Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation

 La Fédération canadienne des coopératives de travail

2015 Newsletter
Vol 7, Issue 4



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Month Year Vol 1, Issue 1
 CWCF News
CWCF's upcoming Conference
The 2015 Conference registration is now open. Click here to register. For more information about our Conference, see the article below, or visit our website here.
Road Trip to Meet Worker Co-operatives (update)
As part of our 2015 member engagement tour, staff and board have been busy visiting members in Vancouver, southern Ontario and eastern Canada.  If you have not yet had a visit and would like to connect with us please let us know at [email protected].
  Welcome new member:
Welcome to London Brewing Co-op, a brew pub in London, ON that brews small batches of beer in an eclectic style.  It has recently applied for CWCF membership.  Check more out here.
In This Issue
CWCF-CoopZone Conference 2015 update/ Mise à jour sur le Congrès 2015 FCCT-CoopZone
CWCF Adopts Climate Change Statement in the Lead-up to Paris Conference/ La FCCT adopte une déclaration sur le changement climatique
Tenacity Works Fund and its Learnings
CoopZone on-line Training
Each for All: Co-op Radio.
Kelly Storie from La Siembra elected to the ON Co-op Board
Mark Goldblatt posthumous winner of CMC award for Co-operative Excellence
Industry Canada publishes new Co-operative Guide/ Industrie Canada a publié un Guide d'information pour les coopératives
Own the Change video screenings
Toolbox for Education & Social Action
The New Wave of Food Co-ops
NDP will support capitalization of Canadian Cooperatives/ Le NPD soutiendra la capitalisation des coopératives canadiennes
Spanish co-operative retailer championing Zero Waste
Creating Opportunities at North Carolina's Opportunity Threads
CoopZone-CWCF Conference 2015, in collaboration with the Réseau /  
Congrès 2015 de CoopZone et de la FCCT, en collaboration avec le RESEAU

***Le français suit***
Building Bridges -  
Pour Réussir Ensemble 
October 29-31, 2015, with optional events in the evening of October 28th 
Montreal, Quebec

Click here to register for the 2015 Conference.  For more information about the Conference, click here to look at the Program and detailed registration information.
Conference presenters include ESTEBAN KELLY, Co-Executive Director of the US FWC, and MATTHIEU PIEGAY, of the SCOP-Accolades worker co-op in France.
Conference workshop topics will include: 
  • Improving your co-op's financial situation
  • Coming together to grow
  • The techniques and art of facilitation: making meetings dynamic
  • Sustainability:  co-operatives addressing climate change
  • Co-op development supports
  • And more!
Plenary sessions will include:
  • Building Bridges across Generations: addressing retirement of founding members, etc.
  • Diversity in co-operatives
  • Co-op Ignite sessions
There will also be an opportunity to visit worker co-ops in Montreal. 
Early-bird registration is valid until Sept. 10, 2015, and there are deep discounts for members of CoopZone, CWCF and the Réseau.

En français: 
Building Bridges -  
Pour Réussir Ensemble 
du 29 au 31 octobre 2015 avec des activités facultatives le soir du 28 octobre 
Montréal (Québec) 
Pour vous inscrire au Congrés 2015, cliquez ici.  Pour lire la programmation et les détails sur l'inscription, cliquez ici.  

Le conférencier principal du Congrès sera Esteban Kelly, le nouveau co-directeur général de la  Fédération américaine des coopératives de travail  Nous accueillerons également Matthieu Piegay, membre de la coopérative de travail SCOP-Accolades
, de France, qui œuvre dans la formation et le développement de la gouvernance participative.

