Frequently Asked Questions about Co-op
June 24, 2019

Have questions about Co-op? We have answers!

  1. What is CO-OP®?
    The CO-OP® brand is used by a network of retail co-operative associations across Western Canada that own and operate Co-op Agro Centres, Food Stores, Gas Bars/Convenience Stores, Home Centres, Liquor Stores, Pharmacies and more. These retail Co-ops are independently owned and operated, but work together under the CO-OP® brand to deliver the best products and services to their local members. 
  2. Who owns and operates the Co-op?
    Every Co-op is owned by its members. Your membership is actually your share in Pembina West Co-op. Our members democratically elect a Board of Directors. The Board of Directors hires and governs our General Manager, who is responsible for operation of the business.
  3. Why is every Co-op store different?
    Co-ops differ from community to community because they serve the unique needs of their local members, which may mean providing different products and services to suit their community's needs. 
  4. How is Co-op different from other businesses?
    A co-operative is a different way of doing business. It’s about people coming together in their communities for a common purpose. It provides the products and services that meet their needs. Because a Co-op is owned by local members, our decisions are made with our community at the top of mind. We are able to support local organizations and community projects, support local vendors, and hire local employees. Our profits don't go to far-away elites, they are returned to our local members and invested in the sustainability of our local operations. 
  5. What is a co-operative?
    The International Co-operative Alliance defines a co-operative as an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.



  1. Do I need to be a member to shop at Co-op?
    Customers do not need a membership to shop at Co-op locations.
  2. Who can become a member?
    Membership is open to any individual over 16 years of age and businesses.
  3. How do I become a member?
    It’s easy to become a member. Complete a Membership Application at any of our locations and purchase your 10 shares of the Co-op for $10.
  4. What is a Co-op number?
    Once your application is submitted, you will receive a Co-op membership number to use when making purchases at Pembina West Co-op’s locations. This number tracks purchases and is used to determine potential cash back or equity.
  5. Can I use my Co-op number at all locations?
    A Co-op number represents your membership and can only be used at locations operated by the individual Co-op assigning the number. Because each Co-op is locally owned by its' members, your Co-op number cannot be used across different Co-op, however; you can purchase shares in as many co-op associations as you wish.  
  6. What is cash back and equity?
    When your Co-op is successful, we share that success through cash back and an equity account that grows over time. Once each year, a portion of our profits are returned back to members, based on their total purchases. The Board of Directors approves an amount, which is returned to members as a percentage of their yearly purchases. Members will receive some of this in cash and the rest will be deposited into an equity savings account that grows over time.
  7. When do I receive cash back and equity?
    Allocation of cash back and equity is approved by your local Co-op’s Board of Directors once all accounting of the Co-op’s finances have been completed after its fiscal year end. Our allocation generally occurs in June of each year.
  8. Why do you require my Social Insurance Number?
    Your Social Insurance Number is required under the Income Tax Act for tax reporting purposes. Similar to some financial investments, cash back or equity distributed to Co-op members is considered taxable income. We will issue a T4A form in advance of filing deadlines if taxes were remitted from your allocation. 
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