Frequently Asked Questions about Co-op
July 20, 2018

Have questions about Co-op? We have answers!


  1. What is Co-op?
    The CO-OP® brand is used by a network of retail co-operative associations across Western Canada that own and operate Co-op Agro Centres, Food Stores, Gas Bars/Convenience Stores, Home Centres, Liquor Stores, Pharmacies and more.
  2. Who owns and operates Co-op?
     Central Alberta Co-op is owned by its members, who democratically elect a Board of Directors. The Board of Directors works with management to operate the business.
  3. Why is every Co-op store different?
    Co-ops differ from community to community because they serve the unique needs of their local members.
  4. How is Co-op different from other businesses?
    A co-operative is a different way of doing business. It’s about people coming together in their communities for a common purpose. It provides the products and services that meet their needs.
  5. What is a co-operative?
    The International Co-operative Alliance defines a co-operative as an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.



  1. Do I need to be a member to shop at Co-op?
    Customers do not need a membership to shop at Co-op locations.
  2. Who can become a member?
     A Central Alberta Co-op membership is open to any individual over 14 years of age, businesses and non-profit organizations.
  3. How do I become a member?
    It’s easy to become a member.   You can purchase a Central Alberta Co-op membership at any of our locations or you will find our online membership application here.  It's as easy as 1, 2, 3!
  4. How much are Co-op shares?
     $5.00 doesn't buy you much any more but it will buy you a lifetime membership at Central Alberta Co-op!
  5. What is a Co-op number?
    Once your application is submitted, you will receive a Co-op number to use when making purchases at your local Co-op’s locations. This number tracks purchases and is used to determine potential cash back or equity.
  6. Can I use my Co-op number at all locations?
    A Central Alberta Co-op membership number represents your membership and can only be used at locations operated by Central Alberta Co-op.  Because each Co-op is a unique business that is locally owned and operated, run by a local board of directors, your Co-op number cannot be used across Western Canada. However, you can purchase shares in as many co-op associations as you wish.  Check out Who we are? below for a list of Central Alberta Co-op locations.
  7. What is cash back and equity?
    Central Alberta Co-op often shares any profits realized in a year with their members. The Board of Directors approves an amount, which is returned to members as a percentage of their yearly purchases. Members will receive some of this in cash and the rest will be deposited into an equity savings account that grows over time.
  8. When do I receive cash back and equity?
    If cash back and equity is approved by your Central Alberta Co-op's board of directors, they will be distributed once all accounting of the Co-op’s finances have been completed after its fiscal year end, which differs for each organization.
  9. Why do you require my Social Insurance Number?
    Your Social Insurance Number is required under the Income Tax Act for tax reporting purposes. Similar to some financial investments, cashback or equity distributed to Co-op members is considered taxable income. Central Alberta Co-op issues a T4A form in advance of filing deadlines.

Understanding your T4A

T4A's are mailed out in January of each year to members who received a member refund in excess of $100 in June of the preceding year. Please keep your address current.

Central Alberta Co-op is required by CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) to report all member refunds paid in excess of $100.00 and to withhold 15% of the amount earned over $100.00 and remit it to the government. The T4A reflects the member refund made to you in the previous year. Member Refunds are not necessarily taxable. Member Refunds earned on consumer goods (i.e. groceries, household items, gasoline for private car use) are not subject to tax. You are entitled to claim the tax withheld as outlined on your T4A as a credit when you file your personal income tax. (Patronage returns are normally only taxable for business persons, farmers, contractors, etc.)  For more information regarding your T4A slip, please visit CRA T4A Slip Overview.

Note: The amount indicated in Box 30 of your T4A is the total patronage allocation amount for the tax year. This number is the total allocation of cash and equity, not the amount of your general cash repayment cheque.

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