Federated Co-operatives

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Federated Co-operatives Limited
Company typeCooperative federation
Founded1944; 80 years ago (1944)[1]
HeadquartersSaskatoon, Saskatchewan
Key people
Heather Ryan, CEO (2022)
Revenue$10.7 billion (2018)
$1.2 billion (2018)
Number of employees
23,000 (2015)[2][needs update]

Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL), operating as Co-op, is a co-operative federation providing procurement and distribution to member co-operatives in Western Canada.[3][4] It was established in 1944 after a series of amalgamations of smaller cooperatives, starting in Saskatchewan, including the Saskatchewan Co-operative Wholesale Society and a fuel production and distribution co-op,[1] the Consumers’ Co-operative Refinery Limited.[5] Federated had expanded to Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia by 1970.[1] Federated Co-operatives is owned by about 160 member co-operatives across the region. Some are large co-operatives, such as Saskatoon Co-op, while others are small co-ops based in small towns, such as Abernethy Co-op.

In 2009, FCL was ranked as the largest co-operative in Canada by total sales.[4] In 2010, FCL was the second largest company by annual sales in Saskatchewan.[6] During that year, it earned revenues of $498 million and returned $355.7 million to its member retailers. In 2008, Federated Co-operatives saw sales increase and posted its 37th record year in a row for both sales and profits.[7]


The contemporary FCL is the result of several ongoing co-operative amalgamations. In 1944, the Consumers’ Co-operative Refineries Limited (based in Regina and founded in 1934[8]) and the Saskatchewan Co-Op Wholesale merged to form the Saskatchewan Federated Co-operatives Limited.[8]

FCL purchased Downie Street Sawmills of Revelstoke, British Columbia in 1969. The forest products operation replaced a Smith, Alberta, business FCL sold in 1977.[9]

The United Co-operatives of Ontario were purchased by Growmark in 1994, since operating as FS.[10]

In March 2010, Federated Co-operatives announced an agreement with SeaChoice, a program of Sustainable Seafood Canada devoted to sustainable seafood. Through collaboration, the organizations seek to develop a long term sustainability strategy for seafood sales and procurement in the co-operatives' member businesses.[11]

Federated Co-operatives was awarded the SABEX Environmental & Sustainability award from the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce in May 2010.[12]

In November 2012, FCL sold its Forest Products Division operations in Canoe, British Columbia to Gorman Bros. Lumber.[13] In August 2013, FCL acquired 17 agri-business locations across Saskatchewan, Alberta, and one in Manitoba, from Viterra, which was in the process of selling its Canadian agriculture business to Agrium. They were transferred to local FCL affiliates, excluding two that were retained by FCL and closed.[14][15][16] In February 2014, FCL acquired 14 grocery store locations from Sobeys; the divestment was to comply with requirements imposed by the Competition Bureau in the wake of its 2013 acquisition of Safeway. These stores, which were mainly former Safeway locations, were transferred to local affiliates and re-branded as Co-op stores in May 2014. The acquisition notably marked the first time since 1983 that Red River Co-op had operated grocery stores in its footprint.[17][18][19]

In August 2019, FCL member Calgary Co-op announced that Overwaitea Food Group would supply the products for its grocery stores beginning April 2020, rather than FCL. FCL executives criticized the move for their decision to be supplied by a privately-owned competitor, and having a potential impact on the group's overall business (including its Calgary distribution centre).[20][21][22] In response to the agreement, FCL closed its distribution centre in Calgary, and introduced a "loyalty program" of quarterly rebates on wholesale petroleum purchases by its members, provided that the member acquires at least 90% of their overall stock via FCL. The organization considered the program to be a safety measure for its members in case of further withdrawals from its system.[23] Calgary Co-op filed a lawsuit over the program, arguing that FCL engaged in oppressive conduct by instituting a loyalty program that it could not participate in unless it unwinds its agreement with Overwaitea.[24][25]

In December 2019, Unifor called for a national boycott of all FCL operations due to a then-ongoing lockout and hiring of replacement workers to replace workers at Co-op's Regina refinery.[26]

In November 2021, FCL reached an agreement to acquire 181 Husky-branded retail locations for $264 million—FCL's largest acquisition to-date. They are located in Western Canada, and will be transferred to FCL affiliates or independent franchisees (under the Tempo banner).[27] The sale was part of the divestment of Husky's retail operations by new owner Cenovus Energy, with the remainder being sold to Parkland Corporation.[28]

In December 2023, FCL was ordered to pay compensation to Calgary Co-op for fuel purchases between November 2019 and January 2023.[29]


Key services fall into the following categories:

Store brands[edit]

Federated Co-operatives markets several store brands at its affiliated retailers, including Co-op Gold, Co-op Gold Pure, Co-op Market Town, Co-op Centsibles (discount-oriented), Co-op Care+ (pharmacy), Co-operative Coffee, and Lucky Dragon (Asian food line).[30]

