Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation

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

November/December 2014
Vol 6, Issue 10



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Here is what some of the participant's at our recent Conference had to say.

"As a first time attendee, the Conference gave me some valuable insight into the workings of the CWCF and the Canadian worker co-op movement. It was nice to meet members from co-ops across the country. The workshops were interesting and informative. I gained a lot from the whole experience." 


 Eoin McGuinnes, Urbane Cycle, Toronto


"I very much appreciated: 1. The opportunity to learn so much, both theoretical and practical, and hear from so many activists. 2. Seeing the number of younger people (under 50) and young people (under 35) who are active and who are so very knowledgeable about worker co-ops. 3. Jos�'s speech and talks were so uplifting and promising."


Ron Stockton, CoopZone Legal Network, NS 



In This Issue
Conference Impressions from the Canadian Publishers Co-operative (The Canadian Co-operator)
2014 CWCF-CoopZone Conference
Le congrès annuel de la FCCT et de CoopZone
Conference Reflections
Welcome to our intern, Jess Noriega-Lessard
National Co-op Challenge Winners
Closing the Inequality Gap
Worker Co-op Index 2.0: Free trial usage available to some co-ops
Canada's Emerging Co-operators (CEC)
Worker Co-op Bringing Textile Manufacturing Back
Bringing Co-operation to the Academy
The Digital Co-operative Report 2014
Ian MacPherson Legacy Fund
New Co-operative Related Books
CWCF Conference Impressions - from the Canadian Publishers Co-operative  
Written by Milaine Robichaud and Martyne Serry, Canadian Publishers Co-operative


 As fairly new members of the Canadian Cooperator's team, we arrived at the 2014 CWCF CoopZone Conference in Wolfville, Nova Scotia with a general idea of the co-operative movement, and what it stood for. Little did we know, the opportunity to attend this weekend-long event would leave us with much more than notes and story ideas for our next issue.  


 Hearing the success stories of motivated and determined people that work together, with the common goal of keeping communities together, truly makes you appreciate and acknowledge the potential of the co-operative model of business that is too often misunderstood.


Getting to experience first-hand this kind of event with people who are genuinely having fun and enjoying what they do every day, was inspiring. Attending various meetings, sessions and forums made it very clear that the topics were all very pertinent, revealing common interests and challenges that sparked group discussions and ignited the regional caucuses and the developers' caucus.  


The 2014 CWCF CoopZone conference was overall educational, thought-provoking and motivational for both of us.  



Note: "Milaine Robichaud and Martyne Serry represented Canadian Publishers Co-operative and our flagship publication at their first-ever co-operative conference. We thank the CWCF team and delegates for being so warm and welcoming to Milaine and Martyne and making such a favourable impression on these future co-op leaders." -Rayanne Brennan, Manager, Editor.



En tant que nouvelles membres de l'�quipe du Coop�rateur, nous sommes tr�s fi�res d'avoir eu l'opportunit� d'assister � la conf�rence FCCT - CoopZone 2014 � Wolfville, en Nouvelle-�cosse. � la fin de cette fin de semaine charg�e d'activit�s, de forums et des discussions enrichissantes, nous avons repris la route vers le Nouveau-Brunswick avec beaucoup plus que des notes et des id�es d'histoires pour notre prochaine �dition du magazine.


Entendre les histoires � succ�s des gens motiv�es et d�termin�es vous fait reconna�tre et appr�cier un mod�le d'entreprise qui maintient les communaut�s, dont le potentiel est trop souvent sous-estim�.  


C'�tait impressionnant de voir des participants venus d'un bout � l'autre du pays, repr�sentant toute sorte de diff�rentes coop�ratives, mais tous �galement passionn�s par leurs travaux de tous les jours. M�me s'ils venaient de diff�rents secteurs, les int�r�ts et les d�fis communs ont enflamm� les caucus r�gionnaux et des d�veloppeurs.  


La conf�rence CWCF CoopZone 2014 a �t�, en r�sum�, tr�s �ducative, et inspirante.

-Milaine et Martyne


 2014 CWCF-CoopZone Conference,
by Kaye Grant, CWCF
2014 CWCF conference
2014 CWCF-CoopZone Conference Group 

Key highlights of the Conference included Worker Co-op Showcase Ignite presentations, presentations and discussion on the Indivisible Reserve and the new CWCF strategic plan, and sessions on Worker Co-op Member Engagement and Recruitment and Evaluation in a Worker Co-op. There were several workshops on topics of practical interest to worker co-ops and developers.


