Co-operatives First receives federal funds from PrairiesCan to increase childcare co-operatives across the Prairies

Saskatoon, SK – Co-operatives First is proud to announce it will receive support under the Community Economic Development and Diversification (CEDD) program from Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan). The funding support of over $282,000 will be used to help groups create much-needed childcare co-operatives across Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Alberta.

This investment will have a significant impact on economies across the prairie provinces, supporting Co-operatives First as they work with rural and Indigenous communities to develop new childcare co-operatives that will allow parents to increase their participation in the workforce. As licensed facilities, these new co-ops will be eligible for the Government of Canada’s $10/day childcare initiative.

“The benefits of accessible and reliable early childhood education are clear — creating a larger pool of workers employers can recruit from, providing more parents with the opportunity to participate in training and jobs, allowing for a faster return to the workforce, and preparing children for their futures,” said the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister for PrairiesCan. “For all these reasons, our government is committed to ensuring that families in the Prairies have access to high-quality, affordable, and flexible early learning and childcare. We are happy to partner with Co-operatives First to make that goal a reality.”

“In working with clients to start childcare co-ops, we have found that engaging multiple stakeholders – like municipal administrations and First Nations – is a great way to create sustainable organizations without putting the pressure on parents to do it themselves,” said Co-operatives First’s Executive Director, Audra Krueger. “We want to help more communities use this unique and successful approach to create the childcare centres they need to fully realize their economic potential.”

For more information contact:

Aasa Marshall

Director of Communications, Co-operatives First




Co-operatives First is a non-profit organization funded by Federated Co-operatives Limited and the Co-operative Retailing System. Founded in 2015, the organization provides co-op start-up resources, such as business coaching and incorporation support, to rural and Indigenous co-op entrepreneurs across western Canada. Our goal is to help leaders in these communities build new businesses, grow local economies, and support community development.

PrairiesCan is the department that diversifies the economy across the Canadian Prairies and leads in building a strong, competitive Canadian economy by supporting business, innovation, and community economic development unique to Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Alberta. Through the CEDD program, PrairiesCan makes targeted investments that aim to generate sustainable, inclusive economic growth and help communities across the Prairies fully participate in and benefit from economic opportunities.

“Heather and the team at Co-operatives First are top-notch. Not only their knowledge but their understanding of the project. They have truly helped us along every step of the way. Their timely response and knowledge of the steps are extraordinary. They are forthcoming with information. This is one of the most knowledgeable and friendliest teams I have ever had the pleasure of working with.”

Weyburn Theatre

“Co-operatives First made the process of establishing our Artisan Co-operative a very clear and easy process. The expanse of available tools and resources provided by Co-operatives First answers many questions and lightens the workload. Greatly appreciate having the connections made with Trista and Kyle, they keep the co-operative moving forward.”

Nehiyawaskiy Indigenous Peoples Art Co-op

“Our experience working with the Co-operatives First team was absolutely fabulous. The staff was accommodating, knowledgeable and patient. It was truly a breath of fresh air to have such a wealth of skill and resources available to a non-profit. They were invaluable to our successful launch!”

Heart Linked Community Services Cooperative

“Working with Co-operatives First was fantastic! We are still new to the cooperative world, and we relied heavily on their advice and expertise when drafting our rules/bylaws, and our memorandum of association. The team has experience with many different cooperative models, so they provided advice on what has and hasn’t worked for other cooperatives. We wouldn’t have been able to incorporate without their help!”

Ananda Cooperative

“We have had a very positive experience with everyone at Co-operatives First. They have helped us in multiple ways. Right from the first step in knowing how to incorporate, how to set our business and offering ideas for us to help steer us in the right direction plus allowing us to really make our own decisions. If our decisions go off track, they have gently guided us back to where we needed to be. The Co-operatives first guys are always eager to answer questions, and give ideas to us that got us off the ground.”

South East Butcher Block