Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation

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

May 2014
Vol 6, Issue 4Follow us on Twitter
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 CWCF News
Worker Co-op Member telephone surveys
are ongoing. We have connected with members across Canada.  We have heard about your successes, challenges and received feedback on how CWCF can continue to support you, our members.  If you haven't yet had a chance to connect, please email Kaye at and let your voice be heard.

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.

The US FWC Conference will take place in Chicago, May 30th - June 1st.  CWCF Executive Director Hazel Corcoran will be attending, and is interested in finding others from Canada who will also participate.  If you will be there, please contact her at:
In This Issue
2014 CWCF-CoopZone Conference Update
Call for Worker Co-op News
Thirty Years of The Big Carrrot!
National Co-op Challenge - May 30th deadline / Le Défi national coop - date limite le 30 mai
Why a Worker Co-operative?
CoopZone on-line Training Program
Cooperative Farming
Remembering Lynn Williams
Employees buy Cafe to form a Worker Co-operative
15 Affirmations and Ideas from the UK
After Mondragon, Wither the Praire Co-operative
Work Together: CICOPA e-Magazine
2014 CMC Congress/ Congrès CMC
International Summit of Co-operatives
Sommet international des coopératives 2014
All-Party Caucus on Co-operatives on Parliament Hill/ Verision française suit
2014 CWCF-CoopZone Conference Update
  Co-operative Collaborations:

Member Engagement and External Partnerships


Wolfville, Nova Scotia, November 6 - 8, 2014

Old Orchard Inn
This year's Conference will take place in a beautiful setting in the Annapolis Valley, which is home to many co-operatives.  The Conference Planning Committee has been hard at work and has developed a list of session topics. Here are some of them:
  • Plenary session on Worker Co-op Member Engagement  
  • Plenary session on Recruitment and Evaluation in a Worker Co-op
  • Worker Co-op presentations using the popular Ignite format 
  • Strengthen your Co-op with Clear Worker Guidelines. Interactive workshop on a universal employee handbook for worker co-ops.
  • Participatory Management in a worker co-op: its requirements and benefits
  • The co-operative advantage: Branding, and Social Media
  • Site Visit to Just Us Coffee Roasters Co-op/ Fair Trade Museum & Acadia Cinema Co-op
  • Financing using investment shares and CEDIFs, CEDB's and Opportunity Development Co-ops
  • Pricing for Profit: how to price and market for success.  Relating the price your co-op charges for your goods or services to the bottom line.
  • Expanding your Worker Co-op:  As your co-op grows - advantages and disadvantages of expanding in place, opening a satellite location, and replication.
  • What should be decided by whom in a worker co-op?  Management, members, board, committees, investors or other stakeholders?  Discussion with various worker co-ops and the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches
  • Popular Education as a tool for social change.
  • International Solidarity
  • Unions and Worker Co-ops

On-line registration will be announced within a few weeks.  We hope to see you there! 

Call for Worker Co-op news

We are interested in promoting our Worker Co-op members.  We can post your news, or information of interest about your co-op, on our Facebook page, we can Tweet it and/or we can highlight your co-op in the CWCF Newsletter.  This is a call for your news.   Let us increase your profile!   If you have anything you would like us to share, please email it to Kaye at  


Thirty Years of The Big Carrot!

It's pretty amazing to have a local business last for 30 years in this day and age, never mind a business as innovative and creative and cool as The Big Carrot. Not only has the Carrot, a CWCF member, been taking care of Local for the past few years but they've taken care of the community for the past thirty and for many have become the go-to place for all things "health".

For thirty years, The Big Carrot has been searching for Nature's Finest to provide our shoppers with delicious, nourishing and sustainable food. In celebration of this commitment to sustainable food production we are launching the Nature's Finest Fund. This will become an annual grant program to expand the availability of locally produced food and to support and strengthen the working relationships between local family farms and The Big Carrot. Click here for more information.  


You can also see the 5-minute Big Carrot Ignite video from the last CWCF Conference, here.   


