Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation

 La F�d�ration canadienne des coop�ratives de travail

April 2014
Vol 6, Issue 3



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 CWCF News
The CWCF-CoopZone Conference program (Nov. 6-8, in Wolfville, NS) is shaping up and will be announced soon.   Nominations are still open for the CWCF Awards until June 1, 2014.  Click here for information about the awards.

The new CWCF member insurance program is now available through Co-operators.  More information is available further in this newsletter. 

The strategic planning committee is currently working on an updated CWCF Strategic Plan.  Members will have a chance to add their input into the plan at our AGM in November.

Currently we are highlighting IGNITE! videos done at our 2013 conference.  Tune into our Facebook page to see our members highlighted in these videos - so far, Neechi Commons and Careforce Homecare.
Please invite your friends to like our page,  too!
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In This Issue
New Member Insurance Program
Old Town Glassworks / Yellowknife Glass Recyclers
Tribute to Kevin Thompson
National Co-op Challenge / Le Défi national coop
Who Needs a Boss? (from the NY Times)
Fagor - a US perspective
CMC Officially Launches
International Summit of Co-operatives-News
Sommet international des coopératives 2014
Parliamentarians form an All-Party Co-operative Caucus/ Version française suit
Hélène LeBlanc, Co-operatives Critic/ Version française suit
Honourable Mauril Bélanger, Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Vanier/ Verision française suit
New CWCF Member Insurance Benefit Program now available!   
The Co-operators Member Benefits Program for CWCF Members


Exclusive insurance coverages and savings--


CWCF has worked together with The Co-operators to create a new CWCF Member Benefits Program, for members of CWCF as well as their members and workers. This program is open to CWCF's Regular Members (worker co-ops, multi-stakeholder co-ops) as well as individuals who are members of CoopZone, whether affiliated through an organization or as individuals. Please read below to review the insurance coverages and savings that are available. The types of insurance which you can obtain through this new program are: travel medical, auto, home, group insurance (medical / dental / disability / life), and farm insurance. To learn more, contact The Co-operators directly and identify yourself as a member of (or with a member of) CWCF.

Why choose The Co-operators?

The Co-operators has over 65 years of history as a co-operative. Its focus extends beyond increasing profits and share values, to a concern for satisfying the needs of clients, Member-Owners (including CWCF), staff members and communities. The Co-operators is offering CWCF members exclusive coverages and savings including:


Discounted travel insurance Members can purchase travel medical insurance plans and receive a 15% discount. There is no age limit and coverage is available worldwide 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-958-8210 for more information.


Auto and home insurance service fee savings Waiver of service fees on home and auto insurance for members paying by pre-authorized debit from a bank account.


Enhanced home insurance coverage Claims Forgiveness, and availability of Enviroguard and Better Limits for Members' home insurance endorsements.


Farm and home member loss experience discounts These discounts are applied on renewing Co-operators farm and home insurance policies when member group claims experience has been favourable.


Medical/dental/life/disability A competitive group insurance plan offering medical, dental, life and disability coverage. If for a group of three or more people, please contact Hazel Corcoran at CWCF for a referral (or 1-403-276-8250). If for one or two people, you can access the Member Health Advantage program by reviewing the following website for more detail and an online quote -, or please call 1-888-761-7851 for more information.


Enhanced farm insurance coverage Available on Co-operators farm insurance policies, this benefit gives you 24 additional coverage options and increased policy limits. This additional protection is valued at $300, but is available for a cost of only $25.


To get access to this Member Benefits program, generally you work with a local Co-operators Advisor, and must identify yourself as a CWCF member.   Contact your local Co-operators Advisor today to learn more. In addition, for travel insurance and medical/dental/life/disability (for one or two people), you can call one of the toll-free numbers above. For general information on the program, visit


Note: some types of coverage are not available in Quebec at this time. Please contact Hazel Corcoran for information on what is available there.


Group benefit plans underwritten by Co-operators Life Insurance Company.


Travel insurance is administered by TIC Travel Insurance Coordinators Ltd., underwritten by companies within member companies of The Co-operators Group Limited.


 Old Town Glassworks Became a Certificated B Corp  
Submitted by Lois McDonald-Layden, General Manager, Old Town Glassworks, Yellowknife, NT, Canada.

Old Town Glassworks  

This news about one of our members:


Old Town Glassworks is a worker co-op, previously called Yellowknife Glass Recyclers Co-op.


Our B Corp profile is now live!  Check it out.  We will soon be getting a lot of press about this. 


"The B Corporation certification is a third party standard requiring certified companies to meet comprehensive social sustainability and environmental performance standards, meet higher legal accountability standards, and to be transparent to the public with the score they achieve on the assessment. B Corp certification applies to the whole company across all product lines and issue areas. For-profits of all legal business structures, are eligible for certification."


