Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation

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

March/April 2015 Newsletter
Vol 7, Issue 2



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 CWCF News
This newsletter is now being produced every two months, with additional special newsletters as needed.  This change is based on member feedback and the finding that face-to-face connections are desired by members.  In place of the extra newsletters, CWCF is in process of planning a road tour to visit members across Canada to connect more directly.  Most of CWCF's Worker Co-op Members can expect news on this in the near future.

Communications Manager Kaye Grant interviewed Peter Hough, who after being involved with CWCF for 25 years has recently retired.  (See 3rd article.) Although he is continuing in a few volunteer &/or contracted roles, it seemed an appropriate time to get Peter's perspective on CWCF and the WC movement.  We thank Peter for his enormous contributions, & wish him all the best with retirement, including the new challenges he is seeking including a new field of studies! 


We would like to welcome Jocelyn Durston, who will be doing the bookkeeping/RRSP program management while Kristin Glenn is off on maternity leave, until approximately October.  Here is Jocelyn's contact information: 

Jocelyn Durston


Phone: (902) 678-1683   

The postal address is the same as Kristin's, as on our web site.  

We extend our best wishes to Kristin on the birth of her baby, due on March 25th - Congratulations!


In This Issue
Mark Glodblatt - memories
Homage to Mark Goldblatt
Peter Hough - Reflections on time well spent...
Eric Tusz-King (CWCF Board VP) on the move
Winnipeg's Neechi Commons enlivens hope and possibility for community
Worker-owned Bakery in Calgary Seeks Members
Tele-Learning Session on What is CoopZone & How Can it be Useful to You?
Work On Collective Enterprises In Ontario
The Cooperative Movement Needs to Hear Your Voice
Building a National Network of Unionized Worker-owned Cooperative Businesses
New York City Invests in Worker Co-ops
The ILO on Job Preservation through Worker Cooperatives
Ethical Bay
Working Group Aims to Build Up Cuba's Private Sector
CICOPA Administration and Membership Officer,
Message from Mauril Belanger
Message from H?l?ne Leblanc
Mark Goldblatt 
The recent passing of Mark has inspired many co-operators to post and share their stories and inspiration about his enormous contribution to the Co-op movement.  In this issue of our newsletter we are honouring Mark, by sharing Hazel Corcoran's Eulogy/ Homage, and links to the many places where others have posted their memories and recollections about him.  It is still possible for others to add their comments to the CMC's Mark Benjamin Goldblatt Memorial Blog, noted in the article after next.

Homage to Mark Goldblatt - a Fearless Leader, 1952-2015.
By Hazel Corcoran,  February 8, 2015


I remember a time at a Canadian Worker Co-op Federation Conference. It was about 11 p.m. on a Saturday, most of the delegates were having a party, and Mark & I were having an intense conversation planning some co-op-related topic for the next day. Someone walked by and said to us, "Don't you guys

ever have any fun?" Without skipping a beat, Mark said, "We ARE having fun!" - and it was true.




Mark was truly a co-operative visionary. Despite having worked closely with him for almost all of the last 23 years, I only realized after his passing just how many lives Mark touched and how many co-operative organizations exist just because Mark passed through them. He viewed his desire to co-operate as similar to that of an artist to paint. He'd say "An artist will ask himself - Do I feel like painting today? Yes, of course, I want to paint! I am a painter." In the same way, Mark always wanted to work to build the co-operative movement. He was a profoundly committed co-operator.  click here to continue   



Memories: Mark Goldblatt  
Photo of Mark, with member Christine Rhydsdale, from the 1994 Montreal meeting where he became CWCF President

Hindsight: Memorial for a Quiet Hero posted by James Howden on February 13, 2015

Peter Hough, Financial Officer (retired)- Reflections on time well spent

By Kaye Grant


Earlier this month I had the pleasure of interviewing Peter about his time with CWCF and more generally his work in the co-op sector.


Peter has a long history with CWCF having been on the founding task force 25 years ago, in fact the founding meeting in 1991 was one of the highlights of Peter's time with CWCF. "Clearly that first meeting was very exciting in 1991, there was much excitement in the room." Peter noted.


Although Peter's formal role changed over the years, his commitment to our mission has never wavered. Peter was our first Executive Director, on a part-time basis from 1992 to 1995. Following that he moved to the role of financial officer for CWCF which he held until his retirement this spring; however, this function moved from initially being done on voluntary basis to part-time contract to a staff member in 2006. Peter was also the Fund Manager of "Tenacity Works" from 2000 until he retired. It's evident that CWCF might not have achieved its goals of becoming a national federation without Peter's contributions.