The National Co-op Challenge is back!

Entries must be received by May 30th!


Le lien pour la version fran�aise suit.


Find out how your co-op can win a share of $200,000!

For the third consecutive year, The Co-operators will distribute a total of $200,000 to eight emerging and expanding co-operatives across Canada. This online contest gives co-ops a chance to win valuable prizes aimed at growing their businesses while increasing their exposure.


How does it work?

From May 5 to May 30, 2014, co-ops submit an electronic application and then a panel of judges will narrow the list to 16 finalists. Next, each finalist will produce a creative video up to 90-seconds long that highlights their co-op and commitment to the co-op business model. Each video will be available on the contest website from September 3 - October 1, 2014, where co-op fans can vote for their favourite to win. The contest will be promoted on The Co-operators Facebook and Twitter sites.


Several chances to win!

In total, there will be eight prizes distributed in four regions across the country: West, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic.


  • Two co-ops from each region will receive $25,000 in cash funding!
  • $500 will be provided to the eight finalists who are not one of the major prize winners.
  • Every finalist will be invited to participate in a consultation session aimed at growing their business.

 Winners will be announced during National Co-op Week on October 17, 2014.


Are you up for the challenge?


An important part of being a co-op is connecting to other co-ops, encouraging them to grow and getting more Canadians involved with co-ops. After successful contests in 2012 and 2013, The Co-operators is pleased to give emerging and expanding co-ops a stronger voice in their communities.


We hope you will apply or spread the word to other co-ops!


 Le lien pour la version fran�aise est disponible ici.   


Why a worker cooperative?

Play Cafe Cooperative is a new start-up in Madison, Wisconsin; here they tell their story about why they choose to be a worker cooperative. 


"...For me, starting a worker cooperative wasn't just good business sense.  It was a way to prove to my children - and to myself - that a better world is possible.  It's not all suffering and injustice.  A better world is possible, and we can make it so."


To read more, click here.  



CoopZone On-line Training Program 2014-15: Information Webinars  


CoopZone is pleased to again be offering its co-op development training courses in 2014-15, starting in September; or October for the Introductory course.   Information about the courses is available here:    


For those who are thinking about taking one of the courses, there will be an information webinar  held on May 27th, and another on June 13th, each time at 12 noon Eastern Time for 60-90 minutes.  Please RSVP to Hazel Corcoran ( by the end of the day prior; you will receive the dial-in information by the start of the day of the call.  (If you do not receive it by then, please write again at that time.)


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.  The Course Director is Peter Hough, and experienced co-op developers provide mentoring to students.


Here's what some of the students have had to say:  


"The course is concise, informative and interactive. Mentors and course director are very knowledgeable, skilled, experienced, approachable and helpful. The readings and tools were very useful."  --Billy Granger, SEED Winnipeg.  


 "I would absolutely recommend the CoopZone program to anybody interested.  The course is pretty amazing in the way that it creates a common community amongst us aspiring co-op developers and several fully established and tremendously experienced ones. The instructors are great, and the mentoring system gives me the chance to have hours of one-on-one time with an expert in my desired field."  --Joel Ratcliffe, Ontario.   


"The Advanced Co-op Developer training has enabled me to connect with other Co-op Developers and a Mentor which allowed me to apply what I am learning directly to the groups and projects I am working on, in real time.  I would recommend this program for anyone interested in Co-op Development as we are often working alone or in small teams in communities; the course allows you to feel part of a co-op team!"  --Amanda Hachey, CEC-NB


Cooperative Farming: Frameworks for Farming Together

Just Released:


Cooperative Farming: Frameworks for Farming Together


 "It's clear that we face common challenges.  It's also clear that by working together, we get more than just a solution to a problem: we get solidarity."

 The Greenhorns presents Cooperative Farming, an in-depth resource for forming collaborative businesses.  Compiled from 42 interviews with farmers and professionals, this is a how-to handbook on structuring and operating a group farming venture. 


