Helping Build a Better World through Co-op Education and Co-operation

Alberta Community and Co-operative Association

Imagine a world where every dollar you spend supporting your local co-op increases reinvestment opportunities in your community. Then imagine, as a co-op member, you are also an owner, holding shares in the co-op. And finally, imagine that you receive a portion of the profits each year, based on how much you spend at your own co-op. This is the beauty of the co-op: membership is ownership, and profits are shared with all owners.

As we continue our special co-op blog series leading up to Co-op Week, which runs from October 15 – 21, we feature the Alberta Community and Co-operative Association (ACCA). The mission of the ACCA is to strengthen the communities of Alberta by promoting co-op values and developing co-op leaders. All co-ops are bound by a common set of values, including solidarity, self-help, self-responsibility, and democracy. Guided by co-op values and principles, the ACCA supports co-ops to address the social, cultural and economic needs of Albertans.

2017 Summit of Co-operative Leaders. Source: Alberta Community and Co-operative Association

The ACCA is part of a national and international association of businesses which places people ahead of profits, co-operating to advance community well-being. Co-ops are started when a group of people see a specific need or opportunity within their community, then grow and prosper under their own vision and direction.

Alberta is known as a destination for many things, including the majestic Rockies, the Calgary Stampede, and the world’s only permanent Star Trek museum. It’s even where the phrase “trick or treat” was first used on Hallowe’en! It’s also a place where more than one million people – roughly one quarter of its population – choose to be members of co-ops. Every type of co-op can be found, ranging from grocery co-ops to housing co-ops, credit unions, gasoline co-ops, insurance co-ops, farm supplies co-ops and even utilities co-ops. The ACCA builds and strengthens relationships within the community to fulfill its goals of advancing co-op leadership and promoting co-op values. The association engages organizations in important dialogue about Alberta’s “co-op advantage”, including municipalities, the provincial government, economic development organizations and learning institutions.

Various types of co-operatives in Alberta. Clockwise from top left: Central Alberta Co-op, Carpathia Housing Co-Op Ltd, Servus Credit Union, and United Farmers of Alberta Co-operative Ltd.

Michele Aasgard, Executive Director of the ACCA, said, “Our organization is proud to support communities across Alberta, applying co-op principles in our daily work.” She added, “The ACCA is a leadership organization whose chief purpose is to educate people. Through youth education programs, adult education, and education about the co-op model, we share the knowledge that co-ops make invaluable contributions to the social and economic advancement of the communities they serve.”

As determined by its members, the ACCA exists for five main reasons:
• To raise awareness about the co-operative model
• To involve and educate youth in the co-operative movement
• To advocate for co-operatives to governments
• To create networking opportunities to strengthen the co-op sector
• To be a resource for co-operative development and education

2017 Summit of Co-operative Leaders. Source: Alberta Community and Co-operative Association

With two Flag Shop locations in Alberta for 25 years, one in Edmonton and the other in Calgary, we’ve known about the ACCA and their outstanding community work for many for years. In one of our most memorable projects, we worked together providing polyknit flags, buttons, friendship pins, magnets, pens, pennant strings and paper flags to support “2012 International Year of Co-operatives” celebrations.

With Co-op Week right around the corner, we celebrate and acknowledge the work of the ACCA for supporting co-op education and for promoting the co-op way of doing business, impacting co-operators across Alberta and beyond, all while helping to build a better world.

For nearly seven years, The Flag Shop has been proudly supporting Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada and the International Co-operative Alliance initiatives across Canada and around the globe. For more information about our co-op product line, please visit our co-op products website: To learn more about The Flag Shop and to see everything else we can do, go to:

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