Les ateliers comprendront les sujets suivants: 
  • Améliorer les résultats financiers de votre coopérative
  • Se réunir pour croître 
  • Les techniques et l'art d'animer : comment rendre vos réunions plus dynamiques
  •  Le développement durable et les coopératives
  • Appuis au développement coopéatif
  • Et d'autres encore!
Les sessions plénières comprendront:
  • Bâtir des ponts intergénérationnels: comment adresser le départ à la retraite des membres fondateurs. etc ?
  • La diversité dans les coopératives
  • Des sessions Coop « express » où les coopératives se présentent de façon rapide: Chaque participant présente 20 diapositives avec transition automatique à intervalles de 21 secondes, pour un temps total de 7 minutes.  
Il y aura aussi l'occasion de visiter des coopératives à Montréal.
La date limite pour l'inscription hâtive est le 10 septembre, 2015.  Il y a des rabais importants pour les membres de CoopZone, de la FCCT et du Réseau. 

CWCF Adopts Climate Change Statement in the Lead-up to Paris Conference
Pathway to Paris
Image from Sustainability Solutions Group
* **Le français suit***

From November 30 to December 11, 2015, the nations of the world will come together in Paris, France to negotiate a global treaty on climate change - at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, also called "COP21". CWCF is an organisation representing worker co-operatives across Canada, and Principle 7 of the Co-operative Principles states that " Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members". Climate change unequivocally threatens not only sustainable development, but the survival of millions of people around the world through undermining food security, extreme weather events, sea level rise, ocean acidification and other impacts.  CWCF is therefore mandated on behalf of our members to advocate for meaningful action on climate change according to the co-operative values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In so doing, CWCF joins a diverse and growing movement within society described in the backgrounder.

CWCF calls for an agreement in Paris that includes the following elements:
Commitment to 100% renewable energy by 2050, Mutual Support, Equity and self-responsibility, Fair Compensation, the Common Good, and Openness and Transparency.  You can read the full CWCF statement here.  You can also read more about the lead-up to Paris by CWCF member Sustainability Solutions Group, which is publishing biweekly updates, here

CWCF encourages its members and partners to adopt a similar position and to write to their elected officials. 

En français:
La FCCT adopte une Déclaration sur le changement climatique 

Du 30 novembre au 11 décembre 2015, les nations du monde se réuniront à Paris en France afin de négocier un traité global sur le changement climatique, à la 21 e Conférence des parties de la Convention-cadre des Nations unies sur les changements climatiques de 2015 (COP21). La FCCT est une organisation représentant les coopératives de travail du Canada. Le 7 e auto-assistance principe coopératif établit que « Les coopératives contribuent au développement durable de leur communauté dans le cadre d'orientations approuvées par leurs membres. » Les changements climatiques menacent sans contredit non seulement de développement durable mais la survie de millions de personnes partout au monde en ébranlant la sécurité alimentaire et en causant des événements climatiques extrêmes incluant l'élévation du niveau des mers, l'acidification des océans et d'autres impacts. La FCCT est donc mandatée au nom de nos membres à plaider pour une action significative sur le changement climatique en fonction des valeurs coopératives d' auto-responsabilité, de démocratie, d' égalité, d' équité et de solidarité. Ce faisant, la FCCT se joint à un mouvement diversifié et croissant au sein de la société.
Dans ce but, la FCCT intercède pour qu'un accord soit conclu à Paris et qu'il comprenne les éléments suivants :
Un engagement envers un futur 100% renouvelable d'ici 2050, l'
appui mutuel, l'équité et l'auto-responsabilité, la compensation équitable, le bien commun, l'ouverture et la transparence.  Vous pouvez lire la Déclaration en cliquant ici.

La FCCT encourage que ses membres et ses partenaires écrivent à leurs représentants politiques élus afin d'effectuer une requête similaire.