Peter has been involved with numerous co-ops at many different levels including member, manager, director, co-op training instructor and co-op development consultant. It's safe to say that wherever Peter lives / has lived, there seems to be a significant cluster of worker co-operatives. We are sure this isn't coincidental.


I asked Peter about what he thought was driving the worker co-op movement. He reflected that each country and context is different that the drivers globally are not homogeneous and there is no one model of success. This seems to speak to the challenges of growing the worker co-operative movement.  In order to grow this movement in Canada, Peter thinks we need to be prepared for opportunities such as business succession to worker co-ops and be ready to respond but a key action required to help this along is the continuing promotion of the worker co-op option. Without a significant increase in awareness of the option and its benefits especially with young people looking for an alternative to the dominant way of doing business, the sector will be challenged to grow significantly.


Focusing on CWCF Peter noted that "the turning point for CWCF's progress was the Tenacity Works Fund,"which CWCF obtained, after a significant lobbying effort, as a pilot project in the year 2000.   Up to then, we were surviving on contracts. This (Tenacity Works) gave CWCF some stability on which to grow its resources, and with it the movement in Canada started to grow which increased excitement and energy. The next key contributor to CWCF's development was the RRSP program and then the CDI program, both of which helped stabilize CWCF.


For Peter, the highlights of his time at CWCF coincided with some of these significant opportunities; Tenacity Works, the RRSP program, the Worker Co-op Developers Network and the development of CoopZone, all of which have provided important resources across the country. Peter has also been key to the development of the CoopZone Co-op Developers Training program which helps co-op developers get the skills and experience necessary to help develop and expand co-ops in Canada.


So I wondered how working with CWCF impacted or changed Peter's life. His response was not a surprise for me. He said, "I got the opportunity to do meaningful work with others and to create co-op businesses that focus on people. I got to work with and inspire others to take responsibility for their own livelihood; that was very meaningful and satisfying."  


Peter went on to note that "I met some extraordinary people, and I was challenged to become a better person because of that. I had the good fortune to develop skills that I was able to use in international development projects in Mongolia, China, Cuba and Croatia. "


In conclusion, Peter noted that he "feels a sense of completion."   Although he will continue to be involved with CWCF, his role will change from staff to volunteer and perhaps occasionally a contractor. He is looking forward to more downtime to spend with his wife, Lori, to engage in more leisure activities, to study, and perhaps even contribute to a few co-operatives, as he continues to be on a number of co-op boards and committees.


It's clear to me that Peter has been a significant driving force for the growth of CWCF. I'm sure that I speak on behalf of both staff and members when I extend my sincere gratitude for the time, effort and commitment he has put toward the worker co-operative movement and we wish him the best as he transitions to a new lifestyle; one which I hope continues to provide him with satisfaction and joy. 



Postscript from Hazel Corcoran:  Peter's contributions to CWCF, and to CoopZone, truly defy measure.  I was glad that we were able to honour him with a tribute at our 2014 AGM.  Peter has provided vision, strategic direction, on-the-ground work and tireless dedication.  He will be greatly missed on the staff.  However, we all get to benefit from the legacy he leaves as well as the fact that he has generously agreed to play a small but important role in CWCF as a volunteer on some committees, and occasional contract worker - plus as  continuing member of CoopZone.  Your work has been deeply appreciated, and you leave CWCF in a strong position to grow into the future.  



Eric Tusz-King, CWCF Atlantic Director, on the move
Eric Tusz-King, Atlantic director and vice-president on the CWCF Board, announced to the Co-op of which he was General Manager, EnerGreen Builders Co-operative,that he would leave on March 15. Eric said, "That is not particularly newsworthy."  However, he is leaving to work with another CWCF member, Aster Group Environmental Services Co-operative.  That is a bit more unusual.  He also told us that one wish, if he joined Aster Group, was that he could represent Aster Group at CWCF meetings and have time to continue with the CWCF Board.  Fortunately, he is able to continue in his role on the CWCF Board.  Eric stated, "I feel CWCF is a vital Federation in the Canadian and international co-op community, and I am pleased that I will still be able to contribute to and learn from CWCF."  CWCF is very glad he will continue as well, and wishes him all the best in his new role.

