Volume 10 Issue 3
CWCF April 2018
CWCF 2018 Conference: Co-operation in the Changing World of Work

2017 Conference 

The 2018 CWCF Conference will take place November 1 - 3 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with the theme of "Co-operation in the Changing World of Work". Anyone interested in learning how worker co-ops can best respond to and indeed may be uniquely well-suited for technological, political, and social changes sweeping across the globe will definitely want to attend. 

The keynote speakers are  Bruno Roelants, Director General of the International Cooperative Alliance and Rob Wesseling, President and CEO of The Co-operators.  There will be many opportunities for networking, training, socializing, and more.  CoopZone will be co-hosting the Conference.  Stay tuned for more details in the coming months.
In This Issue
An Update on the Strategic Planning Process

CWCF's strategic planning process continues to go well. The board and staff (and welcome guests Isabel Faubert, Executive Director of Reseau Co-op and Mel de Jager, of member Sustainability Solutions Group) met on April 5 and 6 with consultant Russ Christianson in beautiful Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia. The meeting began by reviewing the strategic planning completed to date, such as the brainstorming session at the AGM, and the objectives for the session. People were then split into small groups to focus on one of the SWOT categories: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This analysis will become part of the strategic plan.

The next day began with a creative process to identify the best ideas to scale up Canada's worker co-op movement. The idea of the bicycle as a symbol for the worker co-op movement arose, with an image of it moving forward on a sunny day, propelled by a tailwind. This recognizes that CWCF has the internal team, resources and ideas necessary to succeed, and that its members act in solidarity with other worker co-ops, providing support and education.

The strategic plan will seek to build on this foundation in a variety of ways. CWCF will continue to support its member co-ops, both online and in person, by offering advisory services and networking opportunities such as the annual conference, and may seek to add more to this offering. The organization will also focus on new worker co-op development. One of the ideas generated included partnering with potential if unlikely allies such as social enterprise centres, chambers of commerce, and Community Futures Development Corporations. Other possibilities included directly promoting the idea of worker co-ops as an alternative model for business succession, including through creating a website similar to that of Project Equity in the US, reaching out to accountants, lawyers, and succession consultants, and carrying out training in specific cities, along the lines of the Reseau Co-op's Parcours program.

The next steps include a meeting of our Strategic Planning Committee, key informant interviews with a variety of internal and external stakeholders, and invitations to members to participate. Look for more updates in future newsletters.

Worker Co-op Business Transfer Website

By Hazel Corcoran, CWCF
The site www.transfertcoop.com on business transfers to worker co-operatives, based on the CGSCOP site www.jetransmetsamessalaries.fr, was launched last year by the Quebec Worker Co-operation Network / Réseau Coop, a member of CWCF. The Réseau web site includes basic worker co-op definitions, the steps in the buy-out process, links to sources of capital for co-op business transfer, and a useful documents section. The documents include case studies, the trade union-worker co-op brochure developed for the Quebec union movement, "the Advantages of Co-operation: Worker Buy-out Project" of CQCM and MCE Conseils; and guides on governance, human resources management, and financial management in a worker co-op. It also includes links back to the CGSCOP website including, among other things, the 30-second commercial aimed at soon-to-retire owners, here.  Thanks to a grant from Vancity, the Réseau Coop's web site is in the process of being translated into English. 

Good Job: The growth of Co-operative Business in British Columbia

Employees of Vancouver worker co-op Shift.

By Rachel Sanders, TheTyee.ca

It's a job that might not appeal to everyone: pedalling a giant tricycle through Vancouver in the rain, snow and blazing sun delivering goods to local businesses.
But Devan McLelland loves it.
"Every day it kind of feels like a bit of an adventure. The wind is blowing in your hair and it's a lot of fun," he said, standing in the East Vancouver warehouse of Shift Delivery. "I feel freedom when I'm out there."
Shift is a zero-emissions delivery company that puts trikes instead of trucks on Vancouver's streets, reduces carbon emissions, and challenges people's assumptions about the way things get done. But it's not just the work McLelland loves. It's the way his business is organized: he's a co-owner of the company, which is set up as a worker co-operative.
Co-ops, which are incorporated under a different model than traditional businesses, are member-owned and democratically governed.  
"I like the sense of ownership, being part of a team where it's flat in structure and not a hierarchy," McLelland said.
In recent years, co-ops have seen dramatic growth in British Columbia. Employment at co-ops grew by 22 per cent between 2011 and 2016, according to a 2016 report commissioned by the B.C. Co-operative Association. Nearly 17,000 people work at co-ops around the province, and the BCCA report forecasts continued growth.

