A co-operative is a business relation organized by individuals with similar needs to provide goods or services, or to make joint use of their available resources to make profit. Their business structure ensures:
- All members have an equal control (one vote per member, regardless of the number of shares held);
- Open and voluntary membership;
- Limited interest on share capital;
- Surplus is returned to members according to amount of contribution.
There is no requirement to incorporate as a co-operative in order to run your business collectively and cooperatively. However, it is illegal in Ontario to use the word "co-operative" in connection with the name of a business unless the relation of members in the group is incorporated under the Co-operative Corporations Act.