Important Change to Membership Fee Reimbursement

The Board recently revised the Co-op membership structure in line with our by-law 2.13. Effective January 19th, membership fees are now non-refundable. For members who joined prior to that date we are offering an 8-week opt-in window following AGM 2015 to retain their right to reimbursement.

Why are we doing this? Our former membership structure created a large liability on our balance sheet—all member fees were actually debt because they could potentially be claimed back.  If memberships are non-refundable, they become an asset of the Co-op and improve our financial stability as a business.

We also found that most members did not think of their membership fee as a loan, but rather as a one-time investment in the Co-op – for which we are very thankful. So that this change does not negatively impact members who do think of their membership fee as a loan, we are offering members the opportunity to exercise the right to future reimbursement by signing an opt-in form.

The Membership Fee Right-to-Reimbursement form is available at the Co-op. Members who want to opt in must fill it out and return it to staff to file. You can also print the opt-in form (click to download the form), fill it out, and email back to the Board ( It needs to be signed, as it represents your legal request to continue your right to reimbursement. The 8-week opt-in window closes April 20th, after which all fees are non-refundable.

The Mustard Seed is now over 1,800 members strong, and we truly appreciate every member’s contribution to the Co-op! Thank you for being part of building Hamilton’s local food culture.

4 thoughts on “Important Change to Membership Fee Reimbursement

  1. I’m a single person who shops at your store. I’m grateful for what you’re doing – local produce/meat/cheese. Why don’t you have a membership level for singles?

    • Hi Geri,
      Mustard Seed membership is defined as a household – whether you are single, couple, or a large family.
      We are looking into other membership payment options. However a membership share will always be $100 – as we are run by one member, one vote. We appreciate your interest in the co-op, and hope this is somewhat helpful!

  2. Hello, if I want to become a member –do I have to reside in Hamilton? I absolutely love your idea and would like to be a part of it. Can you please advise–thanks very much.

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