Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation

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

July  2014
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Month Year Vol 1, Issue 1
 CWCF News Briefs

 2014 CWCF-CoopZone Conference



Conference Registration is now open for the 2014 CWCF-CoopZone Conference being held on Nov. 6th to 8th. 2014  

in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.


Click here to register for the 2014 Conference.  For more information about the Conference, click here  to look at the Program and registration information.


Worker Co-op Member renewal notices

have been emailed.  If you haven't yet responded, please do so soon.  CWCF relies on member dues to support our activities to help strengthen the worker co-op movement across the country.

In This Issue
2014 CWCF-CoopZone Conference: Registration Open
CWCF Consultation on Indivisible Reserves ("Permanent Co-op Capital"): Progress So Far, Next Steps
Neechi Commons "Strategic Economic Incentive Grant" from the City of Winnipeg
Finalists in National Co-op Challenge 2014
Reflections on the CCA Board, by Yuill Herbert
International Gathering of Worker Co-ops 2014 / Rendezvous international de la coopération du travail
Levelling the Playing Field for Worker Cooperatives
USFWC: Ten Years of Achievement
Bruno Roelants Fera une Présentation à l'occasion du Sommet international des coopératives / Bruno Roelants Will Present at the International Summit of Co-operatives
"Together is the only way we're going to solve it"
Cooperative movement engagement in sustainable development
Immigrant Worker-Owned Cooperatives: A User's Manual
International Summit of Co-operatives
Sommet international des coopératives 2014
Bulletin de la porte-parole pour les coopératives: Hélène LeBlanc.
Newsletter of the Critic for Co-operatives:...Hélène LeBlanc
2014 CWCF-CoopZone Conference Update
  Co-operative Collaborations:

Member Engagement and External Partnerships


Wolfville, Nova Scotia

November 6 - 8, 2014, with optional events in the evening of November 5th  

Old Orchard Inn

Online registration is now active.    

Click here to register for the 2014 Conference.  For more information about the Conference, click here and look at the Program and detailed registration information.

We are pleased to announce that the winner of the Worker Co-op Best Practices Award is Careforce Homecare, for their Co-op Member Orientation Program.  Congratulations!  Careforce will present at the Conference about this innovative new program, which they offer to all prospective members.

Conference workshop topics will include: 
  • What Should be Decided by Whom in a Worker Co-op?
  • Strengthen your Co-op with Clear Worker Guidelines
  • International Solidarity
  • Participatory Management
  • Expanding your Worker Co-op
  • Pricing for Profit
  • The Co-operative Advantage
  • Branding including Social Media
  • and more!  

Plenary topics will include:
  • Member Engagement
  • Recruitment & Evaluation in a Worker Co-op Movement
  • Building the Worker Co-op Movement in Argentina, by Jos� Orbaiceta, President of the Argentinian Federation. 
There will also be an opportunity to visit Just Us Coffee Roasters Co-op. 

Early-bird registration is valid until Sept. 12, 2014, and there are deep discounts for members of CWCF and CoopZone.  Worker co-op members of CWCF are eligible for a travel subsidy (one-half of the plane fare for one person per co-op) to attend the Conference, for which you can apply through the registration process.    



Consultation on Indivisible Reserves ("Permanent Co-op Capital"):  Progress to Date and Next Steps

By Kaye Grant and Hazel Corcoran


CWCF launched research and consultation on indivisible reserves[1] as a result of a member resolution in November 2012, following workshops hosted by the Board at two prior members' meetings.   The initial objective was to research measures, especially indivisible reserves, that have been taken by worker co-operative movements in other countries that are being used to address the inequities often felt when successful worker co-operatives are sold by their members to their financial benefit, sometimes without consideration of past members that have contributed to the value of the business or of future members, and to the detriment of the worker co-operative movement as a whole. In Canada, Quebec has mandatory indivisible reserves, but not most of the rest of the country. ... 


Two concept papers were developed (available here), the first one advocating the mandatory approach and the other the optional or education approach. In addition, at the same link you can find an introductory paper which explains the concept of indivisible reserves in a more plain language way.


