Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation 

November 2011
Vol 2, Issue  9                                                                          

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Executive Director's Report / Rapport de la Directrice g�n�rale

CICOPAFirst of all, in our Quebec Conferences, we succeeded!  We have done something extraordinary. We came together. We formed CICOPA-North America, for all of Quebec, the rest of Canada and the US - at a minimum.

By coming together, we have learned that what unites us is much more important than what divides us. Recall that the CICOPA-North America Conference theme was "Co-operation without Borders," and that is what we have begun to experience. MoreDans nos Congr�s, on a r�ussi! Nous avons fait quelque chose d'extraordinaire. Nous nous sommes rassembl�s. Nous avons cr�� CICOPA-Am�rique du Nord, couvrant tout le Qu�bec, le Canada et les �tats-unis - au minimum. En �tant ensemble, nous avons appris que ce qui nous unit est beaucoup plus important que ce qui nous s�pare. Il faut se rapeller que le th�me du Congr�s de la coop�ration de travail �tatit: la Coop�ration sans fronti�res, et c'est ce que nous avons commenc� � vivre. Plus

Historic Moment - The Creation of CICOPA-North America


October 25, 2011 (Straight Goods) - As the first act of the newly formed CICOPA-North America, Rebecca Kemble for the US FWC, Alain Bridault for the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation, and the presidents of the three Quebec worker co-op federations (F�d�ration des coop�ratives de param�dics du Qu�bec, F�d�ration qu�b�coise des coop�ratives foresti�res and R�seau de la coop�ration du travail), jointly signed the "Quebec Declaration". "In the lead-up to the UN International Year of Co-ops 2012," the Declaration begins, "and on the occasion of the first North American Worker Co-op Conference, the Worker Co-op Federations in North America have come together to create CICOPA-North America and have drafted this joint Declaration on the socio-economic future of our communities and on public policy concerning co-ops." More 

Congr�s sur la transmission - Un million d'emplois risquent de dispara�tre

Alain Bridault CICOPA(Ensemble) by Nicolas Falcimaigne - Du 13 au 15 octobre, les coop�ratives de travail se sont r�unies � Qu�bec dans le cadre du Congr�s nord-am�ricain de la coop�ration du travail, pr�c�d� d'un congr�s sp�cial sur la transmission d'entreprises aux employ�s. Interrog� en marge de l'�v�nement, Alain Bridault, pr�sident de la F�d�ration canadienne des coop�ratives de travail (FCCT/CWCF) dresse un portrait inqui�tant du d�fi qui attend le mouvement coop�ratif au cours de la prochaine d�cennie. Nicolas Falcimaigne, journal Ensemble : M. Bridault, pourquoi avez-vous convi� les coop�ratives de travail � un congr�s sp�cifique sur la transmission d'entreprise aux employ�s ? Plus (English Translation)

CICOPA-North America Launched to Promote and Defend Worker Co-ops

Jessica Gordon Nembhard

By Jessica Gordon Nembhard (Grassroots Economic Organizing) - CICOPA- North America was launched in Quebec City at the first ever North American Worker Co-operative Conference, October 13 - 15, 2011. The conference, organized jointly by the Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation (CWCF/FCCT) and the R�seau de la coop�ration du travail du Qu�bec (R�SEAU), was attended by more than 150 members of worker co-operatives. At the opening night of the conference, US Federation of Worker Cooperatives President Rebecca Kemble (member of Union Cab of Madison Cooperative) was named President of CICOPA North America. She noted that during this time when workers are under assault economically and politically, collaborations such as CICOPA North America are essential. More

La reprise des entreprises par les employ�s: une fen�tre d'opportunit� in�gal�e

Un reportage par Martin Villemure, la CDR de l'Abitibi-T�miscamingue - 

Les chiffres sont impressionnants : 55 000 entreprises � reprendre d'ici 2018 au Canada, dont 25 000 qui ne trouveront pas de repreneurs.Le contexte est lui aussi particulier : au sortir d'une crise financi�re mondiale qui semble n�e des pr�misses m�me du syst�me capitaliste, on cherche des solutions novatrices. Il semble donc y avoir une opportunit� exceptionnelle pour la reprise d'entreprise par les employ�s, une opportunit� pour les coop�ratives. C'�tait le sujet du Congr�s sur la transmission d'entreprises aux employ�s du 11 au 13 octobre 2011 � Qu�bec, organis� par la F�d�ration canadienne des coop�ratives de travail et le R�SEAU de la coop�ration du travail du Qu�bec. Plus English Translation

