Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Canada's credit union system. Member-owned and democratically controlled, credit unions take deposits and offer loans, but they also make very lasting contributions to our communities through financial literacy and by serving the underserved.
First formed in Lévis, Quebec, in 1901, credit unions continue to be a Canadian success story. Despite the economic downturn, they have maintained a strong financial position and are supportive partners of small businesses. Their commitment to service is evident in the 382 communities across Canada where the credit union is the sole financial institution.
Outside of Quebec and the territories, there are 406 credit unions and caisses populaires, with over 1,700 locations, serving more than five million members. Including Quebec's caisses populaires, one in three Canadians are credit union members.
To mark International Credit Union Day, I join all members in extending my congratulations to Canada's credit unions, their members and communities.