Resignation of CMC Executive Director Denyse Guy
***La version française suit.***

CWCF wishes to express its appreciation to Denyse Guy for her great contributions to the co-operative movement, including but not only as Executive Director of CMC.  Thank you, Denyse, and we wish you all the best!

"Dear co-operators and co-operative stakeholders,
It is with deep regret that we announce the departure of our Executive Director, Ms. Denyse Guy.  She has tendered her resignation and will be stepping down from her role as our founding Executive Director in October 2018.
Ms. Guy moved to Ottawa in 2012 during the International Year of Co-operatives to lead the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) and Co-operative Development Foundation (CDF) as Executive Director.  Ms. Guy was an instrumental force in the creation of Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada, which united the anglophone apex association CCA and the francophone apex, le Conseil canadien de la coop é ration et de la mutualit é  into a unified voice.  She has also provided stalwart leadership in forging closer national bonds in the co-operative movement.
During her  tenure , Ms. Guy showcased CMC at an international level by strengthening international ties particularly in the Americas and supported the development of the Canadian Co-operative Investment Fund which will be a key instrument for co-operative development in Canada.   " It has been a wonderful six years, I thank the membership that trusted my leadership and supported CMC ' s execution of our 2017-2020 strategic plan " , Ms. Guy shared.  
The Board of Directors will begin an executive search for a new Executive Director to be hired in the fall.   We are thankful that Denyse has provided the CMC Board with sufficient time to implement our succession plan and conduct the search.  
Best regards,
Doug Potentier
President of the Board  
Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada"
Démission de la directrice générale de CMC, Mme Denyse Guy 
"Chers coop é rateurs et parties prenantes de la coop é ration,
C'est avec un profond regret que nous annon ç ons le d é part de notre directrice g é n é rale, Mme Denyse Guy. Elle a remis sa d é mission et quittera son poste de directrice g é n é rale fondatrice en octobre 2018.
Mme Guy est d é m é nag é à  Ottawa en 2012,  à  l'occasion de l'Ann é e internationale des coop é ratives, pour diriger l'Association des coop é ratives du Canada (ACC) et la Fondation du d é veloppement coop é ratif (FDC)  à  titre de directrice g é n é rale. Mme Guy a  é t é  une force instrumentale dans la cr é ation de Coop é ratives et mutuelles Canada, qui unissait l'association apex anglophone ACC et l'apex francophone, le Conseil canadien de la coop é ration et de la mutualit é , en une voix unifi é e. Denyse a  é galement jou é  un r ô le de premier plan dans la cr é ation de liens nationaux plus  é troits dans le mouvement coop é ratif.
Au cours de son mandat, Mme Guy a repr é sent é  CMC au niveau international en renfor ç ant les liens internationaux, en particulier dans les Am é riques, et appuy é  le d é veloppement du Fonds d'investissement coop é ratif canadien, qui sera un instrument cl é  du d é veloppement coop é ratif au Canada.  «  Ce fut une merveilleuse p é riode de six ans, je remercie les membres qui ont fait confiance  à  mon leadership et qui ont appuy é  le CMC dans la r é alisation de notre plan strat é gique 2017-2020  » , a d é clar é  Mme Guy.
Le conseil d'administration entreprendra une recherche pour un nouveau directeur g é n é ral / une nouvelle directrice g é n é rale qui sera embauch é /e  à l'automne. Nous sommes reconnaissants que Denyse ait fourni suffisamment de temps au CA de CMC pour mettre en  œ uvre notre plan de rel è ve et effectuer cette recherche.
Meilleures salutations,
Doug Potentier
Pr é sident du conseil d ' administration
Coop é ratives et mutuelles Canada
Co-operative Congress 2018 

Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada's (CMC) fifth Co-operative Congress is taking place in Victoria, British Columbia, June 19 - 21 at the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort. Early bird registration ends May 7.

This year's welcome reception, the evening of June 19th, will be overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the beautiful Delta Ocean Pointe patio. The hotel is a seven-minute walk from the centre of Victoria.