Member feedback was obtained during two separate consultation meetings by teleconference. In addition, members were encouraged to present this information to their co-ops and have a discussion with their members on the topic with the objective of developing a position on the topic.

Another opportunity to discuss the research and options was presented during the CWCF AGM last November.  ...


Based on the feedback received from members, the CWCF Board decided in April 2014 to recommend to the membership a resolution at the November 2014 AGM which would advocate for Option 3: the optional/ educational approach to indivisible reserves, in conjunction with Option 2 on taxation.


One concern which members have about a mandatory approach is that if indivisible reserves were to be a legal requirement, the new regime might discourage groups from forming worker co-operatives relative to other forms of enterprise. This is especially true in the current context where in Canada (except in Quebec, and to a lesser extent in a couple of other provinces) there are currently no government-backed supports to worker co-op development. In addition, trying to make this a legal requirement in Canada would involve the huge challenge of lobbying to change co-operative statutes in 13 different jurisdictions, at the federal level and in every province and territory except Quebec.


If this resolution on the educational approach passes, then CWCF would provide information to its members on the advantages and benefits of instituting an indivisible reserve in their co-op through their constitution, including a provision to make it as permanent as possible, such as through requiring a 90% majority or unanimous decision of the membership to change it.


CWCF's goal would then be to build a worker co-operative culture which recognizes the importance of building a movement and an obligation to future generations, on a voluntary basis. Once more of the membership has instituted an indivisible reserve and sees the benefits, CWCF may again consult on the desirability of seeking a mandatory indivisible reserve.  ...


Whatever option is chosen by CWCF members regarding indivisible reserves, the CWCF Board recommends that worker co-ops consider adopting an indivisible reserve as part of their constitution, if you believe that this may be a good option for your co-op. A number of worker co-ops in Canada have already voluntarily chosen to have an indivisible reserve out of solidarity with the broader worker co-op movement, or because it has been required at least for a time through another process (e.g., to be able to obtain a loan from CWCF's Tenacity Works Fund; an indivisible reserve, which is assigned to the CWCF, is in place for the duration of the loan from Tenacity Works.) A good way to start this process is to have your board & membership consider the papers at the link, above. If your co-op has decided to do this, or has taken a position, please inform Hazel Corcoran,

To read the full article, click this link.

[1] An indivisible reserve in a worker co-op is property owned by the co-operative/ the co-operative movement which can never be divided among members.



Neechi Commons "Strategic Economic Incentive Grant" from the City of Winnipeg

 Contributed by Louise Champagne and Russ Rothney


On July 16th, 2014 Winnipeg City Council approved a $150,000 tax grant for Neechi Commons. This grant, spread out over ten years, is based on the City portion of additional property taxes arising from the extensive renovations and new construction undertaken by Neechi Foods Co-Op.  


Neechi Commons, a community business complex, is located on Main Street north of the CPR tracks. Most of the employees live in adjoining neighbourhoods. There has been a lot of media talk about an inner-city "food desert". The City support should help get the message out that a flowering oasis now exists at Neechi Commons. It includes a full-range neighbourhood supermarket, with a produce courtyard, bakery, full meat service and affordable pricing. It also includes a lovely restaurant, catering business, seasonal farmers' market and a beautiful art store and gallery.


The Strategic Economic Incentive Grant is in the form of tax increment financing (TIF) whereby, over a limited period of time, the City effectively waives a portion of the increased realty tax arising from property improvements. In Neechi`s case the increased tax assessment is the result of the large investment in dollars and volunteer time which have gone into creating and opening Neechi Commons. The TIF model was originally formulated specifically to encourage positive economic development in distressed neighbourhoods. Neechi Commons directly fulfills this goal on a scale that makes it a national model.


It is located on a portion of Main Street that had fallen into "skid row" status, between the Lord Selkirk Park and north Point Douglas neighbourhoods. With 50 employees, most of whom are Aboriginal, Neechi has become the largest commercial employer of First Nations and M�tis people in Winnipeg. Through Neechi Niche, its arts store and gallery, Neechi also is now supporting the livelihoods of 145 Aboriginal artists, crafts artisans, authors and musicians. Most of these people live within walking distance of Neechi Commons.