This year the CWCF Merit Award was presented posthumously to Kevin Thompson. The Merit Award recognizes outstanding contributions to the worker cooperative movement. The Merit Award is thus presented to someone who has made a particularly special contribution in the midst of a community of leaders, pioneers and inspirational people.  In 2000, Kevin, along with friend and business partner Jeff de Jong, assumed responsibility for La Siembra Worker Cooperative as a small fair trade and organic chocolate company and helped develop the cooperative as a national brand. Kevin had an unwavering commitment to the fair trade, organic and co-operative movements and was dedicated to building a successful business without compromising its values and commitment to community, relationships and fairness. Receiving the award on behalf of Kevin and his family was  

Colin MacDougall receiving award on behalf of Kevin and family.
past CWCF Director, Colin MacDougall. In  accepting this award Colin noted:"I'm not the first to note the irony of singling out and honouring an individual for work in a sector that has collective success at the core of its purpose. But I think that this merit award is actually quite important; and I think that the CWCF presenting it to someone like Kevin is very powerful. It speaks to perhaps the most important lessons I learned from Kevin in my years working with him:
  • -Strong individual leadership has a very important & necessary place within collectively run organizations.
  • -Democratic processes are not antithetical to individual accountability. In fact, without the latter, the former simply doesn't work.
  • -And, it takes a special kind of leader indeed to recognize this and to bring their individual strength and vision into a collective, pool it with other individuals' strengths and visions, and create something that is better. 
    Kevin was, in all respects, this type of special leader."


Lori Given receives award on behalf of Careforce from CWCF's Peter Hough

Careforce Worker Co-operative was awarded the Worker Co-op Best Practices Award for its Co-op Orientation Program. Their program involves all workers and helps engage both members and workers in co-op values, and in understanding worker co-ops in general, and Careforce in particular.  Joel Stoddart, Business Development Manager at Carefore, said that "Careforce is honoured to win the CWCF Best Practices award. Winning this award helps to validate our efforts to educate our employees in the ins and outs of worker co-ops. Even if some of our trainees ultimately choose not to become co-op members, we are proud to have empowered them to make an informed decision."Click here to read more from Careforce.


Peter Hough, who will retire at the end of February and was thus at his last CWCF AGM in a staff role, was also honoured - with very appreciative comments from Marty Frost, Mark Goldblatt and Hazel Corcoran (Executive Director for CWCF), as well as a parting gift.  


At the AGM, four resolutions were passed, notably a resolution redirecting investments to zero carbon and co-operative investments. These resolutions, plus the 2014 Annual Report and other Conference documents are here: .


Two Board members, both incumbents, were acclaimed: Atlantic Director, Eric Tusz-King, of EnerGreen Builders' Co-op in New Brunswick and at-large Director, Alain Bridault of Orion Co-op in Quebec City.


Continuing Board members include Ontario Director, Reba Plummer of the Urbane Cyclist (Toronto, ON), Quebec Director, Jessica Provencher, La Barberie (Quebec City, QC), Prairies, NWT/NU Director Jamie Campbell of ParIT (Winnipeg, MB), At-large Director Yuill Herbert of Sustainability Solutions Group (Tatamagouche, NS) and British Columbia/Yukon Director, Stephen Elliot-Buckley, of Incipe Cooperative (Burnaby, BC).

The CWCF Conference had the theme "Co-operative Collaborations: Member Engagement and External Partnerships". Sessions focused around keeping members engaged within their own worker co-op, providing evaluation and recruitment within a worker co-op and providing clear worker guidelines in order to strengthen worker co-ops. Keynote speaker, Jos� Orbaiceta, President, CICOPA-Mercosur, Argentina, shared his experiences on Building the Worker Co-op Movement in Argentina. Many participants said they found his presentation especially inspiring and powerful.


More information on the CWCF-CoopZone Conference is available on the CWCF site. PowerPoint presentations and other related information is being posted to the website as it becomes available.


Le congr�s annuel de la F�d�ration canadienne des coop�ratives de travail (FCCT) et de CoopZone 2014, par Kaye Grant, FCCT
2014 CWCF conference

Le congr�s annuel de la F�d�ration canadienne des coop�ratives de travail (FCCT) et de CoopZone s'est d�roul� du 5 au 8 novembre � Wolfville en Nouvelle-�cosse.


