Volume 10 Issue 4
CWCF June 2018
 Introducing the 2018 CWCF/CoopZone Conference Keynote Speakers
The theme of this year's Canadian Worker Co-op Federation/CoopZone Conference is Co-operation in the Changing World of Work, and one highlight will be presentations by two keynote speakers whom we are thrilled to welcome: Bruno Roelants (l), Director General of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) and Rob Wesseling (r), CEO of The Co-operators. A veteran of the co-op movement for more than 30 years, Roelants was previously Secretary General of the industrial and service co-op organisations CICOPA, a member of the ICA, and CECOP - CICOPA-Europe.  He's also co-author of the 2013 book Capital and the Debt Trap - Learning from Co-operatives in the Global Crisis.
Rob Wesseling has served as President and CEO of The Co-operators since December, 2016, having joined them in 1997. He's also a board member of the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation and a member of the Insurance Development Forum Steering Committee. He serves on the Business Council of Canada and the board of the Canadian Co-operative Investment Fund.  Look for more about the co-keynote presentations in coming months.
Save the Date:  the Conference will be held November 1 -3 in Winnipeg; the co-keynotes take place in the evening of November 1st.  Visit the conference page here for updates.

In This Issue
 Looking Ahead to the CWCF AGM
CWCF Awards - Please Submit Nominations! / Les Prix de mérite de la FCCT - Nous cherchons des candidatures!
Le français suit.  
Nominations are sought by July 20th, 2018 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, communications@canadianworker.coop, with a brief write-up as to why you are nominating the co-op or the individual. The award winners will be chosen by the Board of CWCF. The details of each Award are available here.
Nous vous invitons à soumettre des candidatures, avant le 20 juillet 2018, pour l'un ou l'autre des Prix de la coopération du travail que remet la FCCT à chaque congrès annuel. La FCCT encourage les coopératives de travail à proposer leur coopérative ou une autre coopérative pour le Prix « Meilleures pratiques », ou un individu pour le Prix du Mérite de la coopération du travail. Nous portons une attention particulière aux candidatures provenant de la région où se déroule le congrès. La FCCT couvre l'inscription et les frais des gagnants pour assister à tout le congrès.
Veuillez soumettre votre candidat-e(s) à Kaye Grant, à communications@canadianworker.coop, avec une brève description qui explique votre choix. Le conseil d'administration de la FCCT désigne les lauréats.  Les détails de chaque prix sont disponibles ici.
Call for Resolutions / Appel de Résolutions
Le français suit.
The CWCF AGM 2018 will be held on November 2nd and 3rd, 2018 at Humphry Inn and Suites in Winnipeg. The deadline to submit regular resolutions is September 3rd, 2018, at 5 pm Eastern Time. 
Please see the CWCF Resolutions process, including the Resolutions Form on the last page, at this link: http://canadianworker.coop/cwcf-agm-resolutions-process/.  If you have any questions about this process, please do not hesitate to ask either the chair of the Resolutions Committee, Eric Tusz-King, erictuszking@gmail.com, or executive director Hazel Corcoran, hazel@canadianworker.coop. Please submit resolutions to Eric, and copy Hazel.  If this Call for Resolutions should to go to anyone else in your co-op or organization, please share this message with them.
Appel de Résolutions 
L'AGA de la FCCT 2018 aura lieu du 2 au 3 novembre à Humphry Inn & Suites à Winnipeg. La date limite pour soumettre des résolutions est le 3 septembre 2018 à 17h, heure de l'Est.
S'il vous plaît voir le processus des résolutions FCCT, y compris l'avis des résolutions sur la dernière page, à ce lien, en anglais:  http://canadianworker.coop/cwcf-agm-resolutions-process/.  Si vous avez des questions au sujet du processus, écrivez à la Directrice générale Hazel Corcoran, hazel@canadianworker.coop ou bien au Président du comité des résolutions, Eric Tusz-King, erictuszking@gmail.com. S'il vous plaît, soumettez les résolutions à Eric, et envoyez une copie conforme à Hazel. Si cet appel de résolutions devait être pris en charge par quelqu'un d'autre dans votre organisation, s'il vous plaît partagez ce message avec eux.
Board Election / Élection du conseil d'administration
Le français suit 
This year there are four board positions up for election.  They are for the board seats in Quebec, Ontario, BC, and one at-large seat.  If you would like to know more about serving on the Board of CWCF, contact Director and Nominating Committee member Yuill Herbert at yuill@ssg.coop, and copy Hazel Corcoran, hazel@canadianworker.coop. 

