About Arctic Co-ops Governance

The governance (or democratic structure) of the Co-operative system in the Arctic begins and ends with local ownership under the control of the individual owner-members that use the services of the local Co-op. Co-op members take ownership in their community business by purchasing and holding shares, but control of the Co-operative is not linked to the number of shares owned. Instead, each member has an equal share in the business affairs of the Co-op - "One Member, One Vote". More than 18,000 individuals are the owner-members of the community based Co-operatives across the Arctic.

Co-op members are encouraged to participate in the operation of their Co-operative by contributing ideas and making decisions on the policies and future direction of the Co-operative. Members elect the Board of Directors of the Co-op and provide direction to the board on how their business should operate. The Board of Directors is accountable to the members of the Co-op. Co-op members are encouraged to become directly involved in their Co-operative by participating on committees or the Board of Directors. If elected as a Board member, they are obligated to act in the best interests of the Co-operative.

Organizational Structure


ACL is co-operatively owned and democratically controlled by its members. ACL membership includes 31 autonomous Co-operatives located in communities across northern Canada. These member Co-operatives are geographically divided into 7 ACL electoral districts.


Each Member Co-operative is entitled to be represented by 2 voting delegates at each annual meeting of ACL.


Elected by the delegates attending the annual meeting. The Board of Directors consists of 7 directors, or 1 director from each of the 7 electoral districts.


Appointed by the Board of Directors, and accountable to the Board.

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