Download It Here

Remembering Lynn Williams 

Lynn Williams, first Canadian to be President of the United Steelworkers, has died at 89. As International President Williams championed worker ownership through Employee Stock Ownership Plans, and eventually worker co-operatives. Williams was a key ally to the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation and others in launching the Western Labour-Worker Coop Council in 2006, and in 2010 was they keynote speaker at the CWCF Conference. Our sincere condolences to his family and friends. 

 Read more here. 

Employees buy cafe to form a worker co-operative  

"Caffi Florence in north Wales is a sustainable business that has been run on strong ethical lines and with high quality standards for a number of years. That the business is taken over by the staff is consistent with these principles. This just goes to prove how important the employees are to the sustainability and growth potential of any business. This buy-out has ensured that over 15 jobs in the area are maintained and safeguarded".


Click here to read the story 


15 Affirmations and Ideas from the UK

ACCA recently led a study tour to the UK with co-operators from across Alberta and some as far as Minnesota.  Since returning home a few weeks ago, participants from the study tour have already been visualizing changes and celebrating successes in their co-operatives at home. Here are 15 ideas and affirmations to come out of the UK trip earlier in April.


 Click here to read the article.  



After Mondragon, Whither the Prairie Co-operative

Briarpatch Magazine published this article and surmises the various reasons why a worker co-operative might find itself having to close.  Although Mondragon is featured, some of the content is more generic.  


Click here to read the article. 


CICOPA: Work Together e-Magazine April/May 2014 


Work Together April/May 2014  




Travailler Ensemble Avril/Mai 2014  




The 2014 CMC Congress is making its way to New Brunswick   

 Join Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC) in Moncton, New Brunswick for the 2014 Congress on June 16-19; be part of the celebration and join hundreds of Canadian co-operators to listen, to learn and to shape the future of co-operatives and mutuals in Canada and their contribution and influence around the world.   Click here for more information.


Joignez-vous � nous au Nouveau-Brunswick!


Joignez-vous � Coop�ratives et mutuelles Canada (CMC) du 16 au 19 juin � Moncton, au Nouveau-Brunswick, dans le cadre du Congr�s 2014. Prenez part � la c�l�bration et joignez-vous � des centaines d'autres coop�rateurs canadiens qui �coutent, s'�duquent et donnent forme � l'avenir des coop�ratives et mutuelles au Canada et � leurs contributions sur la sc�ne mondiale.  Cliquez ici pour plus d'information.  

International Summit of Co-operatives  

These are two of the  many presentations that will be shared at the Quebec   2014 Summit.
        • What Form Will the New Global Economy Take?
        • Securing Capital While Guaranteeing Member Control 

A Development Tool

This article by Sophie Gall (Le Soleil) explains the tremendous potential of intercooperation as a development tool. Readers will discover amazing ideas that promote exchange and partnerships and in some cases go beyond the boundaries of federations. Learn more...


Read their recent newsletters  



Sommet international des coop�ratives 2014  

Ce sont deux des nombreuses pr�sentations  qui seront partag�es au Qu�bec dans le cadre du Sommet 2014.

        • Comment se dessine la nouvelle �conomie mondiale?
        • Garantir un capital fiable et le contr�le des membres 

Un outil de d�veloppement


Dans cet article de Sophie Gall (Le Soleil), on comprend tout le potentiel de l'intercoop�ration comme outil de d�veloppement �conomique. On y d�couvre des id�es surprenantes qui favorisent les �changes et les partenariats et d�passent parfois les fronti�res des f�d�rations. En savoir plus...


Pour lire la lettre d'informations



All-Party Caucus on Co-operatives on Parliament Hill   

News update from the Honourable Mauril B�langer, M.P., Liberal Advocate for Co-operatives: 

 Click here to read his letter



Caucus parlementaire multipartite des coop�ratives sur la Colline parlementaire

Nouvelles de L'honorable Mauril B�langer, d�put� d'Ottawa-Vanier, D�fenseur lib�ral des coop�ratives  




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