilot phase, the Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives launched the second wave of the survey. The second wave of the survey aimed to gather more and more diverse organizations, and to expand the survey and explore additional dimensions of co-operative governance. A total of 114 co-operatives shared information about several aspects of their corporate governance practices. 

Governance Benchmarking Dashboard

Through the Canadian Co-operative Governance Survey, the Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives developed and launched the Canadian Co-operative Governance Dashboard in 2022, where all participating organizations of the survey can access and benchmark their governance practices with their peers at no cost. You can access this benchmarking tool here (please note: only respondents of the survey can access the benchmarking tool for now).

Click below to watch the webinar on how to use the Canadian Co-operative Governance Dashboard.

Cooperative Governance Research in the United States

In the United States, a similar effort to explore governance practices within co-operatives has been spearheaded by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Cooperatives. The 2021 CGRI survey yielded responses from 500 cooperatives.  

Their 2021 report, “Findings from the Cooperative Governance Research Initiative” can be found here.

A more focused report on agricultural cooperatives can be found here