It is possible to make nominations for these positions, up to and including from the floor of the AGM.  We will provide the statements/biographies of the candidates who have declared with the AGM Kit.  CWCF has a set of diversity criteria for the board which candidates may complete or not, at their option.

Élection du conseil d'administration
Cette année il y a 4 postes du conseil d'administration en l'élection. Ce sont les sièges du conseil d'administration dans les régions suivantes: le Québec, L'Ontario, la C.-B. et un administrateur/trice sans région. Si vous souhaitez savoir plus sur le conseil de la FCCT, communiquez avec Yuill Herbert,  à yuill@ssg.coop, et aussi Hazel Corcoran, hazel@canadianworker.coop.
Il est possible de faire des nominations pour ces postes jusqu'au moment de l'AGA. Nous allons fournir les déclarations / biographies des candidats avec la trousse de l'AGA. La FCCT a des critères de diversité pour le conseil que les candidat(e)s peuvent compléter ou non, à leur gré.
Strategic Planning: The Co-operators Awards CWCF a Member Engagement Grant 
It's great news for the CWCF strategic planning process that The Co-operators' Co-op Development Program (CDP) has awarded a  $7,000 grant to actively engage CWCF's worker co-op members in the process.
We will be identifying board representatives from the CWCF member co-ops to participate in phone interviews with Russ Christianson and Cathy Lang (two of the consultants hired to work with CWCF on its new strategic plan) to gain feedback on the key strategic planning directions. 
The CWCF has a strategic planning committee that includes CWCF directors, staff, members, and Russ Christianson.  This committee is helping to guide CWCF's strategic planning process.  The design of the member engagement process and questions for the phone interviews will be developed over the course of July by the consultants and staff, with valuable input from the rest of the committee.  The phone interviews will take place during August and early September.
"We are just wrapping up the key informant interviews with worker co-op allies across Canada and the United States", said Russ Christianson.  "As of June 14, we have completed ten phone interviews and we have received twenty responses to our on-line English survey, and nine responses to our French survey, from CWCF members in Quebec which are Federations.  There is such a wealth of experience and innovative ideas from these key informants."
In July, the ideas in the key informant interviews will be analyzed, and will be combined with the strategic discussions that the CWCF board, staff and committee members have had in person, on the phone, and on Loomio (the on-line discussion platform we have been using, and that was designed by a worker co-op in New Zealand).   This information will be distilled into key strategic directions for the long term, medium term and short term, that will then be evaluated based on criteria developed by the strategic planning committee and approved by the board of directors.
"It's a very participatory and thorough process, and we want to take the time to do it well", said Hazel Corcoran, the CWCF's veteran Executive Director.  "As a member-based organization, we need to reach out and listen carefully to what our members have to say, and make sure we are moving in directions they agree on."
Once the member feedback is received, from worker co-ops and from CWCF's Quebec Federation members, an initial draft of the strategic plan will be written by the consultants and reviewed by the CWCF board, staff, and strategic planning committee.  Their feedback will then be integrated into the next draft of the plan that will be circulated to members before the annual CWCF conference that is being held in Winnipeg from November 1 to 3.  The strategic plan will be presented and discussed at the November meeting.

Mondragon Seminar of the Praxis Peace Institute 
By Hazel Corcoran 
The Mondragon Co-operative Corporation (MCC) is a group of 102 co-operatives in the Basque region of Spain with 74,000 workers.  It is  sometimes called the Mondragon Group ("the Group").  The co-operatives are primarily worker co-operatives, but some are multi-stakeholder co-ops with both worker and consumer members.   The primary founder and driving force behind Mondragon was a Catholic priest named José María Arizmendiarrieta, also called "Arizmendi".  Recognizing the importance, and inaccessibility, of education for the region's impoverished people, Arizmendi first started a professional school in the 1940's, and under his guidance, five   engineers who had graduated from the school started the first co-op, Ulgor. 
Within the Mondragon region, two elements of the co-ops which stand out are the centrality of innovation, and the focus on fairness. Having studied the Mondragon system for many years, I was very privileged to be able to finally go and learn about it in person - to get a better grasp of what they've accomplished including its sheer scale.  I thank The Co-operators for enabling me to go on my Board training budget.     
Most of us hope to find elements in the Mondragon system that we could apply to help to build the worker co-op movement in other places.  
There are a variety of elements that have contributed to Mondragon's success that cannot be replicated - a lot of which were the particular circumstances that existed at the time their co-ops started, yet we can still learn from what they have achieved.  Several factors tend to be absent elsewhere, including the concentration in sophisticated industrial sectors, the presence of tariffs in Spain at the time of the Mondragon co-ops' development, and the strong culture of solidarity within the community.  However, learnings that are more transferrable and could inform the worker co-op movement in other places, such as in Canada, include the following. 
Access to worker coop-friendly capital and technical assistance are critical.  Concentrations by industry sector help to build expertise - and this has been well applied with the Arizmendi co-op model in the San Francisco Bay Area; this replication model may be among the strongest indirect lessons learned.  Given that MCC decides which co-ops should get support when needed, a relatively centralized approach to organizing the movement can also increase the strength of the co-operatives. A focus on education is important to keep up the sophisticated knowledge base and to remain innovative. The fact that there is provision for indivisible reserves helps to make the co-ops long-lasting and viewed as an inter-generational heritage. Strong solidarity and inter-cooperation within the community, applied practically, are the basis of the Mondragon Group. 
A few of these elements are in place in some way in Canada, such as access to capital through the Canadian Co-operative Investment Fund and the Tenacity Works Fund.  Beyond this, if we can apply more of these learnings in the Canadian context, including as a result of our current strategic planning process, we increase the potential to get the Canadian worker co-op movement to greater scale.
To read the full article, click here.
Growing Sales in Your Co-op

