Welcome Messages

Québec City Convention Centre, October 11 to 13, 2016

Welcome to the 2016 International Summit of Cooperatives in beautiful Québec City!

First, a special thanks to the organizers for making this remarkable international event a reality.

Over the next few days, you will have many opportunities to exchange ideas, participate in workshops, and meet fellow cooperative business leaders from around the world.

Our government—like cooperatives—believes an economy should work for everyone. That is why we asked the wealthiest Canadians to pay a little more and cut taxes for hardworking middle class families. It is why we continue to make unprecedented investments in the middle class that will benefit all Canadians. Cooperatives are the essence of democracy at work—citizens getting together in their communities to address common economic, social, and cultural needs. They are truly developed by people, for people. Under trying economic conditions, cooperatives have shown themselves to be innovative and resilient, and able to meet the needs of individuals and communities.

For all these reasons, I am delighted to see the International Summit of Cooperatives so committed to helping the world meet the Sustainable Development Goals set out in the UN’s 2030 Agenda. I am equally excited to see the inclusion of a Young Leaders Program in the Summit. Young cooperative leaders are vital not only to the future of the cooperative business community, but to a more sustainable and prosperous world. I have no doubt that the connections you make over the next few days will be extremely enriching.

Have an enjoyable, successful Summit, and don’t forget to take some time to explore Québec City—it is truly one of the gems of our country.

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister of Canada

Cooperatives alone account for 92 000 quality jobs in Québec and are a significant economic force and key entrepreneurial mainspring in all regions. They integrate social and democratic values into their business models and thus offer an effective solution to ensure, in particular, business transfers and entrepreneurial succession.

In Québec, we are fully aware of the importance of cooperatives for our economic and social development. Our cooperative movement is recognized the world over for its considerable diversity, capacity to mobilize and vitality. What is more, your deliberations this year will focus on the theme “Cooperatives: The Power to Act.”

To maintain our leadership role, we must, however, constantly ensure that we enhance our practices and adapt them to a rapidly changing world. This gathering thus constitutes an ideal opportunity to discuss growth-related issues and challenges that cooperatives, but also all of our societies, are facing.

We are indeed proud to welcome for the third time to Québec City this event established by Mouvement Desjardins, a Québec cooperative. To all of the participants in the 2016 International Summit of Cooperatives, I extend a warm welcome to the Capitale-Nationale. I hope that your discussions will be fruitful and foster the establishment of promising partnerships and lead to the realization of catalyst projects that benefit your communities and Québec as a whole.

Best wishes for a successful International Summit of Cooperatives.

Philippe Couillard

Premier of Québec

Quebec City is once again hosting, in 2016, the International Summit of Cooperatives following its success from hosting the two previous Summits. This year’s main theme is : “Cooperatives: The Power to Act”.

For three days, nearly 3,000 participants from some 100 countries will take advantage of this outstanding forum to share ideas on the considerable impact cooperatives from here and abroad have locally, nationally and internationally. They will seek solutions to complex social problems affecting Canada, as well as those in other countries.

In addition to its international outreach, this large-scale event will generate significant economic benefits for Quebec City and position it once again as a prominent location capable of successfully hosting important global gatherings.

Established in areas as varied as agriculture, finance, forestry and health, about 10,000 businesses in the Canadian cooperative and mutual sector will also benefit from this Summit.

Lastly, I would like to highlight the excellent work carried out by the organizing committee and the many volunteers. I wish all participants much success and productive discussions.

The Honourable Navdeep Bains

Minister of innovation, science and economical development and Minister responsable for Canada economic development for Quebec regions


The combined strengths of their members make cooperatives significant levers for economic and social growth in Québec. Their initiatives hinge on a shared desire to create collective wealth that enables our regions to thrive.

The International Summit of Cooperatives affords us a unique chance to harness the vitality and energy of the cooperative movement in Québec and throughout the world in order to build an even more efficient economy. I invite participants to take advantage of this special opportunity to discuss innovations and major global trends in the cooperative sector so that, together, we can optimize our practices.

