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Learn More About the Co-op Model
Understanding the Structure, Governance and Economic Benefits of a Co-op
The organizational chart shows the relationships within the Co-op system and demonstrates how each of the roles work together to create the ideal version of the cooperative model.
When we look at the Co-op business structure, we can see the key roles everyone plays, the Members are at the top of the diagram because they are ultimately the most important part of the diagram.
They are the owners of our Co-op, they are the reason we exist and the people whose needs we strive to meet.
The Co-operative act passes the responsibility of the decisions for running the Co-op from the Members to the Board of Directors. The Members elect their Board at the Annual General Meeting
As you know, our Members elect our Board of Directors. They choose board Members who are best suited to help the Co-op succeed. The Members have the ultimate say on who the board is and, therefore, who will be in charge of decision making for the Co-op.
The Board of Directors are in charge of 6 key areas:
▪ Hiring, Developing and Evaluating their General Manager
▪ Choosing a strategic direction for the Co-op (how do they intend to profitably grow the business for the Members) and creating a long-term strategic plan
▪ Creating and understanding the policies of the Co-op
▪ Managing risk in all areas
▪ Developing strategies and relationships with members and the community to increase visibility and commitment to the Co-op in the community.
In summary, they are in charge of making sure the Co-op makes strong decisions, remains profitable, and serves the community and the membership.
o The Board hires a General Manager to execute the day-to-day operations of the co-op. They entrust the general manager to execute the wishes of the Board which is a reflection of the wishes of the membership.
o The General Manager is responsible for taking the Board’s plans and turning it into a sales and marketing plan, running the operations, hiring staff, managing the businesses and reporting back to the Board on the activities and results.
o The Board remains involved as they monitor and evaluate how well the General Manager is executing their wishes (this is done through Board meetings and regular, ongoing discussions with the General Manager and the DSAs)
Understanding the Structure, Governance and Economic Benefits of a Co-op
What is the Role of the Board?
To conduct and control the business of the organization in accordance with the applicable legislation and the Bylaws, exercising the powers of the organization that are not required to be exercised by a meeting of the Members, giving appropriate consideration to resolutions passed at meetings of the Members.
Powers and Duties of the Board of Directors:
1. Elect the President, Board of Directors, define the position’s duties, responsibilities
and authority, establish remuneration and appraise performance.
2. Elect the Board Vice-President(s) and form such committees as the Board deems necessary.
3. Appoint the General Manager, define the position’s duties, responsibilities and
authority, establish remuneration and appraise performance.
4. Appoint the Secretary and the Treasurer and define the positions’ duties,
responsibilities and authority.
5. Ensure that the General Manager provides an effective management team to plan
and administer the organization’s business and achieve its objectives.
6. Develop or approve major plans, objectives and programs for the organization;
approve capital and operating budgets for the organization.
7. Analyze and appraise the organization’s operational performance and the progress
in achieving its objectives and goals.
8. Consider changes in the assets of the organization and approve changes that follow
the established policies.
9. Handle membership and share transactions, including the allotment, transfer and
other disposition of shares.
10. Establish policies, programs and standards for the maintenance of an informed, ethical and effective Board of Directors.
11. Provide for the signatory powers of the company.
12. Exercise the powers relating to borrowing and other financial matters as provided in the organization’s by-laws, having due regard to maintaining the organization’s
13. Provide for and monitor the bonding requirements for officers, managers and
employees of the organization.
14. Provide for effective member and public relations programming for the organization.
15. Provide for effective relations and communications with, and representatives to,
other Co-operatives, governments and other organizations.
16. Provide opportunities for Board members’ self-development in ways that will
increase their ability to contribute to the Board’s effective decision making.
17. Establish policies and provide programs and encouragement for delegate training and development to enable delegates to effectively understand and carry out their
duties and responsibilities.
18. Establish and alter District/Region boundaries as required to facilitate effective
representation of the organization’s members.
19. Strive to harmonize diverse interests among Board members and within the Cooperative Retailing System.
20. Provide for and report to the members on the stewardship of the resources of the organization and on the state of the Co-operative Retailing System.
