Frequently Asked Questions
July 20, 2018
Have questions about Co-op? We have answers!
- What is Co-op?
The CO-OP® brand is used by a network of retail co-operative associations across Western Canada that own and operate Co-op Agro Centres, Food Stores, Gas Bars/Convenience Stores, Home Centres, Liquor Stores, Pharmacies and more.
- Who owns and operates Co-op?
Every Co-op is owned by its members, who democratically elect a Board of Directors. The Board of Directors works with management to operate the business.
- Why is every Co-op store different?
Co-ops differ from community to community because they serve the unique needs of their local members.
- How is Co-op different from other businesses?
A co-operative is a different way of doing business. It’s about people coming together in their communities for a common purpose. It provides the products and services that meet their needs.
- What is a co-operative?
The International Co-operative Alliance defines a co-operative 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.
- Do I need to be a member to shop at Co-op?
Customers do not need a membership to shop at Co-op locations.
- Who can become a member?
While requirements may vary, membership is generally open to any individual over 16 years of age and businesses.
- How do I become a member?
It’s easy to become a member. Complete a Membership Application at your local Co-op location and purchase a share(s) of the Co-op.
- How much are Co-op shares?
The price of shares vary between Co-op and can range from $5 to $25, which is refundable should you wish to end your membership.
- What is a Co-op number?
Once your application is submitted, you will receive a Co-op number to use when making purchases at your local Co-op’s locations. This number tracks purchases and is used to determine potential cash back or equity.
- Can I use my Co-op number at all locations?
A Co-op number represents your membership and can only be used at locations operated by the individual Co-op assigning the number. Because each Co-op is a unique business that is locally owned and operated, run by a local board of directors, your Co-op number cannot be used across Western Canada. However, you can purchase shares in as many co-op associations as you wish.
- What is Equity? How does it work? How do I earn a share of the profits?
By buying and retaining a membership in Mid Island Co-op, you are a part owner. Each time you make a purchase at one of our gas bars, cardlocks, and convenience or liquor stores and give your membership number, your purchase amount is recorded. At the end of the fiscal year, based on the financial performance of your Co-op, a portion of your purchases may be returned in the form of an equity allocation. As a member owner the more you purchase, the more you can receive back in a combination of equity and cashback.
- What does my 2019 patronage return cover?
This year, Mid Island Co-op Board of Directors approved an allocation to the membership of 5.25% on Fuel Purchases and 4.50% on Convenience and Liquor Store purchases for a total of over $6.2 million in patronage rebate cheques being returned to members. 60% of this allocation will be paid in cash and 40% will allotted to your equity share account. Mid Island Co-op’s 2019 fiscal year ran from February 3, 2019 to February 1, 2020. All purchases made during this period will be used to calculate your rebate.
- When and how will I receive my return?
Your equity statement and rebate cheque (if you made sufficient purchases this past year) will be mailed to you via Canada Post between May 15 and June 15, 2020. It will be sent to the address you provided to us. You must then cash the cheque with your financial institution. If you made purchases of less than $400 last year (approximate), a cheque will not be issued. Instead, the equity amount earned will be added to your equity shares. If you have not received your cheque by June 15, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Does my patronage return cheque expire?
Under the Canadian Payments Association rules, a cheque is considered stale-dated after six months, and your financial institution does not have to cash it after this time. Any patronage return cheques that remain uncashed after six months will be cancelled and the amount returned to the member’s equity share account. Unfortunately, we are unable to reissue a patronage return cheque once it has been stale-dated.
- How come I only received a portion of my equity as a patronage return cheque. What happens to the rest?
The remainder of your equity not returned to you as cash via a patronage rebate cheque, stays in your share account with Mid Island Co-op. Members who reach the maximum equity level of $1800 will have 100% of the patronage returned to them each year in cash. The equity that members retain in the Co-op helps to finance the co-op’s operations, and to maintain and upgrade assets to ensure the Co-op’s ongoing success.
- Why do you require my Social Insurance Number?
Your Social Insurance Number is required under the Income Tax Act for tax reporting purposes. Similar to some financial investments, cashback or equity distributed to Co-op members is considered taxable income. Your local Co-op may issue a T4A form in advance of filing deadlines.