Les faits marquants incluyaient les pr�sentations des coop�rative Ignite, les pr�sentations et les discussions sur la r�serve impartageable et le nouveau plan strat�gique de la FCCT, et aussi des sessions sur l'engagement, le recrutement et l'�valuation dans les coop�ratives de travail. Il y avait plusieurs ateliers sur des sujets d'int�r�t commun pour les coop�ratives de travail et aussi sur le d�veloppement coop�ratif.


Marty Frost

Cette ann�e, l'Ordre de m�rite de la FCCT a �t� pr�sent�e � Kevin Thompson, � titre posthume. La distinction reconna�t les contributions exceptionnelles au mouvement des coop�ratives de travail. Elle est donc pr�sent�e � quelqu'un qui a fait une contribution particuli�rement sp�ciale dans un milieu communautaire de leaders et de pionniers. En 2000, Kevin et son partenaire d'affaires, Jeff de Jong, ont pris la responsabilit� de travailler � La Siembra, une coop�rative de commerce �quitable et de chocolat biologique. Ils ont aid� � d�velopper la coop�rative pour en faire une marque nationale. Kevin avait un engagement ind�fectible et �tait d�di� au commerce �quitable et biologique, et au mouvement coop�ratif. Il a contribu� son temps � b�tir une entreprise prosp�re sans compromettre ses valeurs et son engagement envers la communaut�, les relations et l'�quit�. Kevin et sa famille ont re�u l'Ordre de m�rite de la part de Colin MacDougall. En acceptant le prix pour la famille de Kevin, Colin mentionne:


"Je ne suis pas le premier � remarquer l'ironie d'honorer et de s�lectionner qu'un seul individu pour son travail dans un secteur qui a le succ�s collectif comme objectif. Cependant, je crois que cette r�compense de distinction de m�rite est tr�s importante et le fait que la FCCT la pr�sente � quelqu'un comme Kevin, est tr�s important. La distinction repr�sente les le�ons les plus importantes que j'ai apprises de Kevin au cours de mes ann�es de travail avec lui:

- Le leadership individuel a une place tr�s importante et n�cessaire au sein des organisations g�r�es collectivement.

- Les processus d�mocratiques ne s'opposent pas � la responsabilit� individuelle. En effet, sans le dernier, le pr�c�dent ne fonctionne pas.

- Et il faut un leader sp�cial qui reconna�t ceci et apporte sa force individuelle et sa vision dans un groupe collectif au sein duquel des individus ayant des habilet�s et des visions en commun, cr�ent quelque chose de mieux.


� tous les �gards, Kevin est donc ce type de leader tr�s sp�cial.


La coop�rative de travail Careforce a re�u une distinction pour la meilleure pratique d'une coop�rative de travail, pour son programme d'orientation, lequel implique les travailleurs et aide ses membres � maintenir leurs valeurs coop�ratives. Joel Stoddart, le directeur du d�veloppement d'entreprises � Carefore a d�clar� que "Careforce se sent honor� de gagner la distinction pour ses meilleures pratiques, au sein de la FCCT. Cette distinction nous aide � prouver nos efforts et � �duquer nos employ�s dans les tenants et les aboutissants des coop�ratives de travail. M�me si certains de nos employ�(e)s ont d�cid� de ne pas devenir membres de la coop�rative, nous sommes fiers de leur avoir donn� le pouvoir de prendre une d�cision �clair�e." Cliquez ici pour lire la suite sur Careforce:


Peter Hough va prendre sa retraite � la fin f�vrier et a donc assist� a sa derni�re AGA de la FCCT en tant que membre du personnel. Il a �t� honor� au sein et grandement appr�ci� dans des remarques par Marty Frost, Mark Goldblatt et Hazel Corcoran (directrice g�n�rale de la FCCT). Tous ont partag� leurs commentaires d'appr�ciation, et lui ont pr�sent� un cadeau d'adieu.



Quatre r�solutions ont �t� apport�es � l'AGA, une pour la r�acheminement d'investissements de z�ro carbone et de coop�ratives. Ces r�solutions, le rapport annuel de 2014 et les documents des autres conf�rences sont ici:

Jamie Campbell 


Deux membres du conseil ont �t� acclam�s : l'administrateur de l'Atlantique, Eric Tusz-King d'EnerGreen Builders' Co-op au Nouveau Brunswick et l'administrateur Alain Bridault de la Coop Orion � Qu�bec.