21. Provide for the annual and any special meetings of the organization and for the
preparation and presentation of the annual report, the auditors’ report and all other
reports the Board deems are required at those meetings.
District and Region Activities:
District and region activities make up another dimension of Directors’ duties. The
following list of activities sets out the District and Region aspects of a Director’s job and
describes the links among the Districts, the Regions and Arctic Co-operatives Limited
as a whole:
1. Give leadership in supporting and promoting the Co-operative Retailing System to the best of their ability.
2. Maintain active, open and direct communications with members in the Director’s
District/Region and, when appropriate, bring their views to the Arctic Co-op Board’s
3. Encourage the development of, and give leadership to, the Director’s District /Region
delegates so they can effectively carry out their roles in the Co-operative Retailing
4. Co-ordinate the planning and administration of programs to increase the
effectiveness of elected officials in the Director’s District/Region.
5. Promote member and public relations as well as Co-operative Development in the
What is the Role of the General Manager?
To manage the operations of the Co-operative in accordance with the guidelines established by the Board.
Responsibilities of the General Managers:
1. Advise and assist the Board in establishing a mission, objectives, policies and
goals for the Co-operative.
2. Maintain a continuing study of trends and provide the Board with information
required for planning.
3. Develop short- and long-term plans and programs with supporting budget estimates and other goals for submission to the Board of Directors.
4. Interpret and administer policies established by the Board and issue procedures to assure uniform interpretation.
5. Appoint and supervise immediate subordinates.
6. Maintain an effective organization structure, with appropriate resourcing plans
and staff development plans.
7. Ensure that finances, facilities and other property of the Co-operative are
properly safeguarded, insured and administered.
8. Direct action to achieve goals in all aspects of the operation.
9. Keep the Board informed of progress and results compared to goals in all areas.
10. Maintain effective relations with members and the general public.
11. Maintain effective co-ordination with other co-operatives in the Community.
12. Plan for personal development as required to manage the Co-operative.
13. Maintain liaison with the President.
What is the Role of Winnipeg, Home Office?
The main role of Arctic Co-ops is to co-ordinate the resources and combined purchasing power of the local Co-operatives in a manner that will enable them to provide operational and technical support services to their Members in an economically viable manner.
To provide service to, and enable co-operation among, the multi-purpose Co-operative businesses in Canada's north. We do this by providing leadership and expertise to develop and safeguard the ownership participation of our Member Owners in the business and commerce of their community, to assure control over their own destiny.
1.To improve economic well being of Co-op members by providing the highest long-term return for arts and crafts through promotion and marketing of Member produced products at the wholesale and retail levels.
2. To provide merchandise services in a most economical and efficient way, satisfying the consumer needs of the Co-operative membership and assisting the Co-operative retail stores to improve their market share by providing top quality products and services to their Member/owners and their communities.
3. To improve the understanding and effectiveness of the Co-op Movement, by providing Co-operative training and education programs to inform Co-op Members, their elected officials and their employees of their roles and responsibilities.
4. To promote the orderly growth and financial success of the Co-operative Movement through the development and implementation of policies and practices that will generate adequate levels of earnings, Members' equity and other financial strengths to enable the Co-op Movement to improve the economic well being of their Member owners.
5. To provide an environment to promote the recruitment, development and training of the northern people in employment and management positions within the Co-operative Movement.
6. To provide leadership in the growth and development of the Co-operative Movement through evaluation and participation in appropriate business opportunities and joint ventures which offer benefits to our Members.
7. To provide an environment for our human resources that will enable them to achieve their personal objectives while working to maximize their potential and meeting the economic and social objectives of the organization.
8. To provide management, operational and technical support services to the Co-operatives in the most economical and efficient way to meet the needs of Member Co-operatives and to assist them in management and operation of their business ventures.
9.To develop and maintain effective communications and Member and public relations programs to increase awareness of the nature, aim and role Arctic Co-operatives Limited and the Co-operative Movement play in our economy.
10. To represent the Co-operative Movement of Canada's north with government, aboriginal organizations and other agencies.
11. To conduct our affairs in an environmentally and socially responsible manner, ensuring compliance with the law and with due recognition given to the unique cultures and customs of Canada's north.