Why Choose ACCA

2015 Director Handbook Cover

Why we’re here…

The Alberta Community and Co-operative Association works for the development and promotion of co-operatives across Alberta. So what’s a co-operative? If you’re familiar with “co-operation” you’ll think of working together, of bettering yourself and helping to better others – by co-operating! That concept is also a business model, we call it the co-op model. It’s a way structuring an enterprise so that it is owned by the people who use and benefit from the services it offers. Co-operatives are locally owned and democratically controlled, and they’re found in virtually every industry in our province and around the world.

More than one million Albertans choose to be a member of a co-operative; some live in co-op housing, others bank with a credit union, some may buy their groceries or gas at a co-op, or their farm supplies or camping gear, and others may get their electricity, internet or water through a co-op. 2014 CMC ParliamentaryReceptionThey can be found in rural and urban communities, being guided by a board of directors that is elected by their local members. Like any business when it’s profitable, it shares the profits with its shareholders; in the case of co-operatives, those shareholders happen to be the everyday members who live, work and shop here in Alberta.

We’re an apex organization and not-for-profit co-op, ACCA helps people learn about co-operatives and why they’re so important to our economy and quality of life. So, who is interested in our economy and quality of life?

Some of the groups we talk to about Alberta’s Co-operative Advantage are:
… municipalities and the provincial government
… economic development organizations
… business schools and universities
… passionate youth leaders who may be in grade school
… recent post-secondary grads who may be underemployed

Our members and stakeholders work together to build a better province by putting people’s social and economic well-being at the forefront of their businesses and projects.

What do we do?

ACCA’s mission is to strengthen Alberta communities by providing leadership development and fostering co-operative values. Co-operative values encourage co-operation, they are traits like democracy and solidarity, and also self-help and self-responsibility.

Our role as an apex organization is to train, foster, connect with, and convene community champions and co-op minded leaders. Together with local community leaders, we leverage the co-operative model to address the social, economic and cultural needs of Albertans.

In order to connect with these change-makers and collaborate with them, we also have to raise awareness of the diverse co-operative movement.

Part of our focus at ACCA is co-operative education. We deliver on this in four key areas:

Casual Meet Up1. Raising awareness about the co-op model with the public, various levels of government, and other stakeholders such as economic development groups.

2. Consulting on opportunities where people want to work collaboratively to bring social and economic development to their communities.

3. Strengthening and diversifying existing co-operative enterprises. Through networking and training we build capacity in employees, directors and across sectors.

4. Educating young people on the co-operative principles, values and structure, and empowering them with leadership skills.

Who are we?

We are part of a national and international network of enterprises structured around putting people ahead of profits. We have always believed in co-operatives, but if you’re new to the concept you might not be sure what this philosophy and model entails. Co-ops all around the world are guided by 7 universal principles, from huge credit unions to small local shops and everything in between; co-operatives are member-owned and democratically controlled. They start when a group of people see a need or an opportunity in their community and with the right vision and support they grow and evolve with the members they serve.

Our membership is made up of both co-operatives and community-minded organizations, of all sizes and industries. Our board of directors is elected from the membership and represent many sectors important to Alberta’s communities including (but not limited to) agriculture, utilities, finance, education, housing, retail and more.