Frequently Asked Questions about Membership and the CCoP
Do you have questions about membership in the Canadian Company of Pilgrims, or questions about the organization? Well, you’ve come to the right place!! Here is a collection of questions we have been asked about membership, together with the answers! Dive in!
Questions About Membership in the Canadian Company of Pilgrims
I’m thinking about joining the Canadian Company of Pilgrims (CCoP). Tell me more.
What kind of organization is the CCoP?
We are a non-denominational volunteer-run membership organization, incorporated under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act. We support English-speaking Canadians interested in the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Our sister organization, du Québec à Compostelle, supports French-language pilgrims in Canada. Our chapters organize local events in many locations across Canada. For more information about our history and services, click here.
Who can be a member?
Membership is open to anyone, anywhere in the world, who has an interest in, or curiosity about, walking, cycling or riding a Camino to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Many of our members have walked one or more Caminos. Most of our members are Canadians, but you do not have to live in Canada, or be a Canadian citizen, to join.
How much does it cost to be a member, and how do I buy a membership?
Membership is just $10 per year, or $100 for a Lifetime Membership and can be ordered online. If you would prefer to order by phone or email, please contact us, and we will be pleased to make arrangements to process your purchase.
What are the benefits of joining the CCoP?
Many of our members first joined the CCoP so that they could purchase the Canadian credencial and badge that identify them as Canadians on the Camino.
We believe that the biggest benefits to membership in CCoP are the intangible ones: an opportunity to meet and support others who are interested in walking the Camino, share and read stories from others in our national newsletter Pilgrim Footprints, and the opportunity to gather with like-minded pilgrims and share your experiences, memories, slideshows, anecdotes and those great Camino socks you bought. Membership also provides ways to ‘give back’ to the Camino: a portion of all membership fees goes to support establishments providing services to pilgrims on the Camino, and the remainder supports the organization in its mission to encourage and inspire those who are considering doing, or have done, a Camino.
But there are tangible benefits too, including discounts on travel, insurance, and equipment. The website will always include the latest list of benefits; members can sign in to obtain the codes or contact information that allows them to access these.
I don’t consider myself a pilgrim. Can I still join the CCoP?
Yes! Being a pilgrim is about what you have in your heart, not about definitions. On the Camino you will find that if you’re walking the pilgrimage route, you are considered to be a pilgrim. You may also discover that anyone can become a pilgrim if they practise the traditional values of pilgrimage: hospitality, humility, self-examination, and companionship. Not everyone who walks the Camino de Santiago does so for religious or spiritual reasons; however, in walking the Camino, we honour the ancient traditions of a pilgrimage that for hundreds of years has led pilgrims from their homes through all parts of Europe and across Spain, to the place where the body of St. James the apostle was believed to have been transported and buried.
If I buy a membership, do I belong to a chapter or to the national organization?
Your membership is with the national organization, but as a member you have an opportunity to affiliate with any of our chapters as your ‘home’ chapter. You may also subscribe to as many chapter newsletters as you wish, and of course you will automatically receive our national newsletter, Pilgrim Footprints.
I do not do online banking but I would still like to purchase a membership/badge/credencial. How do I do that?
We understand that not everyone is comfortable with online ordering. Please contact our Order Desk and we will be pleased to make alternative arrangements to process your purchase.
Tell me more about the Canadian credencial and the CCoP badge.
What is a credencial?
The Canadian credencial (Spanish for credential), or Pilgrim Passport, identifies you as a Canadian pilgrim to the albergues (pilgrim hostels) along the Way. Collecting at least one stamp each day in your credencial allows you to apply for the Compostela in Santiago. Only pilgrims who have walked at least the last 100k or ridden at least the last 200k and who present an appropriately stamped credencial are eligible for the Compostela.
What is the CCoP badge, and why would I want one?
The CCoP badge has a striking design consisting of a scallop shell, the symbol of the Camino, overlaid with a Canadian flag. It is made of cloth and is designed to be sewn onto your backpack, to identify you as a Canadian on the Camino.
How far ahead should I buy my credencial?
You should allow at least 15 business days (3 weeks) between the date you place your order and your departure date, to allow sufficient time for processing and mailing.