Neechi's restaurant, conference room and on-going cultural events have transformed Neechi Commons into a centre for the celebration of Aboriginal culture and into a community hub for both Aboriginal and other citizens. Neechi stands out for its regionally harvested freshwater fish, wild rice and fruit and vegetables. It hosts a Friday afternoon farmers market and supports gardening by neighbourhood youth. Neechi also partners with a variety of school, employment and training programs, especially youth focused programs, and hosts the Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce as one of its office tenants. The cooperative's employee ownership model offers an opportunity to become business owners and entrepreneurs to many people who otherwise would not have that chance, and to do so in the context of community building and positive self-esteem.


The facility was awarded Green Globe status. It features geo-thermal heating and cooling, sky lights and restoration of exterior walls and support beams. To see more about Neechi's power smart features. Click here to watch a Manitoba Hydro TV clip: .


CWCF Members - Finalists in National Co-op Challenge 2014

Urban Eatin' Gardeners' Worker Co-op of Winnipeg has announced that with the help of your votes this fall, they could win $25,000 from the National Co-op Challenge. 




Vancouver Renewable Energy Co-op (VREC)


is also a finalist and is also eligible to win $25,000 from the National Co-op Challenge, which is hosted by The Co-operators.   


Please vote! - you can vote once per day, from September 3rd until October 1st. 

For more information about the National Co-op Challenge and to see all the winners, click here. 


Reflections on the CCA Board, by Yuill Herbert
Introduction by Hazel Corcoran: We asked Yuill Herbert, CWCF director and member of Sustainability Solutions Group, to share some reflections on having served on the Board of the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) which he did from June 2009 - June 2014.  In particular, we wanted to hear some of the reasons why he thinks it is important for the worker co-op sector to take part in the broader co-op sector in this way.  We note that he is is still the CWCF delegate to the new organization, Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC) which was formed last year by CCA and its francophone sister organization, le Conseil canadien de la coop�ration et de la mutualit�.    


I had the honour of being appointed to the board of CMC in June 2013, and then elected in June 2014.


Yuill: thank you for serving CWCF, the worker co-op movement, and the broader co-op sector on the board of CCA? 


To CWCF members: If you have an issue to raise with CMC, we would encourage you to get in touch with either Yuill (, or with me (



"Serving on CCA's board was both an honour and a privilege. Over the course of five years I was able to meet and become friends with cooperators from different sectors and share the experience of the worker cooperative world. Over that period of time CCA was focused primarily on unification of the francophone and anglophone sectors in Canada and I was able to contribute to these discussions and share the experience of CWCF as a bilingual organisation.  


My tenure also spanned the IYC and I would say that cooperatives found their footing and began to seriously embark on the journey of fulfilling what it means to be a cooperative, whereas previously there was hesitation and uncertainty surrounding the cooperative identity. I was also able to contribute to discussions on the National Co-op Investment Fund, domestic and international co-operative development and government relations. There are certainly many complex and exciting dimensions to the national co-operative organisations.  


One of the most moving moments was when I received the certificate of membership on behalf of CWCF at the founding meeting of Coops and Mutuals Canada at the inaugural AGM - so it begins.  I will certainly miss the people, the board deliberations and the late night philosophical discussions. I wish Hazel all the success in helping the new organisation CMC in making Canada a better place to live."

- Yuill Herbert  



International Gathering of Worker Co-ops 2014, 

Hosted by CWCF & the Quebec R�seau

Monday, October 6, 2014, 12:30 to 4:00 pm, day prior to the International Summit of Cooperatives

Quebec City Convention Centre    

12:30 to 2:00 p.m.: Lunch
2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.: Forum "Exchange of Worker Co-op Best Practices"


In conjunction with the International Summit of Cooperatives 2014, the Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation ("CWCF") and Quebec Worker Co-op Network ("R�seau") are hosting a Gathering for worker co-operators from around the world on Worker Co-op Best Practices. This will take place in the afternoon of October 6th, just prior to the Summit Opening Ceremony.

