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Canada's SMEs, Business Succession, and Conversion
to Co-operatives*

The business conversion to co-operative (BCC) model is a viable solution for succession and closing firms for saving jobs, keeping businesses open, and preserving the economic capacity of communities.

But most SME owners (as well as governments, unions, employees, economic development organizations, and most Canadians) do not know about the BCC option. This is a lost opportunity for saving these businesses and jobs. The SME Report includes SME business owner survey results looking into the retirement intentions of Canada's SME owners, issues related to Covid-19, attitudes towards co-operatives and conversion to co-ops and recommendations for SME owners, policymakers, the co-op sector, and business transition professionals.

Lots of SME owners will be retiring in the coming years across Canada, but only 14% of retiring SME owners having a solid succession plan. This means many of Canada’s 1.2 million small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) could be in trouble over the coming years. Plus, Canada’s SMEs are challenged further by the pandemic crisis, as thousands have already permanently closed. This scenario risks hundreds of thousands of jobs and the loss of economic capacity in local communities across Canada.

*Report research lead Marcelo Vieta. Report written by Marcelo Vieta, Derya Tarhan, Fiona Duguid, & Claude-André Guillotte, with research support by Modus Research & Dionne Pohler.

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