Co-operative College of Canada

Based in Saskatoon from 1973 to 1987, the Co-operative College of Canada (CCA) was a national centre for co-operative education and research. It was established to provide co-op business training and to teach co-op principles. Although the CCA itself was short-lived, its formative years in Saskatchewan go back to the late 1930s and early 1940s, when there was a strong push and a practical need for an educational link to the co-operative movement. In 1955, a small centre called the Co-operative Institute was opened in Saskatoon; by 1959, the Institute had evolved into the Western Co-operative College. In the early 1970s the College faced financial uncertainty, and hoped that securing national memberships, building stronger partnerships with regional members, and extending its programs beyond the West would bring much-needed stability. Thus in 1973 the Western Co-operative College was reincorporated as the Co-operative College of Canada. The CCA focused intently on developing regional outreach and extension programs while gradually expanding its curriculum to include manager training, youth and Aboriginal programs, and courses for international students. In a short time the CCA became a national research centre for Canada's co-operative movement. For more than a decade it produced volumes of publications, research, and outreach programs. Yet the CCA could not escape the economic realities of the time: its co-operative members began to drift away from traditional co-op values and practices; competition from other adult-education programs in Canada increased; and the struggle to survive in a developing global economy became increasingly difficult. In 1987 the Co-operative College of Canada merged with the Co-operative Union of Canada to form the Canadian Co-operative Association.

Iain Stewart

Further Reading

Crewe, J. 2001. An Educational Institute of Untold Value: The Evolution of the Co-operative College of Canada. Saskatoon: Centre for the Study of Co-operatives, University of Saskatchewan.