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 1,300 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 membership). Our producer members are also encouraged to seek election as one of our 62 Delegates (with the permanent Manitoba Delegates in Zone 2) or 12 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, $197 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.



The Member Relations Team appreciates your patience as we work through the impact COVID-19 has had on our plants and our business.  Our priority continues to keep our members safe and also keep our employees safe as they work hard to produce wholesome dairy products for consumers across this great nation.


Due to the COVID-19 crisis, Gay Lea Foods has suspended all product depots and any product orders for members.  Based upon this current environment, Gay Lea Foods has not determined when product orders and / or product depots would be reinstated.  It is expected no change would occur in the near future (the next 3-5 months). We plan to provide regular updates to our members regarding these two items.


Gay Lea Foods does have retail store locations at Teeswater, Hamilton (Salerno Cheese), Madoc (Ivanhoe Cheese), Milford (Black River Cheese), Hagersville (Hewitt's Dairy), Thornloe and Calgary (Alberta Cheese) that are currently open where some Gay Lea Foods products are available. If you are interested in purchasing a particular product, we encourage you to contact the store in advance to ensure they have your desired product in stock.  Please note that these retail locations will not be able to submit a product order for you.


Teeswater Farm Fresh Country Store                       Ivanhoe Cheese

21 Clinton Street, Teeswater, ON                               11301 Hwy 62 N, Madoc, ON

Phone: (519) 392-6864, ext. 2230 or x2234                 Phone: (613) 473-4269 ext: 7230


Salerno Cheese                                                        Thornloe Cheese   

20 Morley Street, Hamilton, ON                                 999697 Hwy 11 N, Thornloe, ON

Phone: (905) 544-6281 ext: 1                                     Phone: (705) 647-7441    


Black River Cheese                                                   Alberta Cheese Company Ltd.   

913 County Road 13, Milford, ON                                2730 84 Avenue SE, Calgary, AB

Phone: (613) 476-2575 ext: 1                                      Phone: (403) 279-4353 ext. 7821    


Hewitt's Dairy Bar                                                  

4210 Hwy 6, Hagersville, ON                              

Phone: (905) 768-5266                                    


We appreciate your understanding as Gay Lea Foods faces the challenges of COVID-19 and works to keep both our members and our employees safe.


If you have any questions, please contact Jessica Taylor or Deanne Reilly directly:

Jessica Taylor – 519-838-6267                       

Deanne Reilly – 519-838-6268


Co-operatively Yours,

The Member Relations Team

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