Webinar hosted by the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation

Date: June 28, 2018 - Time: 1:30 to 3:00pm ET
Cost: Free for members -  $20 (plus tax) for non-members.
Webinar on Zoom platform - Connection details sent to registrants directly.
Increasing sales is typically the only way a business can grow and, in the case of the social economy, increase its social, environmental and economic impact. But how can a co-operative step into optimal hustle mode in a way that aligns with its values, culture and brand image?
In this webinar, co-operative members will have 90 minutes to take stock of their current approach to sales, notice their lost opportunities and brainstorm new approaches to increasing sales.
  • Coop sales scan: Where do our sales come from, how do we make them, how have our sales met our revenue and expenses needs over the last few years? Why do we need to increase sales?
  • What we sell, what is sellable about it?
  • Whom we sell it to (audience & segments)
  • How & where we sell it (message & channels)
  • How much we sell it for (mark-up, competitive pricing)
  • Coop Scan & report back: Where are our missed opportunities and how do we meet these opportunities in a way that aligns with our values, culture and brand image? Is the issue really sales, or our margins, costs, etc.?
You will leave with ideas and strategies that are appropriate to your co-operative and in line with your brand image.
About the Presenter

Stephanie specializes in multi-stakeholder team building and participatory business planning. She helpsindividuals locate themselves in, engage with and affect the systems they inhabit, empowering them every step of the way. BA studies in political sciences and international development at McGill University (Montreal) and a Masters of Management of Cooperatives and Credit Unions at St Mary's University (Halifax) provided a unique bridge between the inquisitive, analytical approach of the humanities and management's process-oriented, problem-solving ethos.
Starting her career in community development as Marketing and Membership Coordinator at Coop la Maison Verte in Montreal (2009-2012), she has built diverse local coalitions in Montreal and New York, and mobilized stakeholders towards system-level impact in various countries. She brings concrete experience in political advocacy & lobby work at city, province and federal levels, and a keen understanding of the diverse mix of factors essential to culturally and locally-appropriate community development.


We have changed our registration process.  Please click here to register at Eventbrite .  Members should first email Kaye Grant at communications@canadianworker.coop, to receive their Member code for free registration.  For all others the cost is $20 (plus GST/HST).

