Co-operative Principles

Woodsworth Housing Co-operative follows the international co-op principles. These are guidelines by which co-operatives put their values into practice.

1. Voluntary and Open Membership
Co-operatives are voluntary organisations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

2. Democratic Member Control
Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. Co-operative members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote).

3. Member Economic Participation
All members contribute fairly to the co-op which they own in common. Co-ops pay a limited return (if any) on money that people paid to become members. The co-op holds any surplus for the future or uses it to improve the co-op’s services.

4. Autonomy and Independence
Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organisations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organisations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.

5. Education, Training and Information
Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders – about the nature and benefits of co-operation.

6. Co-operation among Co-operatives
Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

7. Concern for Community
Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.  Co-ops meet members’ needs in ways that build lasting communities inside and outside each co-op.

Adapted from International Co-operative Alliance
and Ontario Co-operative Association

More about co-ops in Toronto: CHFT