A brief overview of the Co-operative

For over 60 years, Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Ltd. has provided a vital link between dairy farmers and consumers across Canada. Gay Lea Foods is a leader in the Canadian dairy industry and the largest dairy co-operative in Ontario. Our Co-operative is owned by over 1,400 licenced milk producers in the province of Ontario and Manitoba. Roughly half of the Co-operative’s 4,000 shareholders are actively engaged in the production of milk.

Established in 1958 in Ontario, today Gay Lea Foods enjoys a respected position as a major contributor to the success of the Canadian dairy industry. Read More >

Other important benefits of producer membership in Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Ltd. include the following:

Democratic Control

Gay Lea Foods producer members control the co-operative with their right to vote (one vote per milk licence). Our producer members are also encouraged to seek election as one of our 62 Delegates (with the permanent Manitoba Delegates in Zone 2) or 11 Directors. Delegates meet quarterly with Directors and Senior Management to review the operations of the Co-operative. The Directors meet monthly to discuss the business of the Co-operative and are involved in other industry committees. This grassroots involvement truly makes Gay Lea Foods a co-operative run by milk producers.

Profit Sharing

From 1958 to present, over $157 million in milk patronage and share dividends were returned to shareholders. Return on investment for producer members at the minimum investment level has remained competitive. (Please note that patronage payments depend on the profitability of our Co-operative. If profits decline significantly, patronage returns and dividends will be affected.)

Build Share Investment Over Time

Through the retains system (an assignment coming off the monthly milk cheque to purchase producer shares in Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Ltd.), producers are able to build their required minimum share investment gradually over time. Investment in Gay Lea Foods should be looked upon as a longer term investment as there are rules and restrictions for the immediate redemption of shares. Contact a Member Services Rep for further information.

Product Purchases at Shareholder Cost

Shareholders can purchase Gay Lea Foods products at a reduced cost from our facilities in Guelph, Teeswater, Hamilton, Hagersville, Ivanhoe and Milford or through one of our three product depot locations across the province at select times of year.

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