CWCF and the R�seau extend an invitation to worker co-operators to participate in this Gathering, for which you will need to register separately from the Summit registration.  There is no charge for members of CWCF or other worker co-op federations. 

We will discuss various successful worker co-op strategies, for example governance, approaches to better integrate new members, inter-cooperative business partnerships, and business succession to worker co-operatives. If you would like to propose presenting a best practice, please write to CWCF Executive Director Hazel Corcoran,, by September 6th, 2014, or as soon as possible. 

Worker co-operatives and multi-stakeholder co-operatives from North America, Latin America, Europe and possibly beyond are expected. This is a unique opportunity allowing co-operators from different parts of the world to meet and exchange ideas.

This Gathering will be preceded in the morning by the Annual General Meeting of the Quebec R�seau, open to R�seau members only. The Summit Opening Ceremony takes place that evening.

Registration fee:


Members of Worker Co-op Federations: Free

(R�seau, CWCF, FQCF, FCPQ, CG-SCOP, etc.)


Non-members: $ 50 / person (tax included).


Lunch is included in the event registration.


Participants will provide consecutive interpretation, French-English-Spanish.

Registration is required; see: . 

Rendez-vous international de la coop�ration du travail 2014 

Lundi, 6 octobre 2014, 12h30 � 16h, le jour avant le Sommet international des coop�ratives

Centre des Congr�s de Qu�bec


12h30 � 14h00 : D�ner

14h00 � 16h00 : Forum � �change sur les bons coups COOP �


Conjointement avec le Sommet international des coop�ratives, la F�d�ration canadienne des coop�ratives de travail et le R�seau de la coop�ration du travail du Qu�bec invitent les membres des coop�ratives en milieu de travail � participer � une rencontre d'�change sur les bons coups COOP. Ce Rendezvous aura lieu pendant l'apr�s-midi avant la C�r�monie d'ouverture du Sommet. Il faudra s'inscrire s�par�ment de l'inscription au Sommet. C'est gratuit pour les membres de la FCCT, le R�seau et d'autres f�d�rations de coop�ratives de travail. 


Nous discuterons de bonnes pratiques: gouvernance, strat�gies pour mieux int�grer les nouveaux membres, partenariats d'affaires inter coop�ratifs et processus de rel�ve. Si vous voulez proposer une pratique que vous aimeriez pr�senter, s'il vous pla�t �crivez � Hazel Corcoran,, par le 6 septembre 2014 ou aussit�t que possible.


Des coop�ratives de travail et de solidarit� d'Am�rique du Nord, d'Am�rique Latine, d'Europe et possiblement d'ailleurs sont attendues. Il s'agit d'une occasion unique permettant � des coop�rateurs de diff�rentes r�gions du monde de se rencontrer et d'�changer.


Ce Rendez-vous sera pr�c�d� en matin�e par l'Assembl�e g�n�rale du R�seau de la coop�ration du travail du Qu�bec (r�serv� aux membres du R�seau). L'ouverture officielle du Sommet suivra dans la soir�e du 6 octobre.


Tarif :

Membres des F�d�rations de coop�ratives de travail partenaires : Gratuit


Non membres : 50 $ (tx incluse) / personne


(Inclus le repas du midi).


Des participants assureront l'interpr�tation cons�cutive fran�ais - anglais- espagnol.


L'inscription est obligatoire; voir : .


USFWC: Ten Years of Achievement


The U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives launched 10 years ago. Before the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperative's 10th anniversary conference in Chicago, GEO asked some co-op veterans to talk about what they thought the USFWC had achieved in its first 10 years. This is a 3-part series by Ajowa Nzinga Ifateyo, of which two parts have been released so far. Read the articles here: 


Part 1:  USFWC: Ten Years of Achievment. Grassroots Economic Organizing (GEO) Newsletter. 


Part 2:  USFWC: Ten Years of Achievment. Grassroots Economic Organizing (GEO) Newsletter. 




