The Co-operators Expands Membership to Include FCNQ

GUELPH, ON, Dec. 8, 2005 – The Co-operators Group Ltd. has expanded its membership, welcoming La Fédération des coopératives du Nouveau-Québec (FCNQ). On November 24, The Co-operators board of directors approved FCNQ’s application, expanding to 32 the number of Canadian organizations that are member-owners of the group of companies.

Incorporated in 1967, FCNQ serves member co-operatives in the 14 Inuit villages of Nunavik, a 500,000 square-kilometre region in the northernmost reaches of Quebec. With a presence in all 14 villages, FCNQ’s business includes retail stores, marketing of Inuit art, banking, post offices, cable television, hotel and travel services, fuel storage and distribution, and construction. The co-operative model has proven successful in providing goods and services in this vast and remote area. Having started out in 1967 with less than $1 million in sales, FCNQ has grown steadily, exceeding $140 million in gross sales in 2004 with total assets of $64 million.

“The addition of FCNQ brings a new voice and perspective to The Co-operators governance table and helps to strengthen our presence in Quebec,” said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “It helps us achieve our vision of being a national co-operative financial services organization that serves the needs of Canadian communities in all regions, and which supports a strong co-operative system from coast to coast to coast.”

Co-operatives are owned by and operated for the benefit of those using its services. In 2004, disbursements to members through The Co-operators Membership Loyalty program totalled $10.6 million. In addition, $3.8 million was invested in Canadian communities through contributions to initiatives including co-operatives, non-profit enterprises and charities.

“We are very proud to become a member of The Co-operators, a leader in both the co-operative movement and the Canadian financial services industry,” said Rita Novalinga, general manager of FCNQ. “This is a very significant development for FCNQ that will support our vision: ‘Atautsikut/Together – working to develop as a people, leaving none behind.'”

About The Co-operators:

Based in Guelph, The Co-operators is a group of Canadian companies focussing on home, auto, life, group, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products and property management and development. Owned by 32 Canadian co-operative organizations, The Co-operators provides insurance protection to more than two million Canadians and has assets exceeding $6 billion. The Co-operators is well known for its philanthropy and community involvement. For the past two years, The Co-operators has been named among Canada’s 50 Best Employers by Hewitt Associates and Canada’s Top 100 Employers by Maclean’s magazine.