Tenacity Works Fund and its Learnings
An interview with Peter Hough
By Kaye Grant (August 2015)

Earlier this summer I had the opportunity to chat with Peter Hough, Fund Manager, about the Tenacity Works Fund.   Peter has been involved with this Fund from its conception until his retirement earlier this year.
The Tenacity Fund started as a pilot project in 2000 with $1.5 million in capital from HRSDC.   This was to be a two-year pilot which ended up running three years. The pilot exceeded all the goals set for it but after an extensive lobby the CWCF was not able to secure additional capital for the Fund. The CWCF was awarded $5,000,000 from the Social Economy Initiative capital, however this contract was cancelled with the change in government in 2006. What was really desired was a self-sustaining Fund which was not achieved. The fact that the Fund has been able to continue is testament to CWCF's management of the Fund as its original projections showed that with the limited capital of the pilot project the Fund would cease operations by year 10. Instead, it continues as a revolving loan fund.
The co-operative development goal for this Fund was to never have to seek financial resources again for worker co-operative development. The objective was for a self-sustaining Fund that would be large enough for its revenues streams to not only grow the size of the Fund through retained earnings but to also be able to provide technical assistance either as a service or as a grant to developing co-ops. However, the Fund didn't receive the amount required to meet this goal.
The Fund has served as an effective investment system for worker co-operative growth and development. It has good policies, good bookkeeping, good promotion and a steady flow of applications. To date over $1.5 million has been invested in loans.
During the pilot period, the Fund sought to place a large variety of loans both to mirror the operations of a larger self-sustaining fund and to learn from experience which were the best types of co-operatives in which to invest. The best loans were those for co-op expansions because those co-ops were building upon records of success. On the other hand the most difficult loans were those in receivership. Some of these are loans probably would not have been placed except that at the time the goal was to place as much of the money as possible into loans during the pilot period to gain experience as noted above.
One thing that we had to learn to do was loan reviews. The CWCF Board wanting to ensure the best decisions were made, created an independent investment review committee. There were three non- worker co-op people with extensive commercial lending experience who sat on this committee and two worker co-op people . The committee had to ensure that they did not let only their hearts determine their decisions. To avoid letting politics influence the loans the Investment Committees decisions were final, with no appeal to the Board. Peter did the initial review including research and assessment; then he provided his recommendation to the committee which made the decision. There were some difficulties in assessing loan proposals because of the dispersed geography of the co-operatives and the vast diversity in the types of enterprise and contexts of the co-operatives. Developing a standardized approach helped addressed these challenges.
One other significant challenge was monitoring and follow-up of the loans.   Because this is a national Fund, the co-ops receiving the funds were from across the country so sometimes we had to rely on third party information (as a result of limited resources). If there had been funds, it would have been more reliable for Peter to have been able to visit the co-ops annually during their loan period. Repayment was electronic which provided some feedback; if a payment did not go through, CWCF knew immediately.
Peter leaves us with the following key lessons:
  • There is a need to be ruthless in assessing the management capacity of the co-op.
  • There needs to be a good standardized process for effective loan proposal reviews. Standardization allows a process to run and contains costs; this standardization included the business plan requirement with a standard itemized list of requirements for the plan and clear criteria. Clear policies make it easier to justify a decision but it also make it easier for applicants, since requirements are very clear; and for reviewers, because everything they need is included in the application.
  • The use of subordinate debt was a good decision as it was easily used regardless of the various co-operative acts under which the co-ops were incorporated, while still leveraging conventional debt.
  • The structure and nature of the independent investment committee to include both external and internal stakeholders is an excellent process.
  • Using the direct withdrawal for loan payment simplified administration.
  • The best investments are in expansions because they are safer, but also these investments resulted in strengthening and increasing employment and benefits for the worker co-op sector.
  • Conversions and/or successions were good investments if the business was a going concern at the time of conversion.

CoopZone On-line Training Program 2015-16
 CoopZone is again offering its co-op development  training courses in 2015-16, starting in September; or October for the Introductory course.   Information about the courses is available here:  Applications are now being accepted, and the deadline for the courses which start in September is September 8th.