Bruno Roelants fera une pr�sentation � l'occasion du Sommet international des coop�ratives

English follows

Le 7 octobre prochain Bruno Roelants, secr�taire-g�n�ral de CICOPA , l'association internationale de la coop�ration du travail, sera des n�tres pour pr�senter le Rapport mondial sur les coop�ratives et l'emploi et participer � la table ronde � Cr�ation d'emplois et am�lioration de la productivit� : est-ce conciliable? �

Les participants au Sommet auront l'occasion d'�changer avec leurs pairs sur le sujet de la cr�ation d'emplois dans les coop�ratives, le r�le des coop�ratives en mati�re d'emploi dans les pays �mergents, leur savoir-faire en p�riode de crise pour assurer le maintien des emplois et bien plus encore. Je m'inscris d�s maintenant!


[La FCCT remercie le R�seau de la coop�ration du travail du Qu�bec pour cet article.]  



Bruno Roelants Will Present at the International Summit of Cooperatives    


On October 7, 2014, Bruno Roleants, Secretary General of the International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and Service Producers' Cooperatives (CICOPA) will present the Global Report on Cooperatives and Employment and participate in the round table on Job Creation and Heightened Productivity: Are the 2 Reconcilable?


The Summit participants will have the opportunity to exchange ideas with their peers on the topics of creating jobs in co-operatives, the role of cooperatives to creating employment in emerging countries, their stability in a period of crisis to ensure the maintenance of jobs and much more.

To register for the Summit click here


[Re-printed from the e-newsletter of Quebec's R�seau, with appreciation.] 



"Together is the only way we're going to solve it" 

By Janelle Comwell, Grassroots, Economic Organizing


People often associate the movement of recovered businesses in Argentina with the crisis of 2001-2002 and indeed, during that time, many businesses were occupied and recovered to be run under worker self-management. However, this movement is ongoing. According to Andres Ruggeri of Facultad Abierta (reporting on the fourth survey of worker-recovered businesses in Argentina which you can find on their website), as of the close of 2013, there were 311 worker-recovered businesses in Argentina. Among those 311 worker-recovered businesses, 63 began during the period between 2010 and 2013! This interview with Andres Adrian Toledo, highlights one of those... read the full article here




Cooperative movement engagement in sustainable development and the post-2015 process: Survey findings


Sustainability is recognized as one of the five pillars of the International Co-operative Alliance's Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade, which aims to position cooperatives as builders of economic, social and environmental sustainability by 2020.  The  International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) have launched an initiative on the contribution of cooperatives to sustainable development.


Download the report here.



Immigrant Worker-Owned Cooperatives: A User's Manual

Developed by Minsun Ji, Founder and former Director, El Centro Humantario, &

Tony Robinson, Ph.d., Political Science, University of Colorado Denver in 2012, and published by Dennis Kelleher.


Click here to download this. 


Month CVol 1, Issue 1

International Summit of Co-operatives  

Interview with Karen Miner, Saint Mary's University


Impact and Relevance of Co-operative Business Education

In this exclusive interview, Karen Miner, Managing Director, Co-operative Management Education at Sobey School of Business, Saint Mary's University discusses the challenges of implementing the 5th principle, the objectives of the study report entitled "Impact and Relevance of Co-operative Business Education" and the aspiration of the Co-operative Business Education Consortium. Read the interview...


Karen Miner will be speaking at the 2014 CWCF-CoopZone Conference Click here to read more about Karen.


Links to recent Summit Newsletters


July 16, 2014 

July 9, 2014 

July 2, 2014 

June 25, 2014  



Sommet international des coop�ratives 2014  

 Entrevue avec Karen Miner, Universit� Saint Mary's  


Incidence et pertinence de l'�ducation au mod�le d'affaires coop�ratif  

Dans cette entrevue exclusive, Karen Miner, responsable du programme de gestion des coop�ratives � l'�cole de commerce Sobey de l'Universit� Saint Mary's, aborde les d�fis li�s � l'application du cinqui�me principe, les objectifs du rapport d'�tude intitul� Incidence et pertinence de l'�ducation au mod�le d'affaires coop�ratif et les aspirations du Consortium de l'�ducation � l'entreprise coop�rative. Lire l'entrevue ... 


