Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation

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

February/March 2014
Vol 6, Issue 2



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 CWCF News
CWCF is currently conducting a Telephone Member Survey.  In addition to updating member contact information; we will also be collecting general information about our worker co-op members in order to gain a better understanding about the successes, challenges and needs of our members.

This is a way to connect and help us better understand how CWCF can be pertinent for you.

CWCF is working on a new insurance program through Co-operators for members, including for medical / dental, travel medical, & home and auto insurance for members and employees of members.  More information will follow soon.

The new CWCF Facebookpage is becoming popular.  New content is added weekly.  Next up will be highlighting the Ignite videos and the co-ops that participated. 

Please invite your friends to like our page,  too!
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In This Issue
2014 CWCF-CoopZone Conference
Brewing Beer --- Co-operatively
Worker Co-op Index
CMC Officially Launches
Shift Change now showing
Co-ops May Increase Worker Life Expectancy
World Co-op Monitor
Worker Co-ops in Spain increasing
Augmentation de 32.% du nombre des coopératives de travail associé créées en Espagne
Workers of self-managed factories gather in Marseille.
International Summit of Co-operatives-News
Sommet international des coopératives 2014
 2014 CWCF-CoopZone Conference :
--We Are Seeking Workshop Suggestions, and Award Nominations-- 

Yes, the Conference is still many months away but the enthusiastic 2014 Conference Planning Committee is already hard at work.


Mark your calendar


The Conference will focus around partnerships and collaboration, both externally -- among co-ops / between co-ops and other organizations, and also internally - member engagement within worker co-ops.    


Location: Wolfville, NS 

Dates: November 6 - 8, 2014


The Committee, chaired by Eric Tusz-King, includes Benjamin Ryder (Arrowseed), Debra Moore (Just Us Coffee), Jessica Provencher (La Barberie), Joel Stoddart (Careforce), Reba Plummer (Urbane Cyclist) and staff; Peter Hough (CoopZone Representative) Kaye Grant and Hazel Corcoran.


The Committee welcomes your ideas and suggestions. 

If you have a suggestion for a workshop, please submit it to Kaye Grant by April 11th at,



CWCF Awards - Please Submit Nominations!


Nominations are sought by June 1st, 2014 for either or both of the CWCF Awards which can be given at each annual Conference.   CWCF strongly encourages worker co-ops to nominate either their own or another co-op for the Worker Co-op Best Practices Award, or an individual for the Worker Co-op Merit Award. Award winners, who are generally from the region in which the Conference is held, will have their registration and expenses covered to attend the Conference.


Submit your nominee(s) to Kaye Grant,, with a brief write-up as to why you are nominating the co-op or the individual. The details of each Award are below.


Award for Worker Co-op Best Practices


The Worker Co-op Best Practices Award goes to a worker co-operative which has demonstrated best practices in governance and/or operations, including in upholding the values and principles of the co-operative movement within their co-operative, and has shared, or is willing to share their experience and learnings with other worker co-operatives in Canada. The award winner will be chosen by the Board of CWCF. Co-operatives in which a current Board or staff member of CWCF is a worker-member are ineligible.


The recipient(s) is/are presented with the Award during the CWCF annual Conference, and then will be asked to present a profile of the co-operative to the Conference. Generally the recipient co-op is from the region in which the Conference is held. CWCF covers the registration fee and expenses to have one member of the recipient co-operative attend the Conference. The Award is presented with a brief explanation of the co-operative's best practices, and then the recipient is given the opportunity to make a speech or to present a workshop, which would be with the support of CWCF if required.


Worker Co-op Merit Award

The Worker Co-op Merit Award goes to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to worker co-operation in Canada, as judged by the Board of CWCF. Current Board and staff of CWCF are ineligible.


The recipient is presented with the Award during the CWCF annual Conference. Generally the recipient is from the region in which the Conference is held. CWCF covers the registration fee and expenses to have the recipient attend the Conference. The Award is presented with an explanation of the person's contributions to the movement, and then the person is given the opportunity to make a brief speech.


Brewing Beer in Kitchener-Waterloo ... Co-operatively  

This news about one of our new members:


The worker-owners of Together We're Bitter Brewing Co-operative (TWB), by their own admission, got tired of waiting for a "quirky craft brewpub in the heart of Kitchener" so they're endeavouring to start one that puts their values into practice. By serving fresh craft beer brewed in house paired with a locally-sourced food menu, TWB aims to bring together the local food and craft beer movements - and do what they can to build a vibrant, prosperous community.  They were drawn to the co-operative model because it complements and reflects their community focus.


In the words of Culum Canally, their brewmaster, "Bitter is better and better means different. As a worker-owned co-operative, TWB is dedicated to creating an equitable working environment." Creating good jobs for the community seems a natural fit with creating quality craft beer. Collaboration is common among home and craft brewers, an ethos that is reinforced by the co-op model. In seeking to build new flavours, brewers often share ideas and swap stories. The group is committed to building a community around this venture and fostering conversations around fair employment and delicious beer.  