Congress 2018 will explore the theme "CO-OPERATION IN A CHANGING WORLD" with content on economic and social change and how the co-operative and mutualist model can become more relevant in the years ahead. 

Keynote Speaker, Olympic long track speed skating medalist Kristina Groves, will share her insights and inspiration for her work as the Project Ambassador for Alberta Solar Co-operative.  

The Congress Awards Ceremony on June 20 will celebrate Canada's outstanding Emerging Co-operator, the Co-operative of the Year, and the Co-operative Achievement Award recognizing exceptional careers in the sector.

This year's program also includes local co-op tours and an increased number of workshops that will be accessible to local co-operators for a nominal fee. Details on the tours and workshops are being developed and added to the event website. As always, there will be numerous networking opportunities and a Gala evening with excellent food and entertainment.

Please visit CMCevents.info to find out more. 
Diana Dovgan Appointed Secretary-General of CECOP-CICOPA Europe
***La version française suit.***
Diana Dovgan has been appointed secretary general of CECOP - CICOPA Europe (the European Confederation of worker, social and producers' cooperatives active in industry and services) and CICOPA (the international organisation of industrial and service co-operatives).

She has spent a decade as senior policy officer at the organisation, and assumed her new position on March 1.


CECOP - CICOPA EUROPE et CICOPA nomment Diana Dovgan au poste de Secrétaire générale

CECOP - CICOPA Europe et CICOPA, les organisations internationales des coopératives industrielles et de services, annoncent la nomination suivante:

Les conseils d'administration des deux organisations nomment Diana Dovgan, responsable des affaires publiques de CECOP - CICOPA Europe et de CICOPA, au poste de Secrétaire générale à compter du 1er mars, suite du départ du précédent Secrétaire général, Bruno Roelants.

Cooperatives and the Future of Work

By Sion Whellens, Vice-president of CECOP

"A lot of resources are going to be spent in our city. Therefore the questions is: who is going to get them? Who is going to benefit?" says Kali Akuno, of Cooperation Jackson.
The question of the future of work is above all a question of power and ownership. It is a question the cooperative movement seeks practical answers for, every day, in neighbourhoods, cities and regions.
An international survey among 10,000 members of the general population by the consulting firm PwC found that 53% believe technological innovations will be the most transformative factor in shaping the future world of work - more than resource scarcity and climate change, shifts in global economic power, migrations and urbanisation. This is also the dominant narrative in the mainstream media. Yet, co-operators understand that technology follows social and economic power, not the other way round.
Keeping Businesses Independent When Family Can't Take Over:  Succession Planning for Purchasing Co-ops & Their Members

By NCBA CLUSA and Project Equity

Succession planning is an urgent need among an increasing number of businesses, especially as baby boomers near retirement age. Because purchasing cooperatives are an important part of helping their independent business members stay independent, competitive and rooted in their communities,  NCBA CLUSA  has partnered with  Project Equity  to better understand the succession challenges of purchasing cooperative member companies, and to assess how employee ownership transitions can help keep these companies independent over the long term. Join NCBA CLUSA, Project Equity and our purchasing cooperative panelists (Stephen K. Irvin from  Amicus Solar  and Jack Bailey from  IDC-USA ) to learn more about how purchasing coops and other independent business networks can utilize employee ownership and worker cooperative conversions to help locally-owned businesses stay locally-owned for the long term.

Worker cooperatives can be a boon for rural Maine's economy

By Vaughan Woodruff, Bangor Daily News

Last winter while talking with a friend, the conversation turned to the lack of employment opportunities in central Maine. A parent with an advanced degree in physics, he poignantly remarked, "For many fields, you need to be an entrepreneur in central Maine to make competitive wages."

Those of us who have returned home to Maine after leaving for education and experience know this truth. The changing demographics of our rural Maine communities is dramatic and well-documented. We have lost key industries and seen our communities grow older and less secure as our upwardly mobile youth chase opportunities in southern Maine and beyond.

Nearly a decade ago, I permanently returned to my hometown of Pittsfield. This had little to do with the economy and a lot to do with place - my family has lived in central Maine for nine generations, and the community-centered ethic of rural Maine was something that would clearly benefit my two stepsons.

I brought with me a small solar business, as well as an engineering degree and teaching certifications. If my company didn't make it in central Maine, I was confident that I'd be able to find steady work. I have been very fortunate to be able to follow Plan A and build my company in my hometown.

