Ownership FAQs

What does ownership of the Co-op mean?

Ownership means you’re entitled to an equitable vote in a democratically-run business. The Mustard Seed works to achieve the objectives of its owners, including sourcing local and wholesome foods for owner households and our broader community.

What are the benefits of ownership?

While anyone can shop at the Co-op, only owners will receive:

  • 2% owner savings on all items (given in the form of co-op credits, stored on your account to be used whenever you’d like)
  • Additional weekly sales items for owners only
  • Access to owner bulk ordering privileges and discounts
  • Discounts at co-op workshops & events
  • Voting rights in Board of Director elections (one vote per owner-household)
  • Opportunity to be involved in the leadership and structure of your store

What are an owners’ responsibilities?

  • Stay informed about  the business by reading regular Co-op emails
  • Participate through voting, completing surveys, and providing informal feedback on Co-op issues
  • Purchase a $100* ownership, providing capital for Co-op operations

Who can join The Mustard Seed?

Ownership is open to any person over 16 years of age, as well as incorporated entities.

How much does it cost?

A household ownership fee is a one-time cost of $100*. A typical household would recoup their ownership fee in less than two years with owner-only savings.

Does an ownership need to be renewed every year?

No, your ownership doesn’t need to be renewed. Your one-time $100 ownership fee grants you equal participation in the co-op enterprise. There is also the option of paying for your membership in installments, see below.

How do I sign up to become an owner?

Come visit us at the store (460 York Blvd.) to fill out an ownership form and pay your $100 fee. You will then get your very own ownership card and passport. You can also download an ownership form, fill it out ahead of time, and bring it with you to the Co-op if you’d like.

How do you define a “household” for ownership purposes?

A household is anyone sharing a dwelling. If you live alone, you are a household. If you live with your family, or partner, or you share a home with a group of friends, you are a household according to the Co-op. Our ownership forms and cards record primary and secondary contacts for ownership.

Two or more people in a household may jointly hold a ownership, but they count as one person for voting purposes. Individuals within a household may purchase separate ownerships.

Is there a way to become a member on a payment plan, rather than with $100 up front?

When a one-time payment is not feasible, membership may be made through a payment plan. An initial minimum payment of $25 is required; the amount remaining will be added to your Co-op Credits account as a negative balance. This may be paid up at ant time, including through Co-op Credits received on each grocery purchase. All benefits of membership are extended except for voting rights: all members must be paid up and in good standing to vote on Co-op business matters.

The Board of Directors has final authority over accepting all memberships, including those on payment plans. (added April 2017)

What should I do if my contact info changes?

You can email us with your new contact info.

Do I get an ownership card?

Yes, owners will get a permanent swipe card that you will get during your first visit to the Co-op after joining.

Can I transfer my ownership to someone else?

Yes, our policy has now changed and memberships may be transferable, subject to board approval. If you would like to transfer your membership to someone else (due to a move, etc.), please email the board with your request and contact info for the person you would like to transfer to. (added April 2017)

Am I able to withdraw my ownership if I move or change my mind?

With written notice, your ownership can be voluntarily terminated. Please bring your owner card and written notice of your request to the store at 460 York Blvd. Ownership fees are one-time and non-refundable. Upon termination of ownership, all rights and interests in The Mustard Seed Co-operative Grocery shall cease.

Will I be able to volunteer at The Mustard Seed?

There are lots opportunities to volunteer – read more here.

Is the Co-op too good to be true?

It’s true!  You can effect change in our food system, own your own grocery store, and build your community all at once.

Additional Details

The liability of an owner is limited in accordance with the Co-operative Corporations Act in Ontario.

Still have questions? Email us.