Forestry Co-operative Federation Merit Award to Alain Bridault!
**Version française suit.**
At its annual Conference this spring, the Quebec Forestry Co-operative Federation ( Fédération québécoise des coopératives forestières ) awarded Alain Bridault its Co-operative Merit Award.  CWCF congratulates Alain on this well-deserved honour!  
Alain has been a long-time supporter of forestry co-operatives and other types of worker co-ops.  After pursuing doctoral studies in sociology in his native France, the first worker co-operative in Quebec which Alain co-founded, was a forestry co-op.  He likewise co-founded Orion , a research and consulting worker co-operative.  Alain Bridault has literally dedicated his life to co-operation. He has worked for over 30 years as a co-operative expert:  not only carrying out research, but offering training and consulting services and producing tools to facilitate co-op development - work which he still continues. He has also been a committed activist, representing worker co-operatives in a multitude of organizations in Quebec, the rest of Canada and abroad. He was a director, and president for 7 years until 2016, of the Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation and represented Canada on the Executive Committee of CICOPA, which is the International Organization of Industrial and Service Cooperatives, a sectoral organization of the International Co-operative Alliance - where he continues to represent CWCF.  
Félicitations, Alain!
(CWCF thanks the Quebec Forestry Co-op Federation for providing the article in French on which this English version is based.  See below.)
Mérite coopératif à Alain Bridault!
par la Fédération québécoise des coopératives forestières
Lors de son Congrès annuel ce printemps, la Fédération des coopératives forestières du Québec   (FQCF) a décerné à Alain Bridault son Prix du mérite coopératif. La FCCT félicite Alain pour cet honneur bien mérité!  Voici des extraits de l'article par la FCFQ.
Le Mérite coopératif 2018 a marqué le mouvement coopératif québécois, surtout la coopération du travail. Le récipiendaire a longtemps soutenu les coopératives forestiéres.  À la fois conseiller et militant dans le mouvement, il a cofondé Orion, coopérative de recherche et de conseil (http://orion.coop/) qui depuis plus de trente ans est au service du mouvement coopératif. Il s'agit d'ALAIN BRIDAULT. ...
Alain Bridault a littéralement consacré sa vie à la coopération. Il a gagné sa vie en tant qu'expert tant pour effectuer des recherches, qu'offrir des formations et des services-conseils ou produire des outils. Il a aussi été un militant engagé. Pour représenter les coopératives de travail dans une multitude de structures tant au Québec, qu'au Canada et à l'étranger. Il a présidé la Fédération canadienne des coopératives de travail (pendant 7 ans) et représente le Canada au conseil exécutif de CICOPA, l'organisation sectorielle de la coopération du travail pour l'Alliance coopérative internationale - et où il siège toujours. Il entretient d'ailleurs toujours un vaste réseau de contacts de militants de la coopération du travail provenant de plusieurs pays.  ...
Alain a dit, "C'est le prix qui me touche le plus au coeur. Ça me ramène à mes origines
comme coopérateur. C'est là que j'ai découvert le sens de la solidarité, du travail collectif et de la liesse du travail bien fait."

Workers at BeetBox planting garlic
Workers at Beetbox planting garlic
Welcome BeetBox Co-operative Farm!

We are pleased to announce BeetBox Co-operative Farm as a new member of CWCF.  BeetBox incorporated as a worker co-op last year and has been busy ever since producing wholesome vegetables and vegetable seed. Their mission is to promote good food for their local community by producing high quality vegetables using ecological farming practices - they're currently working to have their vegetables certified organic.  Co-founded by Jeremy Colbeck, Lise-Anne Léveillé, and David Mazur-Goulet, you'll find their 110-acre farm smack dab in Ottawa on farmland managed by the National Capital Commission.

BeetBox makes vegetable available through a weekly or twice-monthly VegBox program which provides customers with boxes containing a variety of fresh produce from late June through late October. Customers - and anyone else who's interested - are also invited to invest in the co-op by purchasing shares. Welcome BeetBox

An Update on London Brewing Co-operative

The first co-op brewery to open in Canada outside Quebec, London Brewing Co-operative has been
growing steadily the past few years, and the trend looks set to continue. The co-op moved into  a more spacious location  last year, offering it increased brewing capacity and the chance to open a bottle shop where customers can eat and drink in comfortable pub-style surroundings. In February, London Brewing received a  $92,600 grant f rom a joint federal/provincial initiative to support agribusinesses. The co-op was also spotlighted in the recent film A New Economy, available on Netflix.

Cooperatives provide security and meaningful jobs to young people, new study shows


Brussels, 6 June 2018 - CICOPA, the international organisation of industrial and service cooperatives, has published today a new "Global Study on Youth Cooperative Entrepreneurship", as part of its campaign " We own it! The future of work is ours".

The study is based on desk research and on an online survey involving 64 youth cooperatives in the five continents, and shows how - in a world of work deeply reshaped by demographic changes, globalization, technological innovations and youth unemployment - cooperatives can be a concrete tool in the hands of young people for improving their work and entrepreneurship conditions.

Five Ways to Increase Membership Engagement
By Kyle White, Co-operatives First
Most co-ops have, at some point or another, encountered difficulties getting their members involved in the organization. Low engagement can reveal itself in a variety of ways, but often indicates itself through poor attendance at AGMs, vacancies on the board of directors, or declining sales.
Here are 5 things co-operatives can do to enhance membership engagement.
BCCA advocates for co-op sector to BC's Small Business Task Force

By John Kay, Vice Chair BC Co-operative Association
This year, the BC Co-operative Association was invited to participate in a discussion with BC's Small Business Task Force! On June 6, the BCCA joined other entrepreneurs and business owners from BC to discuss how to maintain and strengthen a healthy small business sector in the province.