Business Succession and Employee Ownership Conference Review

Business Succession Strategies

CWCF President Alain Bridault (video-Fr) and Finance Manager Peter Hough (video-Eng) spoke about the issues and challenges of business transfers in North America. Patrick Lenancker, President of the CG Scop in France informed the audience about business succession strategies to employee ownership in France (video-Fr). Marie-Claude Boisvert, Chief Operating Officer of Desjardins Venture Capital was the banquet keynote speaker (video-Fr). Mario H�bert, Communications and Research Director at Fondaction (video-Fr), Hazel Corcoran, Executive Director of CWCF (video-Eng), F�lice Scalvini, Co-president of Cooperatives Europe (video-Fr) and H�l�ne Simard, Executive Director of the CQCM (video-Fr) provided the analysis of the results of the conference. Click for more conference videos and Powerpoints Eng/Fr

North American Worker Co-operative Conference Review


CICOPA-North America was officially launched (video). R�jean Lantagne, the Canadian Representative to ICA-Americas, spoke about the occasion (video-Fr). Bruno Roelants, General Secretary of CICOPA, provided a summary of the worker co-op movements around the world (video-Fr). Jos� Orbaiceta (pictured), President of FECOOTRA, spoke about the worker co-op movement in Argentina (video-Sp/Eng), while Mikel Lezamiz, Director of Co-operative Dissemination spoke about Mondragon in Spain (video-Eng), Patrick Lenancker about France (video-Fr), and F�lice Scalvini about Italy (video-Fr). Bruno Blais of La Barberie was a keynote speaker (video-Fr). Alain Bridault helped provide the synthesis of the conference results (video-Fr). Click here for more videos and Powerpoints Eng/Fr.
Closing Conference Remarks - Building Human Beings Who Can Co-operate

US FWC President Rebecca Kemble said that our dominant economic system is not meeting the needs of people. We have to figure out how to meet these needs ourselves. Democracy, organizing the voices of  members is hard work. In the Quebec Declaration we have outlined what we have in common. When we are having differences, we need to go back to the Declaration. We are here to build up the institutions and businesses that meet the needs of people, the people who built these enterprises. If we want to work together we need to build trust with each other and assume the goodwill of your partners. Out of solidarity, we have the will to work across our cultural differences, across our language differences, across our geographic differences. We are not building co-operatives, we are building human beings who can co-operate. More (video-Eng)

CWCF AGM - Summary

2011 AGM

CWCF would like to congratulate Claude Jourdain for being newly elected to the Board as an at-large member. Incumbent Reba Plummer is now the Ontario regional director, while incumbent Eric Tusz-King remains the Atlantic regional director. CWCF Executive director Hazel Corcoran presented the new 3-Year Strategic Plan, which was approved by the membership. In addition, the membership approved the Quebec Declaration. Hazel thanked bookkeeper Lori Hough, who will soon retire, for her 11 years at CWCF. Until two years ago, Lori was also the conference administrator. CWCF Finance Manager Peter Hough thanked Colin MacDougall for his time on the Board and committees. Next year's conference will be in Guelph or Hamilton, Ontario. Click to see the videos of the AGM (Video-Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).

La Siembra's Colin MacDougall Steps Down from CWCF Board of Directors

Colin MacDougall

Colin got involved in CWCF in 2004 when he accepted the CWCF's volunteer Youth Advisor position. He joined the CWCF Board in 2007 and eventually became Treasurer. As Youth Advisor, Director and Treasurer, Colin provided valuable input into the current and future direction of CWCF. Recently he had joined the Tenacity Works Fund Investment Committee. At CWCF's annual conferences, Colin was well known not only for facilitating and translating in workshops, but also for leading group web karaoke sessions in the evenings with his great voice and acoustic guitar. In 2002, Colin joined La Siembra as a salesperson and later became the Finance Manager. After 10 years, Colin has decided to leave La Siembra to take a position at the Agency for Co-operative Housing. CWCF would like to thank Colin for his many contributions, and wish him all the best in the future!

Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! - Keynote October 14, 2011

Goodman, Amy

Independent media is dangerous. It allows people to speak for themselves, from their own experience. It brings down the stereotypes and caricatures that fuel for the hate groups that threaten all of our societies. We need a media that expresses the voice of the grassroots. Our purpose is to pull back the curtain to show the realities of war and other injustices. We must show the images of war to say that war does not belong in the 21st century. The Hippocratic Oath of the media today should be "We will not be silent." All we get from the media is static, that veil of distortion, lies, misrepresentations and half-truths. What we need is the dictionary definition of static - criticism, opposition, unwanted interference. We need a media that covers power, that does not cover for power. We need a media that covers movements that create static and make history, like your movement (video-Part1/Part2).

