A co-operative is a different kind of business. Co-operatives are member-owned enterprises in which the members have a financial involvement in the business and decide democratically how the business is to be run, on the basis of one member, one vote. Co-operatives abide by the seven co-operative principles
. The apex international co-operative body is the International Co-operative Alliance
, while the national apex body in Canada is Cooperatives and MutualsCanada
. Each province also has its own co-operative association.
A variety of different types of consumers can be distinguished based up the products the cooperative provides and/or who the members are. There are, for example, agricultural marketing co-operatives (in which farmers are the members), financial services co-operatives (in which depositors are the members), consumer cooperatives (in which customers are the members, worker co-operatives (in which workers are the members) and housing co-operatives (in which the people who live in the accommodations are the members. Other co-operatives involved in Fair Trade in Canada include JustUs Coffee Roasters Co-op
in Wolfville, Nova Scotia; La Siembra
in Ottawa with its line of Camino
chocolate and sugar products; and Planet Bean
in Guelph Ontario, which is also a coffee roaster.