(Karen Miner fera une pr�sentation au Congr�s 2014 de la FCCT et de CoopZone.  Cliquez ici pour apprendre plus au sujet de Karen  Miner. 


Sommet infolettres:


16 Juillet, 2014 

 9 Juillet, 2014 

 2 Juillet, 2014 

25   Juin, 2014  



Bulletin de la porte-parole pour les coop�ratives: H�l�ne LeBlanc

Un moment historique pour le mouvement coop�ratif et mutualiste du Canada!


Les 17 et 18 juin dernier, j'assistais au Congr�s de fondation de Coop�ratives et Mutuelles Canada (CMC). J'�tais tr�s heureuse de participer � ce moment historique du mouvement coop�ratif et mutualiste canadien. J'y ai rencontr� et retrouv� de nombreux coop�rants r�unis pour l'occasion � Moncton. J'ai assist� � la pr�sentation et � l'Assembl�e G�n�rale du � Co-operative enterprise council of New Brunswick � qui contribue au dynamisme de l'entrepreneuriat coop�ratif de la province.


Les coop�ratives canadiennes contribuent au d�veloppement international depuis longtemps. J'�tais heureuse de constater les impacts positifs des projets pilot�s par D�veloppement international Desjardins (DDI), par la Soci�t� de coop�ration pour le d�veloppement international (SOCODEVI) et par l'Association des coop�ratives du Canada (ACC). Gr�ce � leur leadership, le gouvernement f�d�ral (Affaires �trang�res, Commerce et D�veloppement Canada) a accord� un financement important pour des projets en Colombie.


J'ai constat� le dynamisme des membres qui nous ont pr�sent� leur organisation et les �changes int�ressants qui ont ponctu� les assembl�es. Le congr�s s'est tr�s bien d�roul� gr�ce au travail de longue haleine effectu� au pr�alable par les membres du conseil de transition et par l'adoption efficace des r�solutions. J'ai eu la chance d'entendre les candidats et les candidates qui se pr�sentaient au conseil d'administration. Je tiens � les f�liciter ainsi qu'aux membres �lus du Conseil d'administration de CMC, � la direction g�n�rale et � tous les coop�rants.


Je suis optimiste quant � l'avenir de CMC gr�ce � des personnes dynamiques et engag�es � l'essor des coop�ratives et mutuelles du Canada telles que vous tous. Soyez assur�s de mon appui inconditionnel dans la r�alisation de vos objectifs.



Newsletter of the Critic for Co-operatives:  

H�l�ne LeBlanc

A historic moment for the Canadian cooperative and mutualist movement!


From the 17th to the 18th of June, I attended the Congress of Cooperatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC). I was very pleased to participate in this historic moment for the Canadian cooperative and mutualist movement. I met with so many co-operators coming together for the occasion in Moncton. I attended the presentation and the General Assembly of the Co-operative Enterprise Council of New Brunswick, which contributes to the growth and vitality of the cooperative entrepreneurship in the province.


Canadian cooperatives have contributed to international development for a long time. I was pleased to see the positive impacts of projects led by D�veloppement international Desjardins (DDI), the Society for Cooperation in International Development (SOCODEVI) and the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA). Through their leadership, the federal government (Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada) has provided significant funding for projects in Colombia.


I witnessed the enthusiasm of the members that presented their organizations to us, and the interesting exchanges that marked the assemblies. The congress went very well thanks to the long term work previously carried out by members of the Transitional Council and the effective adoption of resolutions. I had the chance to listen to the candidates who were interested in being part of the board. I would like to congratulate the elected members of the CMC Board of Directors, the staff and all the co-operative members.


I am optimistic about the future of CMC thanks to the dynamism and commitment of its members' towards the development of cooperatives and mutuals in Canada. Be assured of my full and unconditional support in the achievement of your goals.


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