As you know, the cooperative model is flexible and changing constantly. It is an entrepreneurial model centred on community management and autonomy, fairness and the solidarity of its members. That being the case, the performance and advancement of the Québec cooperative model and other cooperative movements in the world bode well for the future of cooperatives.

Best wishes to all participants for a successful summit and a pleasant stay in the Capitale-Nationale.

Dominique Anglade

Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation and Minister responsible for the Digital Strategy

Québec City is pleased to welcome the International Summit of Cooperatives 2016, a prestigious event that promises to stoke the cooperative flame and enhance its outreach.

Every day, across the planet, people and communities engaged in cooperative action demonstrate that it is possible to build lasting prosperity that will have a positive impact on the future, on ours and on that of future generations. A city where innovation and collaboration are at the forefront, Québec City is proud to be associated with the hosting of this important gathering where the best strategies will be put forward to maximize the power for action of the cooperative and mutual movement.

I encourage you to take advantage of your stay to mix business with pleasure by visiting our lovely city. A World Heritage Treasure, well known for its fine dining, Québec City offers you a wide range of activities in a setting where art, culture and nature feature prominently.

Welcome one and all!



Régis Labeaume

Mayor of Québec City

Dear colleagues,

The 2016 International Summit of Cooperatives is a gathering with a focus on the future and on action.

This is a special opportunity for us to come together, collaborate and discuss ways to forge ahead with our contributions to the development of cooperation around the world. The 2016 edition once again promises to feature world-class speakers who will be sharing their experiences and outlooks on the major issues facing us.

Above all, this will be a place where all cooperative and mutual enterprises, development stakeholders, public institutions, the knowledge community, young entrepreneurs, and regional and sectoral cooperative organizations join forces to find sustainable solutions to the issues affecting our societies by choosing cooperation.

The year 2012 was declared International Year of Cooperatives by the United Nations. This meaningful gesture gave rise to the very first International Summit of Cooperatives, the world’s largest gathering of cooperative and mutual leaders. During its second edition, the 2014 Summit explored the advantages of the cooperative model for developing our societies.

Today, the 2016 Summit is a continuation of our actions toward global sustainable development. The theme chosen for this edition says it all: “Cooperatives: The Power to Act.” The cooperative and mutualist movement plans to make history this year. We will be making a formal commitment during the Summit, comprising specific actions to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations for 2030. An entire day will be dedicated to brainstorming these actions for preparation of the final commitment, which will be made and fulfilled by our cooperative and mutual leaders.

These enterprises, whose values and principles put a human focus on their decisions, help grow communities around the world. With more than 1 billion members and close to 3 million enterprises, local, regional and national cooperative and mutualist movements are an incredible force for developing our societies in a sustainable way for our future generations.

I look forward to seeing you in Quebec City, and wish you all a wealth of discussions and successful meetings during the Summit. Let’s use our collective power to act to build a better world. 

Monique F. Leroux


International Co-operative Alliance

The Desjardins Group is proud to welcome the participants in the third edition of the International Summit of Cooperatives to Québec City. This major gathering is proof of the cooperative movement’s growing unity worldwide. It is also evidence of a shared commitment by all cooperatives partners to play an expanded role on a small and large scale.

The complexity of the challenges we face in today’s world requires a great capacity for concerted effort. It calls for a pooling of our resources, intelligence and commitments to enrich the lives of people and communities. Within the cooperative movement, we have experience worth sharing in this regard.

The Summit’s program has been designed to equip cooperative executives and managers so that their organizations are ever more efficient and strong. It also seeks to increase their ability to exercise a constructive influence together in the conduct of collective business.

My dearest wish is that the representatives of the cooperatives present in Québec City multiply their contacts and new relationships. I hope that when they leave here, they will be more convinced than ever of the relevance of the cooperative formula in the world of today and tomorrow and even more motivated to implement it in their respective communities.

Guy Cormier

President and Chief Executive Officer

Desjardins Group