Winnipeg's Neechi Commons enlivens hope and possibility for community

Social Enterprise Canada's newsletter interviewed Hazel Corcoran on Neechi Commons.  This was done partially in response to the Maclean's cover story about racism in Winnipeg - as a counterpoint to something positive there, led by First Nations and M?tis people.  For the article , entitled "Winnipeg's Neechi Commons enlivens hope and possibility for community",



Worker-owned Bakery in Calgary Seeks Members

  The Grain Exchange Worker Co-operative Bakery
"More than a bakery, more than a social enterprise"

Join Us!

Join Calgary's newest artisan bakery/ pizzeria, the Grain Exchange Worker Co-op. Be more than a food service or kitchen worker: be a co-owner, have a say at your place of work, be part of making "support local business" truly something radically meaningful.  This bakery is inspired by and loosely modeled on the Cheese Board/ Arizmendi replications in the San Francisco Bay Area.  For more information, click here.  




Tele-Learning Session on What is CoopZone & How Can it be Useful to You? 



Here is a chance to get more information and ask questions. There will be two sessions one in English and one in French.

CoopZone is the Network of co-operative developers, and individuals and organizations with interest in co-op development. It also includes a network of lawyers and related professionals, in the CoopZone Legal Network, and other professional service providers such as 

such as accountants all of whom work with co-ops. It offers a variety of services including webinars and a distance training program on co-op development. It is based in Canada but is open to participation by people in other parts of the world.

This tele-learning session is open to all CoopZone members as well as others with interest:
Tuesday, March 31st, for up to 45 minutes. English session starts at 2:00pm ET and the French session starts at 2:45 ET.

1) EN: The English session will be at 2 pm EDT, March 31st, for up to 45 minutes. Presenters will be CoopZone past (& founding) board member Lynn Hannley; CEC-NB Executive Director Wendy Keats, & Executive Director, Hazel Corcoran.

2) FR: The French session will start at 2:45 pm EDT, March 31st, for up to 45 minutes. Presenters will be CoopZone board member, Pascal Billard and Executive Director, Hazel Corcoran.

If you wish to participate in this session, which is free please RSVP to, by the evening of Monday, March 30th at the latest. If you RSVP, you will receive dial-in information by the morning of the session. If it's not received by that morning, please write again.

In addition (or alternatively), you may read an introduction to CoopZone here: Further, you can read about CoopZone's Legal Network, here:   


Work On Collective Enterprises In Ontario

Republished from On Co-op News
VOLUME 11, ISSUE 19  Feb. 28, 2015



The Conseil de la Coop?ration de l'Ontario ( CCO) will receive a grant of $375,000 from the Ontario Government to implement a unique program to support collective enterprises, called Social Enterprise Ontario, following a formal announcement of Premier Kathleen Wynne.


Social Enterprise Ontario will be the francophone and bilingual one-stop shop for all collective enterprises in the province. The program will facilitate the development of these enterprises by helping them with their financing, investment, capacity building, training, support, market access and strategic networking requirements.  


"Ontario Social Enterprise is an innovative program that combines public-private co-financing at a Community Business accompanying high level. This ensures the emergence of strong collective enterprises that provide the means to succeed and prosper," notes Luc Morin, Executive Director of CCO.


CCO, who is partnering with Desjardins, the Alliance of Caisses Populaires in Ontario and the Franco-Ontarian Foundation, will operationalize the program in coming weeks. 



The Madison Worker Coop Movement Wants to Hear Your Voice
by Josh Davis

 With money now flowing into cooperative development in Madison, we need to ensure that the people who have been engaged in this work since before it was cool are being consulted and listened to.

  1. What role should worker-owners play in discussions and strategic decisions regarding expanding the worker co-op movement?
  2. What do you think about the ideas laid out by co-op developers in volume one of Scaling Up the Cooperative Movement?  Are their suggestions heading in the right direction?
  3. If you had $1 million to spend to expand the worker co-op movement, what would you do with it? 



Building a Network of Unionized Worker-owned Cooperative Businesses in the USA 

1worker1vo and Mondragon USA are building a national network of unionized worker-owned cooperative businesses to overcome inequality of opportunity, mobility, and income. Click here to read more.





New York City Invests in Worker Co-ops - and Equitable Growth

The initiative aims to support the creation of 234 jobs and bring training and financial resources to 20 existing co-ops and 28 start-ups. It promises to raise the profile of worker-owned cooperatives as a strategy for equitable economic growth.  


 To read more click here. 



