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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). 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.