Marguerite Mendell, N. Neamtan


Although the vocabulary is new, the social economy has been well established in Quebec for more than a century. Its development has been an integral part of Quebec’s social and economic history. The cooperative movement has a long and established presence and has contributed to the well-being and economic growth of Quebec. Numerous associations and non-profit organizations have played a vital role in meeting socio- economic needs over the years. In Quebec, these collective enterprises, whatever their juridical status, are recognized as economic actors alongside the private and public sectors. What distinguishes the social economy in Quebec, however, is its broad reach that extends beyond these collective enterprises to include social movements and territorial intermediaries that identify themselves as part of the social economy. Together they are represented by the Chantier de l’économie sociale in Quebec, a multi-scalar and multi-sectoral institutional space that is unique in its diversity and in its unity. This does not imply consensus on all issues. Rather, the Chantier’s commitment to constructing an alternative model of economic development embedded in a process of deliberative democratic decision making is the basis for this innovative network of networks.

Mendell, Marguerite et N. Neamtan. « The Social Economy in Québec: Towards a New Political Economy », dans Mook, L., J. Quarter et S. Ryan (dir.), Why the Social Economy Matters, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 2010, p. 32-58.