Cooperative Section

According to the “Law on Cooperatives”, a cooperative is a legal person that combines people or companies with common economic, social or cultural needs who, in order to meet these needs, associate in order to operate a business in compliance with the rules on cooperative activity.

An agricultural cooperative is a cooperative whose principle aim is related to agriculture or to activities connected to agriculture, to the supply of goods and the offer of services used in this activity or in the production, processing, warehousing, marketing, handling and transportation of products related to this activity.

The Citadelle Maple Syrup Producers’ Cooperative is an agricultural cooperative active in the areas of maple, honey and cranberry production. It is spread over 11 administrative regions throughout Quebec and has close to 2000 members. The Cooperative maintains a network of depot facilities for the purposes of collecting maple syrup harvests. The Cooperative works in the US and Canada with a number of brokers and does business with distributors all around the world. Present in over 40 countries, CITADELLE brings tree, hive and berry to the table for its producers and consumers.


A declaration adopted in Manchester in 1996 by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) on cooperative identity.


The fundamental values of cooperation are taking personal and common responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. Upholding the intent of the founders, cooperative members abide by a set of values founded on honesty, transparency, social responsibility and altruism.


The seven cooperative principles guide cooperatives in putting their values into practice.

  • Voluntary and open membership
    Cooperatives are voluntary organizations that are open to anyone willing to use their services and who are determined to assume their responsibilities as members, without discrimination as to gender, social status, race, political affiliation or religion.
  • Democratic member control
    Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by members who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. The men and women elected as representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary cooperatives, members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote); cooperatives at other levels are also organized in a democratic manner.
  • Member economic participation
    Members contribute equitably to and control the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative. Members only benefit from a limited compensation on capital subscribed as a condition of their membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following: developing the cooperative, eventually by setting up reserves, a part of which remain indivisible, the distribution of dividends to members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
  • Autonomy and independence
    Cooperatives are autonomous self-help organizations managed by their members. The conclusion of agreements with other organizations, including governments, must be made under conditions that preserve the democratic powers of the members and maintains the independence of their cooperative.
  • Education, training and information
    Cooperatives provide their members, elected officials, managers and staff with the education and training required so they are able to contribute effectively to the development of the cooperative. They inform the general public, particularly young people and opinion leaders, of the nature and benefits of cooperation.
  • Cooperation among cooperatives
    To provide even better service to members and strengthen the cooperative movement, cooperatives work together within local, regional, national and international structures.
  • Community commitment
    Cooperatives contribute to the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.


In a cooperative, powers are exercised during the annual general assembly, but for practical reasons, administrative powers are bestowed upon the board of directors who delegate these powers among various categories of employee according to their individual competencies.


  • Use the cooperative’s services;
  • Express their needs;
  • Supply capital;
  • Elect board members;
  • Approve the annual report;
  • Decide how to distribute surplus earnings;
  • Name the independent auditor;
  • Modify regulations.


  • Represent the members in their respective region;
  • Defend the associative and economic interests of the cooperative;
  • See that regulations are respected;
  • Receive mandatory training on their role;
  • Respect the cooperative’s regulations;
  • Collaborate with agents to meet members’ expectations.


In addition to their role as representatives, they must:

  • Competently administer the cooperative’s assets;
  • Provide an accounting to members;
  • Choose a CEO;
  • Approve financial statements;
  • Establish the cooperative’s objectives;
  • Define the cooperatives policies and orientation;
  • Participate in cooperative education;
  • Promote inter-cooperation;
  • Communicate with and listen to members.

Chief Executive Officer

  • Sees to the execution of the orientation plan;
  • Sees to the application of policies (credit, salarial, human resources management, etc.);
  • Plans, manages and coordinates all activities (production, sales, administration, etc.);
  • Hires cooperative personnel;
  • Motivates the team;
  • Prepares financial statements;
  • Represents the cooperative;
  • Ensures that board meetings are followed up on.

Employees and agents

  • Share their expertise;
  • Make services to members accessible;
  • Enable the daily interaction between the cooperative and its members.