Conference Listener - Yilda Campos, Rainbow Grocery (San Francisco) 

Yilda CamposI am deeply honoured to have been a part of this historic event. I recognize the dedication and commitment that we have not only for the greater movement, but also for the work we do and the way we choose to do it, which is co-operatively. Working in a worker co-operative has helped me to live my own mission, which is to live happily and healthily. I finished college, but didn't do anything I was supposed to do with it. It is hard to explain that to your family. My history of work left me somewhat discriminated against because of the way I looked. Working in a co-operative has made the work I do, the way I do it, and hopefully all those I do it with, have a different life. I hope everyone I have come across has had a glimpse of being a little bit happier and has been less stressed out. When we come together, we do work co-operatively if we actually open ourselves up to learning from each other and trying to understand, in a respectful manner. I hope we can keep doing this together. I hope we will keep the links alive and share information, I believe that is how we will make the work a better place (video-Eng).

Conference Listener - Bruno Roelants, CICOPA (Brussels)

La version originale est en fran�ais. Pour le regarder, cliquer sur Video-Fr. First of all, this event has been a very important founding event, the launch of a North America-wide organization of worker co-operatives. It will be important for CICOPA-North America to soon create strategic plans, to create a work plan, outside of the context of conferences. In terms of timing, we need to try to give more time to various aspects that merit more: e.g. more than 12 minutes in plenary for the Mondragon experience. It would have been better to have fewer workshops - allowing more people in each. We should have had a system of reporting by secretaries in each workshop, in order to accumulate the knowledge. We have had enough content here to write a book, or at least enough for a significant document that would be the basis of a lobby. In closing, the Conference was very rewarding. I wish to thank all of you, not just the organizers, but all. I also bring you the greetings from the CICOPA President, Javier Salaberria and from the rest of the worker co-op movement around the world. (video-Fr

Conference Listener - Jocelyn Lessard, FQCF (Quebec)

La version originale est en fran�ais. Pour le regarder, cliquer sur Video-Fr. I met some incredible people. The values are vibrating here; we are in the values of worker co-operation. We just saw a great example of that in the words of Yilda Campos. Unfortunately, elsewhere the intensity of the vibration is not always the same. I also want to emphasize that the person we have chosen to represent us as President of CICOPA-North America, Rebecca Kemble, constantly touched me with the intensity of her convictions and with the profundity of her analysis. I can assure you that in Quebec, we will get involved in the proposed Task Force and hope that the same thing will happen everywhere. The example of our action on Thursday evening: that tells you what we are. We had just created CICOPA-North America, and the very first thing we did was to pass the hat - to send our representative to the international meeting of CICOPA. It was a very good signal. That's the first step, to find resources. It's not easy, but now that we have the conviction, we will be able to succeed. (video-Fr)

Conference Feedback - Louise Champagne, Neechi Foods Co-op (Winnipeg)

Louise ChampagneI appreciated the international flavour of the conference and the French language. I would like to see more Aboriginal people here and the acknowledgement that we are all on Aboriginal land. The major challenge is to build social relationships amongst our members and outside our co-ops. I want to see us build commercial businesses, but to make them qualitatively different by nurturing ourselves, our communities and our world in that context. The big questions are what are those people challenges that we face everyday and how are people dealing with them? We can't expect to come here and expect people to tell us how to do that. We have to make it up as we go along and find solutions that respect people. At conferences like this we can ask people how others have dealt with these issues. Our responsibility is to cultivate hope. That is the movement that I want to be a part of. (video-Eng) 

Conference Feedback - Annanda de Silva, Come As You Are (Toronto)

Annanda de Silva

Annanda de Silva is from Come As Your Are Worker Co-op (CAYA) sex shop in Toronto. I appreciated the opportunity to come to the conference because I am a very new member-owner. Since CAYA is so busy, there is not much time to connect with other co-ops. This conference allowed me the opportunity to do this and meet a lot of new friends. I was inspired to learn new techniques to apply to the day-to-day practical life of working in a worker co-op. I am planning to bring all this home to CAYA and fire everyone up. Thanks to all those who helped make me  feel like that.(video-Eng)
Conference Feedback - Jennifer Williams, La Siembra (Ottawa)

Jennifer Williams

I really appreciated the opportunity to be a part of this historic moment. It is a really great coming together of cultures and co-ops. As for feedback for next year, there is a plurality of voices in this room that are not heard. There are a lot of people here with a lot of experience that were not heard. If we are actually going to build a movement, then every single one of those voices has to be heard. We don't even know who we are. We have not introduced ourselves to each other. My challenge to the organizers is to remember who your audience is and make sure their voices are heard, to make sure you create the space, give the space to allow people to get to know each other. (video-Eng)

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:


David Wilson
Editor of CWCF Newsletter