Legal Aspects of the Credit Union Movement: An Analysis of the Evolution of Saskatchewan Credit Union Legislation
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This year is the 50th anniversary of the enactment of The Credit Union Act of Saskatchewan and the establishment of the credit union movement in Saskatchewan. The purpose of this thesis is to examine whether credit unions have changed from their original nature, namely whether credit unions nowadays still retain their original social and economic functions. This question became more serious in the 1970s and may be largely answered through summarizing and analysing the evolution of The Credit Union Act and some legal problems which effected the credlt union movement. In other words, this thesis seeks to understand those changes credit unions have undergone, and from which have arisen a few issues relating credit union legal status. The thesis begins with an introduction to the background of establishing credit unions in Canada. Desjardins definitely played a key role in this process. As there are a few authors who have already written quite a lot about Desjardins and his role, this thesis only focuses on analysing the features of a few early credit union models. By doing this, one can see that early Saskatchewan credit unions mainly took after the Nova Scotian model, which evolved from the early Quebec caisses populaires and the early American models. All of the early North American credit union models were based on earlier European models. _Part II of Chapter 1 studies early credit union legislation in North America, which influenced later credit union legislation in other provinces of Canada, including Saskatchewan The Credit Union Act, 1937, the first credit union legislation in the province. This thesis analyses the evolution of The Credit Union Act of Saskatchewan in a rather detailed way from its enactment through every change during the period 1937-1985. Although the Canadian credit union movement did not initially start in Saskatchewan, the credit unions of Saskatchewan gradually, in certain aspects, achieved a more important position in developing the Canadian credit union movement. Therefore, it is useful to look at the features in the evolution of Saskatchewan credit union legislation. The other purpose of Chapter 2 is to try to prove that (1) credit unions have indeed changed a great deal; (2) these changes have been based on credit union member needs; (3) compared with other financial institutions, credit unions retain some of their uniquenesses, which show that credit - unions still keep their original social and economic functions. Chapter 3 of this thesis focuses on a few legal issues that credit unions have met and analyses the issues from which they arose. Before the analysis of these legal problems, Part II of Chapter 3 introduces and analyses some credit union definitions. This has helped the author to understand the nature of credit unions. Subsequently, cases relating credit union legal status and the opinions of some scholars about the constitutional position of credit unions are analysed. Finally, conclusions are drawn on two questions. One concerns the nature of credit unions. The other seeks to answer the question of constitutional jurisdiction over credit unions.