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Statement on the Proposed Sale of MEC

Friday, September 18, 2020, Unceded territories of Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations/Vancouver B.C. – Jan O’Brien, Chair of Vancity’s Board of Directors, today issued the following statement regarding news this week of the sale of MEC:

“As the Board of Directors for Canada’s largest cooperative community credit union, we were all saddened and disappointed by news that Mountain Equipment Coop (MEC) – Canada’s largest consumer cooperative and one of its most cherished brands – may be sold to an American investment firm.

“While we don’t know the details of the proposed sale, or the specific factors that led up to it, the loss of such an iconic Co-op will be felt across the country, not only by the five million members directly affected, but by many more Canadians who have benefited from the Co-op’s positive contributions to community in this country.

“Given the many challenges facing our communities, cooperatives are needed today more than ever. As local and democratically-controlled institutions, cooperatives are purpose-built to be pillars of support to communities, operating for the benefit of members rather than shareholders.

“As an early innovator and leader in values-based business, MEC exemplified the best that Co-ops can bring to creating more value for local people –beyond the more limited and transactional value that comes from selling products to consumers. As a co-op, MEC represented more than just good gear. It embodied the values of its founding members that informed and supported an engaged community of outdoor enthusiasts that grew with them.

“We know that MEC, like so many Canadian companies, has been faced with a particularly challenging economic environment – one that inevitably forces very difficult decisions. The prospect of losing such a strong community-based and locally-controlled resource is a powerful reminder of the responsibility we all have to support and nurture more cooperatives in our local economy. They represent one of our most important tools to build local communities that are more equitable, prosperous and resilient and as a financial Co-op, Vancity will continue to serve its members and their communities during these challenging times.”

About Vancity

Vancity is a values-based financial co-operative serving the needs of its more than 543,000 member-owners and their communities, with offices and 60 branches located in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria, Squamish and Alert Bay, within the unceded territories of the Coast Salish and Kwakwaka’wakw people. With $28.2 billion in assets plus assets under administration, Vancity is Canada’s largest community credit union. Vancity uses its assets to help improve the financial well-being of its members while at the same time helping to develop healthy communities that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.

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