It said it will be taking that message to the politicians seeking election, seeking changes that make it easier to form and invest in co-operatives and generating public awareness.
Their most recent data indicates there are 1,181 co-operatives in Ontario providing more than 19,000 jobs that pay more than $891 million.
Only Quebec has more co-operatives - 2,816 co-operatives – and it is home base to some major Ontario operations such as Solio.
“While strong, Ontario's co-operative sector has not grown in proportion to other provinces. The province counts for 40 percent of both population and GDP of Canada, yet its co-operative sector accounts for only twenty percent of the total number of co-operatives nationally,” said Erin Morgan, the association’s executive director.
Forty-three per cent of Ontario’s co-operatives are for housing, 14 per cent for health care and social assistance, eight per cent for finance and insurance, seven per cent run wholesale businesses and six per cent construction and manufacturing.
Agriculture is lumped in with forestry, fishing, mining and gas and accounts for only two per cent of the co-operatives in Ontario.