While hard work and luck have played a role, the ability to attract the right people has been foundational in our success. We have been fortunate to find skilled, hardworking individuals who are committed to this company. These talented folks help me shoulder the responsibilities of running a business in a way I would never have been able to do on my own.

As any small-business owner can attest, the addition of these talented individuals increases one's responsibility and stress. Our payroll now directly affects more than a dozen families in the area, and our success has become something of a bellwether for a town that has seen significant losses in job quality during the past decade. As our company grows, my level of risk increases. Increased risk in the business world is often seen as an opportunity for greater profits, but with two young sons, I would gladly trade profits for time to share the fleeting moments of their youth.

The solution that makes the most sense for us is converting to a worker cooperative. This business model more accurately aligns responsibility and reward and will allow us to grow in a manner that maintains the quality of our work and job quality for our staff. The formal involvement of our workers in corporate decision-making coupled with direct economic benefit provides an authentic mechanism for accountability and prosperity.

In Argentina, a Worker Co-op Media Model Emerges

by Steve Dubb, Nonprofit Quarterly

"At the end of 2001, Argentina's political and economic crisis was the main theme in Latin
Argentine journalist Javier Borelli
American news coverage," notes Carolina de Assis in Journalism in the Americas, a blog maintained by the Knight Center at the University of Texas at Austin. In response to the economic crisis, workers seized control of many abandoned factories. The rise of these "recuperated businesses" (empresas recuperadas), as they came to be called, were profiled in the documentary The Take. And the sector continues to grow; as of 2013, 311 worker-recuperated enterprises employed 13,642 workers, according to a University of Buenos Aires study.

Workers co-ops in Argentina are common in the textile and metalworking sectors, de Assis points out. However, she adds, "in the last two years and for the first time, media outlets were the majority of companies recuperated in Argentina in the period, according to a survey of the Open Faculty Program of the University of Buenos Aires."

Les enjeux de l'entrepreneuriat collectif 

This collective commons article, in French, was written by one of CWCF's interns from France, Maud Grégoire, who did her PhD in Lille, France. 

Etre plus grands ensemble, c'est l'un des avantages de l'entrepreneuriat collectif, comme le montrent de récentes initiatives françaises. En se regroupant au sein d'une même entreprise, des travailleurs autonomes peuvent sécuriser leur activité professionnelle tout en déclenchant des mécanismes de solidarité utiles à chacun et à tous. Avec toutefois un risque important : justifier les discours néolibéraux sur l'ultra-flexibilité, contribuer à détricoter les acquis sociaux. D'où la nécessité d'un projet politique fort, porté par les travailleurs eux-mêmes.

Lire la suite...

Gathering of Alberta Co-operatives 2018

October 15-17, Stony Plain AB

We invite you to save and share the date for the Gathering of Alberta Co-operatives. The fun takes place in Stony Plain, on the evening of the 15th of October until mid-day on the 17th. The Gathering of Alberta Co-ops will feature a series of innovative and engaging events built around the following themes:

Knowledge Sharing and Mentoring
The co-operative sector has an abundance of skills, experience, and knowledge. All programming at the Gathering will connect co-operators to learn from one another.

Growing the sector
How much of Alberta's GDP will be attributed to co-operatives in the next five years? How will membership grow? What new co-operatives will exist? How will co-operatives stay ahead of the changes in our economy? These are the questions that will be addressed at the Gathering!

Leading the Sector
No organization can outpace the quality of its leadership. We want to explore and discuss the core competencies for co-operatives to attract, retain, and develop excellent leaders

Celebrating Alberta's Co-operative Leaders
Join in on celebrating Alberta 2018 co-operative leaders when we pass out the 2018 Co-operative Leadership Awards.
More details to come!
Want to learn more? Want to get involved? Email Seth Leon, Manager of Co-operative Services,  sleon@acca.coop 

The Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation (CWCF) is a national, bilingual grassroots membership organization of and for worker co-operatives, related types of co-operatives (multi-stakeholder co-ops and worker-shareholder co-ops), and organizations that support the growth and development of worker cooperatives.  CWCF's e-newsletter is available free of charge to anyone with an e-mail address and an interest in worker co-operative developments in Canada.
Please send any comments and suggestions to: 
Kaye Grant 
Editor of CWCF Newsletter 
(204) 257-1198