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A co-operative is an association, a body corporate, created under the Co-operative Associations Act. The purpose of a co-operative is to provide service to its members.

A co-operative is a separate legal entity which may enter into contracts in its corporate name. Each member of a co-operative association is entitled to one vote, thus the power of all the members is equal. This differs from the limited company where the number of votes is determined by the number of shares held. No member of a co-operative is personally liable for the debts, obligations or acts of the co-operative except to the amount of any subscribed shares as well as shares held.

Co-operatives are governed by the general principles which are outlined in the Co-operative Associations Act, or, on the federal level, by the provisions of the Canada Co-operatives Association Act. The procedure set forth in the provincial act requires that the completed documents be submitted to the Inspector of Co-operatives in the Consumer, Corporate & Insurance Services Division of the Department of Justice and Public Safety.

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