The ILO:  Job Preservation through Worker Cooperatives
A new ILO publication presents a series of lessons learned by trade unions and cooperatives in their efforts to prevent the closing of enterprises through buyouts. It provides examples of success stories and documents the enabling conditions that led to success.

This book has been written to fill a gap in the literature. At a basic level, it is meant to inform of successful cases of job preservation through the creation of worker cooperatives in different regions of the world. More importantly, it is meant to elucidate the conditions of success for such attempts at recovery and to draw the important lessons learned by workers and their organizations in dealing with them.

Click here to access the publication.

Ethical Bay

By Cat Johnson    February 18, 2015


 Imagine an online marketplace, similar to Amazon or eBay, that only sold ethical goods. Now make that marketplace a multi-stakeholder cooperative that involves sellers, consumers and the team building and running the platform along with other stakeholders. That's the vision for the UK-based  Ethical Bay. 



Working Group Aims to Build Up Cuba's Private Sector

3/10/15 2:32 PM EDT


The National Cooperative Business Association launched a U.S.-Cuba working group with the goal of building up Cuba's private cooperative sector, potentially increasing the market for U.S. products.


Cubans have been able to form cooperatives in non-agricultural sectors only since July 2013, so most of the immediate opportunity for trade is in agriculture,  Eric Leenson, president of Sol Economics, said at the working group's launch. His firm builds links between "socially responsible enterprises" in the Americas, which it defines as cooperatives, benefit corporations, social enterprises with clear and proven missions and some programs of large corporations, and has a strong focus on Cuba.  


The communist country's non-agricultural cooperatives are currently aimed at meeting local needs, Leenson said.

"That's really what the Cuban government is emphasizing because of the need to increase food production," he said of ag cooperatives. "The potential is enormous both ways, but especially from U.S. cooperatives to Cuban cooperatives. I think the need for inputs, for equipment, for know-how are large. I think the cooperative sector here in the U.S. is very well positioned to do that."


Amy Coughenour Betancourt, Chief Operating Officer of the NCBA's international arm, the Cooperative League of the USA, also pointed to the lack of supplies as a major obstacle for Cuba's cooperatives. "The question about trade is important in that as markets start to open up, hopefully these cooperatives will have better access to their raw materials - things like seeds and fertilizers that will help them to continue to grow their businesses."


U.S. regulations require exporters to sell products for the benefit of private entrepreneurs, though Cuban imports must first go through government agencies. Alan Knapp, Vice President of advocacy at NCBA CLUSA, said that both the State Department and the Commerce Department have affirmed that cooperatives count as private entrepreneurs under the definition of the new regulations.


Leenson added that Cuban cooperatives eventually might be able to export certain crops to the U.S., particularly those that are more "tropically oriented," such as sugar or coffee.


The Cuban government is currently analyzing how the cooperatives operate in order to develop a definitive law in 2016 that will improve the commercial environment for them, he said.


Click here for more information   



CICOPA Administration and Membership Officer, Helen Robinson, is resigning 


Dear Members,

This is to inform you that the CECOP and CICOPA Administration and Membership Officer, Helen Robinson, is resigning from our secretariat owing to a brand new and unplanned career opportunity better fitting her educational and professional profile. She has told us that she is very sad to leave us, and we, as staff members of the secretariat, are also very sad, while being happy that she can dedicate herself to a new activity which goes along the lines of how she wishes to develop her career.


Helen's last day at our office will be 15 May, and we are now actively looking for a new candidate to replace her.


The advertisement for candidacies is being published today 9 March and will close on 27 March. We have posted a job announcement in both English and French on the CECOP website: see . Kindly disseminate this job announcement in your networks.


Best regards,

Bruno Roelants

Secretary General 


CICOPA is the sectorial organisation of the International Cooperative Alliance for industry and services, of which CWCF is a member.  Board President Alain Bridault represents CWCF on the CICOPA Executive Committee.   



Message from Mauril Belanger, Liberal Advocate for Cooperatives  

Message de Mauril B?langer, D?fenseur lib?ral des coop?ratives  



 Click here to read Mauril Belanger's message on March 13, 2015 (bilingual) / Cliquer ici pour lire le message de Mauril B?langer du 13 mars 2015 (bilingue).   



Reprise des activit?s du caucus des coop?ratives, demandes relatives au budget f?d?ral et r?glement sur la transformation des mutuelles /     

Co-op Caucus, federal budget and new regulation framework for Mutual Insurance companies    

 Clique ici pour lire en fran?ais. 


Click here to read it in English. 

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