Along the way, they have had great help from On Co-op, the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation, as well as several Ontario-based worker co-ops like La Siembra, The Big Carrot, Urbane Cyclist, and Planet Bean.  "They've all been very generous with their knowledge and support during our planning and development phases", Culum continues. The TWB team is heartened by the knowledge that they've been supported from the start - and looks forward to being able to pay that forward in years to come.  


The group is currently location-hunting and building its investor base- keep an eye out for future investor meet and greet sessions put on by the TWB team. To find out more or get involved, visit  


Re-printed from the OnCo-op newsletter February 28, 2014



Worker Co-op Index

The Co-op Index is a tool through which you can compare your co-op to an ideal worker co-op, on a long list of variables regarding operations and governance.   The focus is on the perceptions of the members and other workers.  The analysis prepares the foundation for determining key areas and ways in which to improve the co-op.

"This innovative, new diagnostic management tool for worker co-ops was  developed through the leadership of CWCF members, along with academic partners, working together in a federally funded Community University Research Alliance (CURA) project." Joy Emmanuel (CoopZone Board President) 


The tool itself is a survey of over 150 multiple choice questions. The instrument is simply called the Worker Co-op Index, but it is a comprehensive tool that provides a snapshot of organizational effectiveness based on member/workers' perceptions of their overall engagement in managing the affairs of the co-op and how well the international co-op principles and values are integrated into daily operations and processes of the co-op. The Index is based on research which indicates that, as a worker's engagement in organizational management increases, it is accompanied by increases in worker productivity, motivation and satisfaction, as well as in overall organizational efficiency. This research is grounded in the Total Participation Management theory and provides a guide for understanding the systems and processes concerned with governing a sustainable co-operative enterprise.


Members of worker co-ops are both employees and members of their collectively run enterprise. Whether the co-op is set up to allow for interchangeable roles among workers or they have designated roles based on acquired skill sets, the worker co-op model encourages a strong level of engagement and a sense of ownership in collectively governing the affairs of the business. One of the underlying assumptions embedded in the tool is that organizational health is reflected in the perceptions and attitudes of the workers. These perceptions can be measured and the aggregate information used to adjust the operations of the co-operative.


More information on the Co-op Index is available here.
To apply to CWCF for funding to implement the Co-op Index tool, click here and select Co-op Index Grant Application form.

CMC Officially Launches on April 1, 2014

On April 1, 2014 the new apex organization, Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC), will launch. This will be the first time that one national bilingual organization will represent all co-operatives and mutual enterprises across Canada.


As a celebration of CMC's beginning, the association's newly-crafted logo, branding and web site will be unveiled at an event in Ottawa on April 1 at 5 p.m. ET.


"This will be a truly historic occasion, one that many co-operators in Canada have been awaiting for a long, long time," said Denyse Guy, CMC's interim executive director. "It will make our movement stronger, more cohesive and more dynamic than it has ever been before. We are writing a new and exciting chapter in the history of the co-operative movement, and I'm proud to be a part of it." (News Briefs, Vol. 15, No. 6 March 20, 2014)



Shift Change now showing

SHIFT CHANGE, first released during the U.N.-declared International Year of Cooperatives (2012), airs on KCTS 9 on April 6 at 5:00 pm. The film will be available for broadcast on PBS stations via NETA beginning July 1, 2014.

is an inspiring documentary film produced by award-winning Northwest filmmakers Melissa Young and Mark Dworkin.


At a time when many are disillusioned with big banks, big business, and growing inequality in the United States, employee ownership offers one of the solutions for workers and communities. SHIFT CHANGE visits thriving cooperative businesses in the U.S. and Spain, sharing on-the-ground experiences from the worker-owners on the front lines of the new economy.


Click here for more information. 



Co-ops May Increase Worker Life Expectancy

Boyle writes about the findings of David Erdal, author of Beyond The Corporation: Humanity Working. Erdal found that life expectancy for Italian citizens in a town with a high degree of co-operatives was 2.5 years longer than that of citizens in a nearby town without cooperatives. To read the article, click here.

World Co-operative Monitor

 This is the first multi-dimensional ranking of co-operatives worldwide.
 The main goal of the world Co-operative Monitor project is to improve a multi- indicator database reporting on the socio-economic value and impact of cooperatives both within a global scenario and in their regional and national contexts.

Click here to submit your co-op.

An increase of 32% in the creation of worker cooperatives in Spain


Worker cooperatives in Spain have grown by 32% in the third quarter of 2013, compared to the same period last year, according to data recently released by the Spanish Ministry of Employment and Social Security. Again, this demonstrates how this business model grows and is resilient in spite of the economic situation.

Analyzing the increase by region, almost all regions have seen growth. In Andalusia the rate is particularly high, 60% over the same period last year; followed by Murcia, with an increase of 21 %. Worker cooperatives in the Basque Country, Catalonia and Valencia have increased more than 11 %.


