For Immediate Release
October 19, 2021


SASKATOON, SK, — Frontline employees with the Government of Canada now have access to training about the co-op model, thanks to non-profit organization Co-operatives First and the Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.

Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada (ISED) contracted Co-operatives First, in partnership with the Centre, to create the Co-ops in Canada online course. ISED will share the course to help frontline staff better understand co-operatives, how they work, how they are different, and their impact on the Canadian economy.

“Research shows there is limited awareness of the co-op model,” said Audra Krueger, Executive Director of Co-operatives First. “This includes government officials and other professionals whose work may involve assisting people who want to start co-operatives. The goal of this training is to introduce those people to the basics of the model and its benefits, so they can help people set up co-ops.”

Though Co-ops in Canada was created for government employees, it is also open to the public. The free course is available in English and French and is suitable for professionals like lawyers, accountants, economic development officers, funders, and consultants.

The course is available through and takes approximately three to four hours to complete. Participants will receive a certificate of completion.

Media contact
Audra Krueger
Executive Director, Co-operatives First

Background Information
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 feasibility studies, business plans, 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.

“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