To learn more, see: Old Town Glassworks  



Tribute to Kevin Thomson
Ottawa, March 25, 2014


Dear friends and supporters of La Siembra Co-operative,


It is with tremendous sadness that we announce the passing of Kevin Thomson: one of La Siembra's second generation founders, a true fair trade and co-operative pioneer, and a mentor and inspiration to many people involved in the movement.


In 2000, Kevin, along with friend and business partner Jeff de Jong, assumed responsibility for La Siembra as a small regionally-focused fair trade and organic hot chocolate company. In the following years, they led the co-operative through a transformative phase of growth and development, turning "Cocoa Camino" (later to become simply "Camino") into one of Canada's leading fair trade brands.  


Kevin had an unwavering commitment to the fair trade, organic and co-operative movements. Under his stewardship, La Siembra successfully held firm to the belief that a business can be successful without compromising its values and commitment to community, relationships and fairness.


Kevin felt it was important that there be a place in the world for a small, employee-owned business selling fair trade, organic products that embody co-operative principles. With great skill, passion and tenacity, through La Siembra, he helped create and establish that place.


Kevin has been taken from all of us far too soon but his accomplishments are unquestionable. His impact, his spirit and his co-operative commitment have been firmly imprinted on all of us, and for that, we are incredibly grateful.


In solidarity and with our sincere condolences to his friends and family,


The Board and Members of La Siembra Co-operative  



People wanting to send messages of condolences and support to the family can send emails to


Please note, in lieu of flowers, Kevin had hoped that those who wanted to, would make a donation in his memory to the Stephen Lewis Foundation ( or to another charity important to them.



  The National Co-op Challenge is back!

Le lien pour la version fran�aise suit.


Find out how your co-op can win a share of $200,000!

For the third consecutive year, The Co-operators will distribute a total of $200,000 to eight emerging and expanding co-operatives across Canada. This online contest gives co-ops a chance to win valuable prizes aimed at growing their businesses while increasing their exposure.


 How does it work?

From May 5 to May 30, 2014, co-ops submit an electronic application and then a panel of judges will narrow the list to 16 finalists. Next, each finalist will produce a creative video up to 90-seconds long that highlights their co-op and commitment to the co-op business model. Each video will be available on the contest website from September 3 - October 1, 2014, where co-op fans can vote for their favourite to win. The contest will be promoted on The Co-operators Facebook and Twitter sites.


Several chances to win!

In total, there will be eight prizes distributed in four regions across the country: West, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic.


  • Two co-ops from each region will receive $25,000 in cash funding!
  • $500 will be provided to the eight finalists who are not one of the major prize winners.
  • Every finalist will be invited to participate in a consultation session aimed at growing their business.

 Winners will be announced during National Co-op Week on October 17, 2014.


Are you up for the challenge?


An important part of being a co-op is connecting to other co-ops, encouraging them to grow and getting more Canadians involved with co-ops. After successful contests in 2012 and 2013, The Co-operators is pleased to give emerging and expanding co-ops a stronger voice in their communities.


We hope you will apply or spread the word to other co-ops!



Le lien pour la version fran�aise est disponible ici.   


Who Needs a Boss?

The worker co-op movement gets recognized in the NY Times! 





Fagor Electrdomesticos - a US perspective   

by Phil Amadon and Kristen Barker (Cincinnati Union Co-op Initiative)



The failure of Fagor Electrodomesticos (FE) and the beginning successes of the union co-op movement inspired by the Mondragon -  United Steelworker agreement in 2009 are two sides of the same coin.  The majority of the working class around the world seems to know more clearly than any other social group that economic disaster is not only possible but probable in our modern day global economy. The failure of FE may frighten some, but workers who know the facts take strong comfort in the solidarity that the FE worker owners have been shown by their compatriots in the rest of Mondragon. 


 The failure of FE to many working class activists is not surprising. What is remarkable is the success of the efforts to relocate, find early retirement, or give support to the FE worker owners. The level of aid and support in real money, job offers, and retirement benefits far outweighs the usual response to a plant shutdown in the US or in many other places in the world.  We know that businesses will fail and that cooperatives will go under.  The international cooperative movement must learn from Mondragon, how to give real aid, comfort, and solidarity support to our brothers and sisters who will be the victims of these inevitable business failures.  


We understand that some people in Mondragon are afraid that their cooperative system no longer works properly. We, in the heart of the most powerful capitalistic country on earth, respectfully disagree. In the United States working people have witnessed plant closings and economic displacement over and over again without any solidarity or real help for the workers who suffer. When we see a real effort to help people get back on their feet after an inevitable failure we are impressed. Because of the uneven development of modern capitalism a multi-sector association of co-ops is the only form of cooperative organization that can take advantage of opportunities in certain sectors and buffer periodic crisis in other sectors, thereby protecting workers who are suffering from crisis in any one sector of the economy. 


Without the Mondragon model of a cooperative of many cooperatives tied together by organization, monetary relations, and common rules and practices, we are left with individual co-ops which will flounder on their own sinking in a sea of economic hardship with no one to help them except for people throwing platitudes rather than actual life preservers.  Many people in the U.S. cooperative movement cry out for autonomy, individuality, independence when the seas are smooth, but when a ship starts sinking in heavy seas the watchwords are unity, solidarity, and survival.