This is the first time the BCCA has been invited to join a small business consultation. Our representatives took this opportunity to talk about issues of concern to our members, including access to financing, streamlining access to government programs and services, and educating the Task Force on our sector's role in the provincial economy. We also encourage you to provide your own input by visiting the Task Force's public engagement and completing their survey: engage.gov.bc.ca/smallbusiness.
We look forward to future opportunities to build awareness and support for the co-op and credit union sector! 
New Co-op to Help Canada's Indigenous Fish Harvesters Market Their Catch

from Coop News
A co-operative is being formed in Manitoba, Canada, by a group of 100 fish harvesters to market their product.
The group has set up a steering committee of seven people to form the co-op, and has sought legal counsel for advice on the model at a meeting in Winnipeg.
The meeting included a presentation by Co-operatives First, which promotes the model among rural and indigenous communities in western Canada, and the province's umbrella body, the Manitoba Cooperative Association.
Co-operatives First says there is also interest in the new venture from outside the province, including Saskatchewan and Ontario.


Renewable Energy and Cooperative Model Work Together to Empower Communities

from Between the Lines

An Albany, New York protest on April 23, dubbed "Walk the Talk" on climate leadership, drew more than 1,500 people -- the city's largest climate action ever. A broad coalition of activists from across the state gathered that day to demand New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo take action for a fossil-free world.

At a training session the day before the rally and mass non-violent civil disobedience action, one of the presenters was Shakoor Aljuwani, coordinator of the New York City Community Energy Co-operative and chairperson of Co-op Power, which is a decentralized network of community energy cooperatives. He described how different forms of renewable energy and the cooperative model can work together to empower communities with both energy independence and economic development.

Aljuwani says renewable energy can provide good-paying jobs that workers can feel satisfied about, rather than contributing to the degradation of environment. He adds that renewable energy co-ops are a way to keep money circulating through low-income communities. Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus attended the training and spoke with Aljuwani after his presentation.

More U.S. Businesses Are Becoming Worker Co-ops

By Eillie Anzilotti, Fast Company

In 1982, Linda and Gregory Coles were struggling to find a sitter for their 18-month-old daughter. After a year of searching, they just decided to open their own daycare, and founded A Child's Place in Queens, New York, in 1983. Thirty-four years later, they were ready to retire. "We were going to sell the business," Linda says. But their broker suggested that instead of selling to new owners, they offer the business to their employees, who could then buy it and organize as a  worker cooperative.

The Coles' hadn't heard of worker cooperatives before, but once the broker explained how it would work, Linda knew it was the right decision for them. "The idea that we could turn our business over to our employees was one of the best things we thought we could ever do," she says.

Three ways people are challenging traditional work structures

from Shareable 

New technologies, anti-labor trade liberalization, and economic instability have led to the volatile employment environment we have today. The shift to freelancing and portfolio-driven careers enabled by peer-to-peer platforms is offering extreme flexibility and an almost infinite choice to entrepreneurs who sell their services within a global marketplace. Notwithstanding that these digital service exchanges provide a lifeline to many underemployed workers, they provide little with regard to worker protection, health insurance, or even stable cash flow. People are working longer hours, for lower wages, and with less long-term income security.

Indeed, the combination of "zero hour" work contracts, transient employment, and increased global competition has significantly reduced workers' bargaining power. Add to this the fact that digital disruption is moving to reconfigure postindustrial economies as advances in robotics, machine learning, and automation promise a "Fourth Industrial Revolution" that could eliminate millions of jobs.

Creative social entrepreneurs and digital-labor advocates are developing new ways of harnessing emerging technologies in order to allocate value on a more equitable basis. The emerging platform cooperatives movement, for example, is reclaiming worker solidarity, mutualism, and collective benefit as central tenets of a new commons economy. 

Help space cats fight galactic fascism in a new game from TESA Collective

From Co-op News

The collective behind  the Co-opoly board game have launched their newest project on Kickstarter.

Space Cats Fight Fascism is the fourth in a series of social justice games from  the TESA Collective, which designed and published the tabletop games Rise Up: The Game of People and Power and Co-opoly: The Game of Cooperatives, and the fast-paced social justice word association card game Loud & Proud.

Co-op Start-ups: Five Tech Firms Run by Their Workers

By James Walker, Compelo

We all know how a standard business is structured - ruled by the "C-class", a board of directors and shareholders are in charge.

They dictate which ideas are taken up, how budgets are spent and who gets hired or fired.

They also go home with the weightiest pay packets, while staff on the bottom floor are handed whatever trickles down from the boardroom.

But this is not the only way to run a company.

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