Angus, a District Guided by Social Economy
Did you know that Quebec has over 11,000 social-economy enterprises that generate $47.8 B in total sales? And many of them have set up shop at Angus.
Social economy businesses (companies, non-profits, co-ops, etc.) are those that manage their business activities with the greater good of society in mind. The notion of a solidarity economy was born of a reaction to the social damage caused by capitalism and the industrial era. In the 70s and 80s, the social economy was viewed as a positive solution to maintaining balance between the State, market and civil society. In 2013, the Social Economy Act was passed in Quebec, acknowledging the specific contribution of the social economy to the province’s socioeconomic development in many sectors.
50th Anniversary of the Caisse d’économie solidaire Desjardins
Another big player in Quebec is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year – the Caisse d’économie solidaire. The Caisse came into being in 1971 as a result of union action and today contributes to shaping the social, cooperative, community and associative landscape of Quebec. It is a unique collective financial instrument for individuals and groups that want to use their savings to build a better life for themselves and for their communities.
"The Caisse is a social project that aims to create an economy that is a means and not an end, that is at the service and not disservice of the people, and that can be utilized without drowning future generations on this planet in debt,” said Gérald Larose in the postscript of the Livre d’histoire de la Caisse (The History of the Caisse). Over the last 50 years, the Caisse estimates that it has provided $2.5 B in loans to collective enterprises in Quebec, while continuing to support new initiatives.
50th anniversary of the Caisse d’économie solidaire at the Angus Locoshop In this picture: Garry Lavoie, President, Isabelle Craig, host of the event and Marc Picard, Executive Director.
Did we mention that this solidarity economy star just set up shop in Angus on rue Molson? Marc Picard, Executive Director of the Caisse, explained: “Moving into Angus was a no-brainer. It brought us closer to a cluster of social economy businesses including the SDA, a major developer whose vision and influence have driven revitalization projects and sustainable development in various districts and cities.”
The Caisse d’économie solidaire joins other social economy organizations in the Collectif des entreprises d’insertion, which has contributed to the success of this unique model, along with Groupe Part, which promotes the socio-professional integration of people struggling with a mental health or psychosocial disorder via the restaurant service business.
Their space is located just a few doors down from the Caisse d’économie solidaire, in the Carrefour de l’économie sociale – a 33,000-square foot avant-garde building that has been turning heads. The organization was established in 2005 and has helped several social economy businesses to acquire their workspaces. This secures their funding and guarantees their long-term development.
Other important organizations at Angus:
- Dynamo: a consulting team that helps guide organizations and collectives on how to grow their collaborative and learning skills and how to work together.
- Insertech: trains and prepares unemployed young adults for the job market by refurbishing and repairing electronic devices to give them a second life.
- La Société de développement Angus: its mission is to breathe new life into the area and create opportunities for communities. Several of the SDA’s suppliers and partners are also players in the social economy, including Propret, Imprime-Emploi, Magnéto, UTILE, Habitation communautaire Loggia, Entremise, etc.
In a recent La ruée vers l’Est podcast, Jean-Martin Aussant and Christian Yaccarini discuss collective entrepreneurship. Listen (in French only)
The Chantier de l’économie sociale website offers a myriad of resources, including a business directory. Visit
The social novel, Le livre Angus, addresses the principles of the social economy. Discover (in French only)
The Livre d’histoire de la Caisse d’économie solidaire recounts the history of the Quebec-based institution. Read the book (in French only)