These scenes of economic activity are different in a notable way from similar ones occurring throughout North America.
Each enterprise involves a cooperative or non-profit organization — which together make up 8-10 percent of the province’s GDP. More than 7,000 of these “social economy” enterprises ring up $17 billion in annual sales and hold $40 billion in assets (Canadian dollars). They account for about 215,000 jobs across Quebec.
Quebec’s social economy (also translated as “solidarity economy”) extends far beyond the province’s two major cities, and includes manufacturing, agricultural cooperatives, daycare centers, homecare services, affordable housing, social service initiatives, food co-ops, ecotourism, arts programs, public markets, media, and funeral homes. The capital that fuels all this economic activity comes from union pension funds, nonprofit loan funds, credit unions, government investment, and philanthropy.