Finally, a word on capital. Many in the international worker cooperative movement have known clearly for over 150 years that worker owned cooperatives would always have a rough time raising capital.  We would argue that the search for growth and the search for expanding opportunities for the international cooperative movement cannot be based solely on the search for money but must be based on the search for more allies integrated in a broader co-op movement, based on Mondragon principles, across many countries. 



CMC Officially Launched on April 1, 2014

Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC) is a national, bilingual association that represents more than 18 million co-operative members from 9,000 co-operatives. CMC allows the co-op movement in Canada to speak with a single voice. To find out more about CMC visit their website here 


The 2014 Congress is making its way to New Brunswick

Join us in Moncton, New Brunswick for the 2014 Congress on June 16-19; be part of the celebration and join hundreds of Canadian co-operators to listen, to learn and to shape the future of co-operatives and mutuals in Canada and their contribution and influence around the world. Click here for more information 


Joignez-vous � nous au Nouveau-Brunswick!


Joignez-vous � nous du 16 au 19 juin � Moncton, au Nouveau-Brunswick, dans le cadre du Congr�s 2014. Prenez part � la c�l�bration et joignez-vous � des centaines d'autres coop�rateurs canadiens qui �coutent, s'�duquent et donnent forme � l'avenir des coop�ratives et mutuelles au Canada et � leurs contributions sur la sc�ne mondiale.

Cliquez ici pour plus d'informations 




International Summit of Co-operatives  

From Farm to Table: Cooperatives are Active in Every Sector of the Value Chain

Next October in Quebec City, the Summit will address a number of food security issues, including how to boost productivity, strengthen competitive advantages, secure the supply chain and reduce speculation.


Review the list of the 5 studies to be presented at the Summit  ( )


The Summit unveils the names of some of the experts who will present the results of studies, take part in panels, and address many health and social care services issues. From October 6 to 9, they will discuss equitable access to health care for all, the business opportunities inherent in an aging population, and the consolidation of health cooperative and mutual enterprises. See the list of speakers and panelists.


Read their recent newsletters 



Sommet international des coop�ratives 2014  

De la production � la table du consommateur : les coop�ratives sont actives dans tous les secteurs de la cha�ne de valeur


En octobre prochain, � Qu�bec, le Sommet s'int�ressera � plusieurs enjeux de s�curit� alimentaire, notamment comment am�liorer la productivit�, accro�tre les avantages concurrentiels, s�curiser la cha�ne d'approvisionnement et r�duire la sp�culation.


D�couvrez les cinq �tudes qui seront pr�sent�es lors du Sommet  (


Parmi la quinzaine d'experts en soins de sant� et services � la personne

Le Sommet d�voile aujourd'hui les noms de certains des experts qui pr�senteront des r�sultats d'�tudes, participeront aux tables rondes et donneront des conf�rences sur les multiples enjeux en lien avec la sant� et les services � la personne. Ils aborderont notamment l'acc�s �quitable pour tous aux soins de sant�, les occasions d'affaires inh�rentes au vieillissement de la population et la consolidation du mouvement coop�ratif et mutualiste en sant�. Consulter la liste des conf�renciers et pan�listes.


Pour lire la lettre d'informations  



Parliamentarians form an All-Party Co-operative Caucus

La version fran�aise suit


March 25th marked the inaugural meeting of the first All-Party Co-operative Caucus on Parliament Hill. The purpose of the All-Party Co-operative Caucus is to discuss and support policies directly affecting co-operative enterprises. The objectives of the All-Party Caucus are to promote the co-operative movement, to contribute to its development and to facilitate exchange and dialogue between parliamentarians and the co-operative sector stakeholders. Click here to find out more  



Les Parlementaires tiennent la r�union inaugurale du Caucus multipartite sur les coop�ratives

Cliquez ici pour en savoir plus 


Newsletter from H�l�ne LeBlanc


La version fran�aise suit


The first edition of the electronic newsletter from the Co-operatives' Critic - H�l�ne LeBlanc   



 Click here to view her newsletter online  


La premi�re �dition du bulletin �lectronique de votre porte-parole des coop�ratives -

H�l�ne LeBlanc  

Cliquez ici pour lire le bulletin 



Letter from the Honourable Mauril B�langer

La version fran�aise suit 


In his letter, Co-operative Advocate Mauril B�langer shares information about his travels around Canada visiting co-ops from Quebec to British Columbia and he has other co-op updates to share.  Click here to read his letter. 


Dans sa lettre, le d�fenseur en mati�re de coop�ratives Mauril B�langer partage de l'information sur ses voyages � travers le Canada pour visiter les coop�ratives du Qu�bec la Colombie-Britannique, et il a d'autres mises � jour sur les coop�ratives � partager. 

Cliquez ici pour lire sa lettre.  

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