These percentages show the employment recovery in worker cooperatives gets to the levels registered in 2007. The president of the Spanish Confederation of Worker Cooperatives (COCETA), Juan Antonio Pedre�o has indicated that while worker cooperatives "are no strangers to hardship and suffer the blows of the overall situation, they have managed to not only maintain but increase the number of jobs" while stressing that "we are talking about long term jobs, employment has grown since 2007 by more than 10 points, while temporary employment has decreased by more than 8 points".


Over 80% of the people in these businesses have a steady job, since they are members of the cooperative. In addition, women hold nearly 50% of cooperative jobs, and 40% of the positions of responsibility, which is above other business models. "This is not just any job but a quality one, based on the essence of cooperatives: democracy, social responsibility, solidarity, commitment and flexibility, as evidenced by the fact that the survival of cooperatives has also experienced growth", Pedre�o concludes.



Augmentation de 32% du nombre des coop�ratives de travail associ� cr��es en Espagne

Selon les donn�es publi�es r�cemment par le minist�re espagnol de l'Emploi et de la S�curit� sociale, au cours du troisi�me trimestre 2013 le nombre des coop�ratives de travail associ� a augment� en Espagne de 32 % par rapport � la m�me p�riode de l'ann�e pr�c�dente. Ceci d�montre une fois encore la mani�re dont ce mod�le �conomique se d�veloppe et r�siste malgr� la situation �conomique.


Si on analyse cette augmentation par r�gion on note que la quasi-totalit� de celles-ci ont connu une telle croissance. L'Andalousie se d�tache avec plus de 60 % par rapport � la m�me p�riode de l'ann�e pr�c�dente. Elle est suivie par la Murcie avec une augmentation de 21 % tandis que les Communaut�s autonomes du Pays basque, de Catalogne et de Valence montrent une augmentation de 11 %.


Ces pourcentages se traduisent par une reprise de l'emploi dans les coop�ratives aux niveaux de l'ann�e 2007. Face � de tels chiffres, Juan Antonio Pedre�o, pr�sident de la Conf�d�ration espagnole des coop�ratives de travail associ� (COCETA), a indiqu� que si � les coop�ratives de travail associ� ne sont pas �trang�res aux difficult�s et souffrent de la m�me mani�re de la situation g�n�rale, elles ont r�ussi non seulement � maintenir l'emploi mais aussi � en augmenter le nombre � ; il a soulign� dans le m�me temps � que l'emploi � dur�e ind�termin�e s'est d�velopp� de plus de 10 points depuis 2007 et que l'emploi temporaire a diminu� de plus de 8 points �.


Plus de 80 % des travailleurs qui cr�ent ce type d'entreprise b�n�ficient d'un emploi stable puisqu'ils sont membres de la coop�rative. En outre, les femmes occupent pr�s de 50 % des emplois coop�ratifs et 40 % des postes � responsabilit�, bien au-dessus des autres mod�les d'entreprise. � Il ne s'agit pas de n'importe quel emploi mais d'un emploi de qualit� marqu� par l'empreinte du mouvement coop�ratif : d�mocratie, responsabilit� sociale, solidarit�, engagement et flexibilit�, comme le montre la survie des entreprises coop�ratives qui a �galement connu une croissance �, a conclu Juan Antonio Pedre�o.



Workers of self-managed factories gather in Marseille

Fralib is a herb processing and packaging factory located twenty-odd kilometers from the southern French port city of Marseille. The previous owner of the factory, chemical and agri-food giant Unilever, decided three years ago to move production of Lipton tea abroad to save on costs.  


The 80 workers, through protest and boycott campaigns, have demanded that the factory stay open and, after this proved impossible, they decided to take production into their own hands. Read more...  



International Summit of Co-operatives  

A Number of Renowned Speakers Lined Up for the Summit!

The 2014 International Summit of Cooperatives will welcome over 150 international experts to share with participants their vision, knowledge, and perspective on challenges and future prospects facing cooperative and mutual enterprises.

See the first lineup of speakers, which was recently released.

More from the latest newsletter is here: 


Workshop: The Role of Cooperatives and Mutuals in Organizing Health Care around the World
Employment: One of the Five Themes of the Summit


For more about these and other workshops highlighted in the March 19th newsletter click here   

Sommet international des coop�ratives 2014  

Plusieurs grands conf�renciers pr�sents au Sommet!

Le Sommet international des coop�ratives 2014 accueillera plus de 150 experts internationaux qui viendront partager avec les participants leur vision, leurs connaissances et leurs r�flexions quant aux enjeux et aux perspectives d'avenir des entreprises coop�ratives et mutualistes.  



Atelier:  R�le des coop�ratives et des mutuelles dans l'organisation des soins de sant� dans le monde

Comment les coop�ratives et mutuelles cr�ent et maintiennent des emplois


 En savoir plus...   

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