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Press Releases | 01 February 2022

Sollio Cooperative Group Proudly Celebrates its Roots and Heritage

100 Years of Cooperation

Lancement du 100e

Montréal, February 1, 2022 – Today, Sollio Cooperative Group, which includes Sollio Agriculture, BMR Group and Olymel, officially launched the celebrations around the 100th anniversary of its foundation, which will extend throughout the year. The highlight of those celebrations will be during its 101st Annual General Meeting in February 2023.

For the Cooperative, this event is a unique opportunity to recall the central role it has played in Quebec’s agriculture and to showcase its history and roots. 

“100 years ago, the Coopérative fédérée de Québec was founded in response to the need for training in the agricultural sector and thereby, its emergence. The ensuing enormous productivity gains enabled it to stand up against foreign competition and open up new markets. Too little emphasis has been placed on the role cooperatives have played in modernizing Quebec’s agriculture. This is a key aspect of the work accomplished by our organization,” declared Ghislain Gervais, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sollio Cooperative Group. 

“Throughout our 100-year history, we have been able to hold our own in the market through sheer strength of numbers. The reasons driving us to work together have always been the same: our network is the source of innovative solutions and of a desire to act for the benefit of the community. Our cooperative model is as relevant as ever to our regions’s vitality, both socially and economically, and deserves to be boldly emphasized,” he added. 

“Very few 100-year-old companies have made their mark in Quebec. To a large extent, Sollio’s story is the story of Quebec’s agriculture! The cooperative model helped Quebec producers achieve their ambitions by giving them the tools to market their products locally and beyond, receive the training they needed to improve their performance, acquire the equipment necessary to remain competitive, and so much more,” explained Pascal Houle, CEO of Sollio Cooperative Group. 

Sollio is everywhere
The 100th anniversary promotional campaign will be launched in spring 2022 under the theme “Sollio is everywhere”, and will aim to make as many people as possible realize that Sollio Cooperative Group, along with its three divisions, Sollio Agriculture, BMR Group Inc. and Olymel S.E.C., is present throughout our society and has a major impact on our economy and agriculture, even though, historically, it has worked behind the scenes to expand its reach. 

The past also speaks eloquently to the strong resilience of Sollio Cooperative Group and its business model. This is why the “100 Years of Cooperation” signature will be front and centre at the festivities, enabling us to revisit the major stages of the Cooperative’s history, including the cooperatives in its network, producers and its divisions. 

“Celebrating our 100th anniversary is important at every level of the company, for our members as well as our employees. Realizing what their organization has accomplished over time, and is accomplishing even today after 100 years, is a source of pride. We want to remember the full extent of the positive impact that Sollio has on a daily basis and to have it recognized for its true value. We are an agricultural cooperative. We work to promote agriculture and the role of producers. It’s a way to thank them for being there for Quebecers and Canadians with their products and for their hard work each and every day,” added Pascal Houle. 

Sollio Cooperative Group is using the opportunity of the launch of its 100th anniversary celebrations to set up an online webpage where employees, members and partners can revisit the history of one of Quebec’s very own flagships. You can view it at https://sollio.coop/en/100e-anniversaire.

About Sollio Cooperative Group 
Sollio Cooperative Group is Canada’s largest agricultural cooperative with Quebec roots. Since 1922, our day-to-day work of cultivating, growing, producing, processing and building tomorrow’s economy has been part of the DNA of our 16,150 employees and the 7,000 workers in our affiliated cooperatives. With more than 123,000 members, producers and consumers grouped in 48 traditional agricultural and consumer cooperatives, Sollio Cooperative Group helps feed people by bringing prosperity to farming families and ensuring a sustainable future for everyone. Thanks to its three divisions—Sollio Agriculture, Olymel L.P. and BMR Group Inc.—Sollio Cooperative Group proudly drives economic and social development in the regions, generating sales of $8.2 billion (over $11 billion if we include our affiliated cooperatives). Sollio Cooperative Group is considered one of Canada’s best managed companies. To learn more, visit sollio.coop

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For more information:
Marie-Hélène Cliche, Director of Communications, Sollio Cooperative Group
514-347-5939 | marie-helene.cliche@sollio.coop 



Appendix 1

Historical timeline – key milestones in the history of Sollio Cooperative Group

 
1922 - Birth of the Coopérative fédérée de Québec as a result of the merger of three cooperative centres, the Coopérative des fromagers de Québec, the Comptoir coopératif de Montréal, and the Société des producteurs de semences de Sainte-Rosalie. 
 
1945 - Modernization and mechanization of the Coopérative’s poultry and milling facilities. Entry into the dairy farm equipment market. 
 
1958 – Entry of the Sonic division into the oil products market. 
 
1977 – Creation of the hardware and agricultural machinery sector with the opening of a distribution centre in Trois-Rivières. 
 
1991 – Birth of Olymel, the Canadian leader in pork and poultry production, processing and distribution.  
 
2001 – Expansion of Olymel to Western Canada with the acquisition of the Red Deer slaughterhouse in Alberta. 
 
2008 – Expansion into the fertilizer industry outside Quebec through the acquisition of the Agronomy Company of Canada and Agrico.  
 
2015 - BMR Group, in which La Coop fédérée had held a minority interest since 2013, becomes a fully owned subsidiary. 
 
2016 – La Coop fédérée combines its energy distribution (Sonic) activities with those of Groupe Filgo. As a result, the cooperative’s network becomes an equal partner in the new company created from this merger, Groupe Filgo-Sonic, with 50% of the shares.  
 
2016 – Launch of the Vision 2020 project, now called Vision Plus, whose aim is to modernize La Coop fédérée and its network. The cooperatives consolidate in order to reach the critical mass needed to make the investments that will ensure the development of their agricultural sector.
 
2019 - In order to ensure a sustainable future for our world, La Coop fédérée and its three divisions subscribe to six of the UN 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 – La Coop fédérée modernizes its brand image and becomes Sollio Cooperative Group.  

2022 – Sollio Cooperative Group celebrates its 100th anniversary. 

Appendix 2

List of Sollio presidents and CEOs from 1922 to now

Names of the Chairs: 
 
1923-1931    Arsène Denis 
1931-1940    J-N. Bérard 
1940–1943    Omer e. Milot 
1943-1956    Joseph-Armand Pinsonneault (longest term, 13 years) 
1956-1963    Adélard Bellemare 
1963-1969    Albert Gingras 
1969-1980    Roland Pigeon 
1980-1987    Paul-Émile St-Pierre 
1987-1992    Alphone-Roger Pelletier 
1992-2003    Paul Massicotte 
2003-2016    Denis Richard (longest term, 13 years) 
2016- …       Ghislain Gervais 
 
Names of the Chief Executive Officers: 
 
1923-1930    J.-Arthur Pack 
1930–1943    Joseph-Félix Desmarais 
1943-1957    Henri-Charles Bois (longest term, 14 years) 
1957-1962    Raynald Ferron 
1962-1964    Henri Beauregard 
1964-1965    Joseph-Arthur Courteau 
1965-1976    Georges-Étienne Turcotte 
1976-1988    Louis-Philippe Poulin 
1988-1988    André-F. Lizotte 
1988-1992    Jean-Marc Bergeron 
1992-2000    Jean-Pierre Deschênes 
2000-2005    Pierre Gauvreau 
2005-2014    Claude Lafleur 
2014-2021    Gaétan Desroches 
2021- …       Pascal Houle 

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100 years of cooperation