CoopZone is offering various levels of training: the Advanced Program (Years 1 and 2) for those who wish to become active developers; the Foundation Program for those who may become developers or work in the early stages of development, and the Introduction to Co-op Development course.   The shorter Introductory course, which starts in late October, is appropriate for people interested in understanding the types and roles of co-ops and the basic co-op development process. All of these on-line courses are designed to fit around a full-time job. This year there is a new Course Director, Eric Tusz-King; see the press release here:   Experienced co-op developers provide mentoring to students.
Any questions should be directed to Course Director Eric Tusz-King, [email protected].
Each for All: Co-op Radio
CWCF Executive Director Hazel Corcoran brings worker co-operative sector updates every month to the Each for All show on Co-op Radio 100.5 FM in Vancouver.  You can listen live on the third Tuesday of each month (except for August) at 8:30 pm Pacific Time for half an hour.  Click here to listen to/download the last two programs that Hazel joined. 
June 16, 2015 (31:31 minutes into the program)
July 21, 2015 (36:40 minutes into the program)


Kelly Storie from La Siembra elected to the ON Co-op Board
On Co-op News
VOLUME 12, ISSUE 4 July 3, 2015

During its 13th annual AGM on June 24th and amidst the excitement of an extraordinary tie vote for two seats, four new directors were elected to the ON Co-op Board including Kelly Storie from La Simbra.  The four new board members are:

* Brent Davies of Ag Energy Co-operative (Youth Director) 
* Kim De Lallo of Ontario Natural Food Co-op (Director-at-Large)
* Kelly Storie of La Siembra Co-operative (Director-at-Large)
* Michelle Vieira of Ag Energy Co-operative  (Director-at-Large)

Mark Goldblatt posthumous winner of CMC award for Co-operative Excellence
On Co-op News
VOLUME 12, ISSUE 4 July 3, 2015

The Award for "Co-operative Excellence" was given posthumously to Goldblatt, who was deeply involved in many co-op sectors as the founder or director of many co-operative endeavours, as well as played a leading role in the development of the Canadian co-operative movement. Goldblatt passed away suddenly on February 3, 2015.

Goldblatt, as a member of Sound Advice Worker Co-op, joined the Board of CWCF in 1993, was its first president, and served in this role for 13 years from 1994 until 2007.  You can read the full tribute to him by CWCF here.   
Industry Canada publishes new Co-op Guide
***Le français suit***
Industry Cana da has published the Information Guide for Co-operatives.
The Guide, de veloped in consultation with federal, provincial and territorial governments, provides co-operatives and entrepreneurs considering the co-operative model with incorporation resources specific to the sector.  It includes a section on frequently asked questions, government and sector contacts for all 14 jurisdictions, and a summary of the co-operative statutes in Ca nada.   Click here to read more.  (This is from the News Feed of CMC for which CWCF expresses appreciation.)
En français:

Industrie Canada a publié un Guide d'information pour les coopératives.  Le Guide, élaboré en consultation entre les gouvernements fédéraux, provinciaux et territoriaux, présente aux coopératives et aux entrepreneurs qui envisagent le modèle de coopérative des ressources propres à leur secteur au sujet de la constitution en société. Le Guide comprend une foire aux questions, une liste de contacts gouvernementaux et sectoriels pour les 14 administrations, ainsi qu'un résumé des lois canadiennes régissant les coopératives. 
Cliquez ici pour en lire plus .   (Ceci vient de la section des Nouvelles du site web de CMC, et la FCCT en est reconnaissant.) 

Own the Change video screenings
Cities across the US are hosting events to watch   Own the Change  and jump start worker co-op organizing where they live.   Check out our map of screenings!

We are hard at work putting together diverse groups to spread the word about worker co-ops through   Own the Change. Labor unions, economic development organizations, credit unions, and city officials are all excited about the opportunity to learn more.   You can bring the film to where you live-it's free and easy, we'll even help you do it.
Check out photos from our NYC launch of Own the Change
Toolbox for Education & Social Action  

The Toolbox for Education and Social Action is a worker co-operative that provides resources that address social change, economic justice, and progressive education through critical thinking and user participation. Visit their website here.  

