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Business Conversion to
Co-operatives in Canada:
A Landscape Report*

A serious issue looms over the Canadian economy: the potential for large-scale permanent business closures due to the growing number of owners nearing retirement but without a formal business succession plan. One option in Canada to save these businesses and the jobs they provide is to sell them to employees or community stakeholders and convert them to co-operatives. However, while over 400 co-operatives emerging from processes of business conversions to co-operatives (BCCs) have existed in Canada, this option is mostly overlooked throughout the country, resulting in a lost opportunity for communities, its businesses, and its working people.

Until the Co-opConvert project, BCCs had not been uniformly and systematically studied or understood from a Canadian context, nor had the reasons for the stark differences in numbers between BCCs in Quebec and their rarity in the rest of Canada been adequately analyzed. This report assesses some of these reasons and contextualizes Canada's BCCs. This report also shows evidence for further promoting BCC policy and practice in the rest of Canada as pathways to employee and community ownership and for business succession strategies

*Report written by Marcelo Vieta, Josée Charbonneau, & Fiona Duguid (January 2024)

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