Provision of Care through Cooperatives

Cooperatives are emerging as an innovative type of care provider, particularly in the absence of viable public or other private options. Cooperatives can also generate access to better terms and conditions of work in the care sector (e.g., access to benefits, more bargaining power, regularized hours)–especially for female employees.

Cooperatives foster interdependency in care by privileging equitable inclusion and democratic decision making across the care chain. As such, care workers, care beneficiaries and their families and other stakeholders have a voice in the nature of service provided and the operations of the care provision enterprise.

Despite these added values, cooperatives in the care economy face various challenges that hinder their sustainability and viability. Issues such as limited access to capital and start-up revenues, a lack of cooperative know-how and knowledge gaps across the care sector impede cooperatives’ potential. Opportunities to overcome these challenges include sharing information, developing focused training initiatives, and building strategic alliances and partnerships across the care chain and cooperative movement.