Canadian co-operatives and mutuals have committed $25 million to establish the Canadian Co-operative Investment Fund (CCIF). The CCIF will provide financing for new and expanding co-operatives.

The $25 million in committed investment to date is the threshold agreed by partners as the start up capital required for a self-sustaining fund, stated an announcement issued Oct. 16 by Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada.

A critical need

"The Canadian Co-operative Investment Fund demonstrates the willingness of our sector to invest in the future of Canadian Co-operatives," says Andy Morrison, Chair of the Board of Directors of CCIF. "There is a critical need for investment vehicles that understand the needs specific to co‑operatives. CCIF has been designed by co-operatives to invest in co‑operatives."

"Co-operatives have a long tradition of working together, and the CCIF is a great example of the sector collaborating to develop a solution to a long-standing challenge," said Rob Wesseling, President and CEO of The Co-operators, a lead investor in the fund. "We are pleased to support the creation of this new source of financing, which will contribute to the strength and sustainability of Canadian co-ops."

The CCIF will be managed by Community Forward Assistance, a fund manager with roots in community lending including co-operatives.

Open to investment by accredited investors

Launching with the initial $25 million, the fund is open to investment by accredited investors across Canada. The CCIF anticipates funding its first investment in early 2018.

The following organizations from across Canada have agreed in principle to invest in the CCIF: The Co-operators, Desjardins Group, Affinity Credit Union, L’Alliance des caisses populaire de l’Ontario, Vancity, Concentra Bank, Arctic Co-operatives, Assinibone Credit Union, Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation, Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada, Connect First Credit Union, Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada, Kindred Credit Union and Freedonia.