Its petroleum division franchises the service station brands Tempo,[27] and Western Nations (which is franchised to operators within First Nations communities).[31]


  1. ^ a b c "History: 1944: FCL's Beginnings". Federated Co-operatives. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  2. ^ "Co-op Connection". Archived from the original on November 25, 2015.
  3. ^ "Federated Co-operatives Limited". Bloomberg Businessweek. Archived from the original on October 3, 2012. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Stewart, Iain. "Federated Co-Operatives Limited". Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. University of Regina. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  5. ^ "History: 1935: Work begins at CCRL". Federated Co-operatives. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  6. ^ "2011 Top 100". Saskatchewan Business Magazine. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  7. ^ "Federated Co-operatives sees sales increase". The StarPhoenix. December 18, 2008. Archived from the original on June 1, 2015. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  8. ^ a b Fairbairn, Brett (2005). "Canada's co-operative province" : individualism and mutualism in a settler society, 1905-2005 : reflections in celebration of Saskatchewan's centennial year. University of Saskatchewan. Centre for the Study of Co-operatives. Saskatoon: Centre for the Study of Co-operatives, University of Saskatchewan. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-88880-499-0. OCLC 505274473.
  9. ^ "Canada Packers profit stable". Montreal Gazette. January 23, 1979. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  10. ^ "U.S. company buys Ontario farm co-op". The Western Producer. February 23, 1995. Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  11. ^ "SeaChoice, FCL Forge Sustainable Seafood Partnership". Progressive Grocer. March 23, 2010. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  12. ^ "FCL wins SABEX Award For Environmental Sustainability" (PDF) (Press release). FCL. May 18, 2010. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  13. ^ "Gorman Bros. Lumber Ltd. acquires forest product assets from FCL" (PDF) (Press release). Gorman Bros. Lumber Ltd. November 7, 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
  14. ^ Pratt, Sean (September 5, 2013). "FCL confident purchase of Viterra input stores will see returns". The Western Producer. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  15. ^ "Glencore bids $16.25 for Viterra shares". CBC News. March 20, 2012. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  16. ^ "Co-ops seal deal for Viterra stores, will shut two". AGCanada. November 7, 2013. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  17. ^ "Canada Safeway's changeover a co-operative effort". Leader Post. Regina. Archived from the original on 25 May 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  18. ^ Kirbyson, Geoff (February 13, 2013). "Four Winnipeg Safeway stores sold to Red River Co-op". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  19. ^ Duffy, Andrew (February 13, 2014). "All Victoria Safeway stores sold to Overwaitea Food Group". Times Colonist. Victoria, BC. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  20. ^ "Calgary Co-op to switch food supplier to Save-On-Foods". CTV News Calgary. 2019-08-27. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  21. ^ "Calgary Co-op to source groceries from Save-On-Foods". Calgary Herald. 2019-08-26. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  22. ^ MacPherson, Alex (2019-08-08). "FCL 'disappointed' by Calgary Co-op's decision to pull food purchasing". Saskatoon StarPhoenix. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  23. ^ "Longtime supplier mistreated Calgary Co-op in bitter dispute over switch to new food source, court finds". Calgary Herald. 2023-12-22. Retrieved 2024-02-17.
  24. ^ "Breakdown of Calgary Co-op grocery partnership sparks layoffs and lawsuits". Canadian Press. 2020-04-05. Retrieved 2024-02-17 – via CTV News Calgary.
  25. ^ "Longtime supplier mistreated Calgary Co-op in bitter dispute over switch to new food source, court finds". Calgary Herald. 2023-12-22. Retrieved 2024-02-17.
  26. ^ "'Greedy Co-op': Unifor launches nationwide boycott of Co-op retailers". Global News. Retrieved 2019-12-29.
  27. ^ a b Lindenberg, Greg (December 1, 2021). "Parkland, Federated Co-operatives Split Up 337 Husky Stations". CSP Daily News. Retrieved 2022-07-14.
  28. ^ "Co-op acquires Western Canadian Husky retail fuel sites in $264M deal". Global News. Retrieved 2022-04-05.
  29. ^ "Longtime supplier mistreated Calgary Co-op in bitter dispute over switch to new food source, court finds". Calgary Herald. 2023-12-22. Retrieved 2024-02-17.
  30. ^ "Brands | Co-op Food". food.crs. Archived from the original on September 24, 2023. Retrieved January 10, 2024.
  31. ^ "Co-op launches Indigenous gas bar program". CBC News. 2021-01-21. Retrieved 2022-07-13.

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Fairbairn, Brett. (1989) Building a dream : the co-operative retailing system in western Canada, 1928-1988. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Western Producer Prairie Books.