Why do you ask for my departure date when I order a credencial? What if I don’t know my departure date?
We ask for your departure date only to ensure that we can get your order to you before you leave home for your Camino; if we are inundated with orders, we will ship them out based on departure date. If you do not know the date of departure, just put “Unknown” (or similar wording); if you only know the month, put the month and we will default to the first of that month.
I want to purchase a membership and/or credencial and/or a badge for a friend. How do I proceed?
Everyone must be a member to buy a Canadian credencial, as the credential includes the name of the person carrying it. Two or more people that live at the same address must each become members in order to be issued with a credencial. If you are a member and wish to purchase a membership and credencial for someone else, simply click on the Member Sign-Up at the top of the page and enter the name, email and address of the person you are buying the membership for in the fields provided. You can still enter your own credit card information for the payment. When you make the purchase (membership, credencial and/or badge), a confirmation email will be sent to the recipient’s email address. If you want this gift to be a surprise, please contact our Order Desk and we will provide a temporary email address you can use until the gift is received.
Do I have to use the Canadian credencial if I am a Canadian pilgrim?
You do not have to purchase or carry the Canadian credencial—but we encourage you to do so, as it identifies you as a Canadian pilgrim and a member of our organization. It is possible to purchase a (non-Canadian) credencial when you start your Camino, or to download an electronic credencial, but the Canadian credencial is available only through CCoP. It makes a wonderful souvenir of your journey.
Is the Canadian credencial good for other pilgrimage routes?
The Canadian credencial is authorized by the Cathedral in Santiago for any of the European routes (for example from France, Portugal, Italy, Germany and many other countries) that lead to the tomb of St. James in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. However, the Canadian credencial is not authorized for routes to other pilgrimage destinations, such as the Via Francigena to Rome.
Why would I make a donation to CCoP, and what would my donation be used for?
Donations, together with part of your membership dues, are used to support pilgrim-related services along the various Caminos to Santiago de Compostela. During the COVID pandemic, the need for such support has become so important that the CCoP began a special fundraising campaign called Keep the Camino Alive. As a volunteer organization our costs are minimal and we are able to donate almost every dollar received to support Camino-related businesses and services.
Is the Canadian Company of Pilgrims a charitable organization as defined by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)?
No, we are not a charitable organization as defined by the CRA; accordingly, we cannot issue official donation receipts for tax purposes. Briefly, the reason we have not pursued charitable status is that the associated costs and complexity are high, given the small size of our organization. We are entirely run by volunteers, and so our fees from the sale of memberships, badges and credenciales are sufficient to cover our operating costs.
I’m a member of the CCoP, and I have questions.
How do I manage my membership?
All the facilities necessary to manage your membership are on the Manage Member Profile page. On this page:
- under the About tab, you can see your level of membership (annual or lifetime), and your renewal date (if you are an annual member). You can also make any necessary changes to your profile, such as a change of mailing address, password or email address. Your email address is the one we use to send you any necessary emails about your membership, as well as our quarterly newsletter Pilgrim Footprints, which you receive automatically as a member.
- under the Chapters tab, you can update your chapter affiliation and add or delete chapter newsletter lists you wish to subscribe to.
- under the Caminoinfo tab you can update completed Camino routes and any hospitalero experience you have.
- under the MembershipCard tab you can print your personalized membership card.
- and under OrderHistory, you can view your order and payment history.
How do I find out my renewal date? Can I renew before that date, or do I have to wait for my renewal notice?
You can find your renewal date on the About tab on the Manage Member Profile page. You can renew at any time—or if you wish to upgrade to a Lifetime membership, you can also do that on the same page.
I am a member but I don’t seem to be receiving the CCoP Newsletter, Pilgrim Footprints, or my Chapter newsletter.
As a member, you automatically receive Pilgrim Footprints and you may also subscribe to as many of our chapter newsletters as you wish. You can manage your subscription preferences by logging in as a member and clicking on the list of newsletters, to let us know which ones you wish to receive. If you have done this and are still not receiving them, you should check the ‘junk’ or ‘spam’ folders in your email account; if you find our newsletter in there, click on it and unblock the @santiago.ca domain. You will always be given the option to unsubscribe from any of our newsletters if you wish.