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On Co-op's Guide to the Co-operative Corporations Act

Ontario’s Co-operative Corporations Act defines what a co-operative is and dictates how co‑operatives must operate. However, because the Act is legislation, written by parliamentarians and lawyers, it uses specialized terms that can be confusing to people outside the legal profession. That’s why On Co-op has written a Guide to the Act — to present the requirements of the Act in plain, accessible language.

At almost 200 pages long, On Co-op's Guide is comprehensive without being overwhelming. It explains the details of the Act, and includes advice about the procedures and protocols that define the operations of co-operatives, along with comments on how certain provisions may be used.

The On Co-op's Guide to the Co-operative Corporations Act includes all recent changes to the Act and Regulation 178. It is available in a searchable e-version (PDF format) and a soft-cover hard copy. The Guide is available in English only. Pricing and availability is below.

  • To learn more about the Legislative and Regulatory environment for co-operatives in Ontario, register for On Co-op's online course "The Legislative and Regulatory Framework", (giving you 24/7/365 learning access via computer). This e-learning course includes the following topics: Regulatory and legislative requirements; Governing a co-operative; Maintaining a co-operative; Financing a co-operative; Membership in a co-operative; Changing and dissolving a co-operative.
  • Details on how to register for the course, and additional information is found at This is one of 10 e-learning courses created by On Co-op.
  • On Co-op also maintains a library of more than 30 co-op related FactSheets. Search for all of the FactSheets using  the 'Documents and Downloads' option from the menu bar up top.




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 *Hard Copy versions include delivery via Purolator to Ontario addresses. (Cannot be a P.O. Box)

**DISCOUNTS FOR THE ON CO-OP MEMBERSHIP: Most anglophone credit unions and co-operatives in Ontario are either direct dues-paying members of On Co-op (such as The Co-operators, Ag Energy, Gay Lea Foods, London Brewing Co-op or Community CarShare), or indirect members by being part of a federation that is a member of On Co-op (i.e., MOMO). 
MOMO pricing is available for the co-operative organizations that belong to member federations including Central 1 Credit Union, CHF Canada, CWCF/OWCF, GROWMARK, Inc., PCPC, OSEA and Ontario Student Co-operative Association.

For a list of our current membership, see our Membership List.


To use our online order form, please click HERE! Otherwise, please contact Lee at 888.745.5521 x. 27.

  1. For bulk orders of 10 or more electronic or print copies of the Guide, please contact On Co-op directly.
  2. Payment is by VISA or MasterCARD only.
  3. You will be contacted to provide credit card details over the phone to complete your order.
  4. Once your card has been processed you will recieve a confirmation email with your electronic guide as well as your receipt.
  5. If you order a printed guide it will be shipped within a few days via Purolator.  You will recieve confirmation, receipt and tracking info via email..
  6. REFUNDS: You may request a refund at any time up until your credit card has been processed. After your credit card has been processed, NO REFUNDS ARE POSSIBLE.


Who should own a copy of the Guide?

Every head office of every co-operative operating in Ontario should have a copy of On Co-op's Guide to the Act. This Guide will be useful for many people, including:

  • Senior employees of co-operatives
  • Co-operative Board Chairs/presidents, board members and committee members
  • Co‑operative federations and associations
  • Professionals such as lawyers, accountants and others with co‑op clients
  • Business enterprise and business start-up or counselling centres
  • Co-operative developers
  • Funders and financers of co‑operatives
  • Individuals or groups considering incorporating as a co-operative business enterprise

What is included in On Co-op’s Guide to the Act?

For ease of use, the major sections of the Guide match those of Ontario’s Co-operative Corporations Act (“the Act”). Relevant parts of the Act are shown throughout the Guide.


1. Starting and Incorporating a Co-op

  • Why incorporate
  • Articles, bylaws and policies
  • What is in the Articles of Incorporation?
  • Special rules for worker, non-profit housing and multistakeholder co-operatives
  • To whom do you submit your incorporation documents?
  • What are policies?
  • Decisions your organization should make before filing for incorporation

2. Governing a Co-op

  • The powers of a co-op
  • The board of directors
  • Directors’ liability and conflict of interest

3. Maintaining a Co-op

  • Keeping your identity and co-op status secure
  • Conducting business with members
  • Records and files
  • The co-op’s financial statements
  • Investigating co-op status and affairs

4. Financing Co-ops

  • What does capital mean?
  • With share capital or without share capital
  • Share capital co-ops
  • Issues of shares and transfers of membership shares
  • Selling, redeeming and surrendering shares
  • Non-share capital co-ops
  • Offering statements: Raising capital
  • Surplus, profit and distribution

5. Membership in a Co-op

  • How is membership determined?
  • Withdrawal by members or removal of members
  • Member rights and obligations
  • Court-ordered meetings
  • Limited liability of members
  • Members’ meetings

6. Changing a Co-op

  • Changing the way the co-op does business or identifies itself
  • What Articles of Amendment are required to change a co-op?
  • Other changes

7. Shutting Down a Co-op

  • The co-op is going to dissolve. What needs to be done?


1. Special Rules and Resources for…

  • Non-Profit Housing Co-ops
  • Worker Co-ops
  • Multistakeholder Co-operatives

2. Glossary

  • The guide includes a glossary giving definitions of terms found in the Act.

What does the Act govern?

The Ontario Co-operative Corporations Act governs all co-operatives incorporated in the province of Ontario, with the exception of credit unions and caisses populaires, which are regulated under a different piece of legislation, the Credit Unions and Caisses Populaires Act.

A number of regulations are associated with the Co-operative Corporations Act. They provide additional detail about aspects of the Act related to the incorporation, conduct and dissolution of co-operatives.

The Act is administered by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO), an agency of the Ontario Ministry of Finance.


Guide to Co-op Act written in plain, accessible language

Oct 14, 2015 - On Co-op has created a Guide to Ontario’s Co-operative Corporations Act. The Guide explains the details of the Act, and includes advice about the procedures and protocols that define the operations of co-operatives. The Guide also includes a number of…

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