A cooperative is a business organization started by people who want to:
- use services or buy goods as a group
- have an equal say in how the business is run
- share in any profits the business makes
Alberta-based cooperatives must be incorporated under the Cooperatives Act.
For more information about the Cooperatives Act, see:
- Summary of the Cooperatives Act
- Summary of the Cooperatives Regulation
- Consumer Tip sheet – Cooperatives Act
Virtual meetings during the pandemic
Organizations can provide meeting notices, conduct meetings and hold votes using digital technology, if their bylaws do not prohibit it.
If organizations want to meet and vote in person, or if their bylaws already allow for online meeting and voting, no changes are required.
If organizations want to meet and vote electronically, but their bylaws prohibit such actions, the bylaws need to be adjusted.
There is a $100 incorporation fee.
How to apply
Step 1: Choose a name and get a NUANS report
A cooperative name must meet specific legislative requirements, and not contain legal elements needed for other entities. Once applied, the Director of Cooperatives approves the proposed cooperative name.
You need to get an Alberta Name Search (NUANS) report from a NUANS service provider.
Find a NUANS service provider.
The NUANS report reserves the proposed name for 90 days. The complete report must be submitted as part of the incorporation package.
Step 2: Develop your Articles of Incorporation document
PDF form issues
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- Save the PDF form to your computer – click or right-click the link and download the form.
- Open the PDF form with Adobe Reader. Fill it in and save it.
If you are still having problems opening the form, contact PDF form technical support.
The Articles of Incorporation is a document that the cooperative must prepare. This document must contain the information required by the legislation.
Refer to the Articles of Incorporation Requirements.
A signature page with the names and signatures of all the incorporators must be included. A minimum of 3 incorporators is required. The witness to these signatures completes the Affidavit of Execution form and gets it commissioned or notarized.
- Affidavit of Execution (PDF, 58 KB)
Step 3: Fill out the forms
The forms listed below must be completed and submitted as part of the incorporation package.
- Statutory Declaration (PDF, 95 KB)
- Information for Incorporation/Amalgamation/Continuance/Cooperative Name (PDF, 67 KB)
- Notice of Address or Change of Address (PDF, 83 KB)
The registered office and records addresses must be physical locations in Alberta. A separate mailing address in Alberta can be provided if desired.
- Notice of Directors or Change of Directors (PDF, 88 KB)
The names and addresses of the directors listed must match the information required in the Articles of Incorporation document.
Step 4: Submit your incorporation package and fee
Mail or deliver the Articles of Incorporation, forms, NUANS report and a $100 incorporation fee to the Alberta Director of Cooperatives.
Make cheques payable to the Government of Alberta. A Corporate Registry account can be charged. Other payment types accepted in-person only at address listed below.
After you apply
Once the documents comply with the legislation, and after they are processed, the Director of Cooperatives will issue a Certificate of Incorporation providing the authority for the cooperative to begin operation in the Province of Alberta. The certificate and a copy of the incorporation documents are sent to the applicant.
Creating and filing bylaws
The Cooperatives Act does not have standard bylaws. The act and the regulation identify what must be and what may be included in the bylaws.
See Bylaw Requirements for more information.
The directors must hold a members' meeting to make the bylaws. The bylaws must be signed by the directors and have an attached Affidavit of Execution verifying the signatures. The new bylaws must be submitted within 180 days of receiving the Certificate of Incorporation. These bylaws come into force on the day they are made or on any later date specified in the bylaws or in the resolution adopting them.
- Affidavit of Execution (PDF, 54 KB)
Register your cooperative in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba
The New West Partnership Trade Agreement (NWPTA) is a trade relationship between Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The agreement makes it easier for cooperatives to operate across provincial borders. Registration and reporting requirements are simplified or eliminated to make business expansion more cost-effective.
Extra-provincial registration processes between Manitoba and the other provinces will go into effect on or before January 01, 2020.
If you have an Alberta cooperative and want to conduct business in British Columbia or Saskatchewan, follow these steps.
Step 1. Get a name search report (NUANS search)
An Alberta cooperative must reserve a name for use in Saskatchewan and British Columbia. You can get these through:
Step 2. Fill out the forms
Complete the appropriate NWPTA form:
Forms for extra-provincial registration in British Columbia
- New Extra-Provincial Cooperative Registration (PDF, 223 KB)
Forms for extra-provincial registration in Saskatchewan
- New Extra-Provincial Cooperative Registration (PDF, 1.9 MB)
Step 3. Submit your forms
Send your forms to the Alberta Director of Cooperatives.
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