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100 years of history

The transformations, challenges and victories of the past 100 years have shaped our organization, but our cooperative heart remains unchanged.

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1918
1918
A merger on the horizon

In 1918, three cooperatives played a central role in Quebec agriculture: the Coopérative des fromagers de Québec, the Comptoir coopératif de Montréal and the Société des producteurs de semences de Sainte-Rosalie. The competition between them hindered not only their respective development, but the future of the cooperative movement as a whole. The idea of a merger was launched, but not everyone was in favour of it.

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A difficult climate and exchanges on the horizon

Talks continued for a few years, but failed each time. In 1921, the three cooperatives were faced with an economic crisis that resulted in a significant drop in agricultural commodity prices. At the same time, the head of the Coopérative centrale des agriculteurs entered politics and sold the Bulletin des agriculteurs, which upset the Minister of Agriculture at the time. In retaliation, the minister replaced the co-op's leaders with members of his choice and submitted a bill to create the Coopérative fédérée de Québec by merging the three cooperatives.

 

1922
1922
Birth of Sollio

The merger meeting of the three central cooperatives is called for on October 31, 1922. It was attended by 200 people, who agreed to the merger. This is how the Coopérative fédérée de Québec came into being, just after receiving royal assent on December 29, 1922.

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Merger

In addition to ending competition between the cooperatives, the merger had many advantages. The respective functions of the three organizations allowed for better use of manpower and premises, and the group thus benefited from better bargaining power with suppliers.

Event image 1922
1945
1945
Entry into the sale of equipment for farms in the dairy sector.
Entry into the sale of equipment for farms in the dairy sector.

With the advent of electricity in rural areas, the milking machine has become very popular because of the time it saves producers. Their popularity is so great that the Coopérative fédérée de Québec is struggling to keep up with demand! The available milking machines will be placed in as many parishes as possible, often at the home of a prominent person in the village.


 

Modernization and mechanization of the Cooperative's poultry and feed milling facilities.
 

The former agricultural mechanics department was reorganized in 1945. In addition to butter and cheese making equipment, it was now able to equip candling and poultry slaughterhouses and Quebec flour mills.

Event image 1945
Event image 1945
1958
1958
The Sonic Division began selling petroleum products.
The Sonic Division began selling petroleum products.

The petroleum business, less specifically agricultural than the other services provided by the Coopérative fédérée de Quévec, was born out of a need expressed by the farmers. Farmers were not familiar with the product and therefore had difficulty in trusting distributors. The cooperative entered the sector by purchasing the Piette & Frères company in Joliette. After 1970, the market changes with the arrival of diesel tractors and the Coopérative fédérée de Québec adopts a policy of opening service stations to serve rural populations.

Event image 1958
1977
1977

Creation of the hardware and agricultural machinery sector with the opening of a distribution center in Trois-Rivières. 

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Creation of the hardware and agricultural machinery sector with the opening of a distribution center in Trois-Rivières. 

Hardware products are more and more in demand by farmers and the Coopérative fédérée de Québec wishes to distribute a wider range of products to the agricultural stores of cooperatives. The Quincaillerie Co-op banner was created and was a great success from the start. 

Event image 1977
1991
1991
Creation of Olymel, today the Canadian leader in the production, processing and distribution of pork and poultry meat.

 

 

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Creation of Olymel, today the Canadian leader in the production, processing and distribution of pork and poultry meat.

In order to consolidate the pork processing sector, Sollio creates Olymel Limited Partnership by merging its activities with those of the Olympia Group.

Event image 1991
2001
2001

Olymel establishes itself in Western Canada with the acquisition of the Red Deer slaughterhouse in Alberta.

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Olymel establishes itself in Western Canada with the acquisition of the Red Deer slaughterhouse in Alberta.

Olymel's dominant position in the Quebec market and Alberta's strategic location explain this desire to expand westward. At the time, the province was experiencing an increase in pork production and its proximity to West Coast ports made it possible to gain a few days for export to Japan. Olymel thus helped establish the reputation of Québec pork abroad, which resulted in increased exports. In fact, the company is the leading Canadian exporter of pork, especially of value-added products.

Event image 2001
2004
2004
The Coopérative fédérée de Québec became La Coop fédérée.

 

 

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The Coopérative fédérée de Québec became La Coop fédérée.

La Fédérée and its network of affiliated cooperatives have adopted a new brand image that is rooted in the values of the past and firmly focused on the future. The new black-and-green graphic signature showing the furrows of a field symbolizes the company's fundamental vocation since 1922, and the name chosen to designate it is now "La Coop fédérée". By highlighting its main trademark, "CO-OP", the company is positioning itself with both its members and the public.

Event image 2004
2008
2008
Beginning of expansion outside Quebec in the fertilizer sector through the acquisition of Agronomy Company of Canada and Agrico.

 

 

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Beginning of expansion outside Quebec in the fertilizer sector through the acquisition of Agronomy Company of Canada and Agrico.

The Crop Production Sector is striving to increase its service offering, but it is also expanding considerably outside Québec with the purchase of two Ontario companies: Agronomy in 2008 and Agrico in 2011. These major acquisitions enabled La Coop fédérée to increase its penetration of the Ontario and Maritime markets. It has thus become a major player in the sale of crop production inputs in Eastern Canada.

Event image 2008
2015
2015

BMR Group, in which La Coop fédérée has held a minority interest since 2013, became a fully owned subsidiary.  

 

Event image 2015
2016
2016

La Coop fédérée combined its energy distribution (Sonic) activities with those of Groupe Filgo. As a result, La Coop’s network became a partner of the new company created from this merger, Groupe Filgo-Sonic, with 50% of the shares.  

Event image 2016
2018
2018

Begun in 2016, the Vision 2020 project took shape in 2018 with the launch of a pilot project for the first regional agricultural partnership with VIVACO groupe coopératif. The modernization project now continues under the name Vision Plus.

2019
2019

La Coop fédérée’s agricultural division became Sollio Agriculture.   

 

 

Other highlights.
Agreement between BMR Groupe and Lefebvre & Benoit

An agreement was announced whereby BMR Group acquired a stake in Lefebvre & Benoit, a leader in the distribution of building materials to contractors.   

 

Ensuring the world has a sustainable future

La Coop fédérée and its divisions subscribe to the UN’s six sustainable development goals (climate action, decent work and economic growth, zero hunger, good health and well-being, clean water and sanitation, and responsible consumption and production).

2020
2020

At the dawn of its 100th anniversary, La Coop fédérée became Sollio Cooperative Group.

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Cooperative Group launched the From Us to You initiative

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sollio Cooperative Group launched the From Us to You initiative—later joined by 17 agricultural cooperatives across the network—to donate more food and funds to organizations that help people in need across Quebec and Eastern Ontario. 

2021
2021

Sollio Cooperative Group was a proud winner of Canada’s Best Managed Companies. 

Building on its cooperative business model, its divisions demonstrated their resilience and adaptability during the COVID-19 pandemic. Production lines were not spared, but by working together, the organization remained agile despite the obstacles it faced. 
 

Event image 2021
2022
2022

Sollio Cooperative Group celebrates its 100th anniversary—firmly rooted in the present while looking toward the future.

Event image 2022