The New Wave of Food Co-ops

 Food co-ops tend to arise in order to address a community's need for healthy, culturally appropriate, and affordable foods. In the last century, there have been three major waves of food co-op development in North America. The new co-ops emerging across the continent in the current wave are different than their supply-focused ancestors of the Great Depression or their natural foods predecessors of the 1960s and '70s. Unlike those earlier models, the latest co-ops seek to integrate the needs of all stakeholders in the supply chain. They bring farmers, eaters, workers, and even community partners into solidarity with one another - in some cases, sharing ownership of a single enterprise... read more here.
NDP will support capitalization of Canadian Cooperatives/ Le NDP soutiendra la capitalisation des coopératives Canadiennes
***Le français suit***

  SASKATOON - In her speech at the 2015 Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada annual congress, Hélène LeBlanc, MP for LaSalle-Émard and NDP Coo peratives Critic, stated her party's commitment to the Canadian cooperative sector.
The NDP recognizes the significant impact of cooperatives on the Canadian economy and their enormous potential to meet the growing needs of our communities and to create stable, high-quality jobs. New Democrats believe the federal government must support cooperatives by contributing financially to their development.
"Cooperatives play a vital role in building a more prosperous and fairer Canada. An NDP government will support a federal fund to support the establishment of new cooperatives, as well as the growth of those that already exist. We will also give credit unions concrete options for accessing capitalization sources."
"Cooperatives are part of our DNA. An NDP government will be an ally of the cooperative movement and will work with the sector to find solutions to their main challenges," said Ms. LeBlanc.
For more information, contact:
David Osorio, Parliamentary Assistant
613-943-6636 - [email protected]     

En français:

SASKATOON - Hélène LeBlanc, députée de LaSalle-Émard et porte-parole de l'Opposition officielle en matière des coopératives, a présenté les engagements du NPD envers le secteur coopératif canadien, dans un discours prononcé dans le cadre du Congrès annuel 2015 de Coopératives et mutuelles Canada.  
Reconnaissant l'important impact des coopératives sur l'économie canadienne, ainsi que leur énorme potentiel pour combler les besoins grandissants de la population et pour créer des emplois stables et de qualité, le NPD considère que le gouvernement fédéral doit les épauler en contribuant financièrement à leur développement.
« Les coopératives jouent un rôle essentiel dans la construction d'un Canada plus prospère et plus égalitaire. Un gouvernement NPD soutiendra un fonds fédéral pour le démarrage de nouvelles coopératives et la croissance des coopératives existantes, ainsi nous offrirons aux coopératives de crédit des alternatives concrètes pour accéder aux sources de capitalisation »
«  Les coopératives font partie de notre ADN, un gouvernement NPD sera un allié du mouvement coopératif et travaillera de concert avec le secteur dans la recherche de solutions à leurs principaux défis » a conclu Mme LeBlanc.  
Pour plus d'information, contactez :
David Osorio, adjoint parlementaire
613-943-6636 - [email protected]
Spanish co-operative retailer championing Zero Waste
 Eroski, a worker-consumer co-operative with nearly 1,000 outlets across Spain has been pioneering a scheme to reduce food waste. Throughout 2014 Eroski has donated 2,105 tones of food to people in need as part of its Zero Waste programme.The retailer is the distribution division of Mondragon Co-operative Corporation, the largest worker co-operative in the world.. more here

Creating Opportunities at North Carolina's Opportunity Threads
Textile Co-op Gives Immigrant Workers a Stake in the Business
By Cecilia Garza   
Hemstreet wanted to find a way to create a new kind of clothing factory-one that wouldn't so easily be led away by the lure of cheaper wages.
In 2008, she founded Opportunity Threads, a worker-owned cut-and-sew plant built on a threefold ethical platform: social, environmental, and economic benefits for the local community. The company today employs Vicente and 22 other workers, most of whom are of Mayan descent.... Read the full article here. 

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