Les membres du CA qui continues incluent l'administratrice d'Ontario, Reba Plummer d'Urbane Cyclistl'administratrice du Qu�bec, Jessica Provencher de La Barberie (Qu�bec, QC), l'administrateur des prairies/Territoires du Nord-Ouest/Nunavut, Jamie Campbell du ParIT (Winnipeg, MB), l'administrateur sans r�gion, Yuill Herbert of Sustainability Solutions Group(Tatamagouche, NS) et l'administrateur le la Colombie-Britannique/Yukon, Stephen Elliot-Buckley de l'Incipe Cooperative (Burnaby, BC).


Jos� Orbaiceta

La conf�rence de la FCCT avait le th�me "Collaborations coop�ratives: l'engagement des membres et le partenariats externes". Ces sessions tenaient � engager les membres dans leur propre coop�rative de travail en fournissant l'�valuation et le recrutement et en pourvoyant des guides qui fortifieraient la coop�rative de travail. Jos� Orbaiceta, le conf�rencier principal et pr�sident de CICOPA-Mercosur en Argentine, a partag� ses exp�riences sur le renforcement du mouvement des coop�ratives de travail en Argentine. De nombreux participants ont d�clar� avoir trouv� sa pr�sentation puissante et inspirante.


Plus d'informations sur la conf�rence FCCT-CoopZone, r�f�rez-vous sur le site de la FCCT: Les pr�sentations PowerPoint et d'autres informations en profondeur seront affich�s sur le site web bient�t.



CWCF Conference Reflections    

By Kathy Day, Just Us! Coffee Roasters Co-op, NS


Many of us attended our first CWCF Conference this year (Nov. 5-8) as we were lucky to have it take place right in the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia, where my co-op, Just Us Coffee Roasters, is located. Because it was so close, we actually had 11 participants this year. For some, this was their first conference and others have attended the conference many times, but this was the first time we had the opportunity to act as the local welcoming committee.


The theme of the conference was Co-operative Collaborations: Member Engagement and External Partnerships. Collaboration / forming external partnerships was certainly apparent as this was a rare chance to connect to other worker co-ops in Canada, and in this instance also internationally. Special guests for the conference included Jos� Orbaiceta and Dario Farcy from Argentina and Rebecca Kemble from the US (Madison, Wisconsin), who are internationally recognized experts in worker co-ops, and Kristen Barker, of the Union Worker Co-op Initiative from Cincinnati, Ohio.


There were many sessions to choose from. I wanted to take them all in, but as they were scheduled concurrently; choices had to be made. Areas of interest for me included decision making, participatory management and unions and worker co-ops, all very topical issues for our Co-op. The presenters were excellent and I particularly enjoyed presentations by Rebecca Kemble as she described the structure of the large Union Cab Co-op in Madison.   Jessica Provencher, had just started at la Barberie in Quebec when I last met her 3 years ago, and her passion and enthusiasm at this year's Conference were infectious.   Ryszard Stocki, lead developer of the Co-op Index from Poland, spoke about his work on version two of the Co-op Index and it was of particular interest to our Co-op, having completed two earlier versions of the Index tool already.


Some of the most valuable moments of the conference happened over a meal or a break, when we all had the chance to speak informally and compare our unique co-ops. It was so great to connect with the large group locally from Careforce Homecare Worker Co-op, and see the many things we share. Co-ops are truly an interesting model for business that I will never tire of learning about. I believe it is through sharing at experiences like this conference that the worker co-op model will grow and thrive.



Welcome Jess Noriega-Lessard, CWCF's New Intern


CWCF was recently approved by ACCA for an internship.  Jessica (Jess) Noriega-Lessard was hired for this position in late November.  She is a web developer/ graphic artist &  fluently trilingual in English, French and Spanish. Her language abilities acquired because her mother is from Sept-iles, Quebec and her dad from Mexico, and she was raised in Calgary / Montreal).  She will be working for CWCF for the next four months. Her focus will be web site maintenance and re-design and also translation / language support work, but she will also be a general administrative helper.  We are very excited about this.  Welcome Jess!  Thanks to ACCA for providing the internship support.  Jess is working out of our Calgary office and may be contacted at:, or 403-276-8250403-276-8250.



Worker Co-ops Win The National Co-op Challenge Challenge!
Congratulations to  Urban Eatin' Gardeners Worker Co-operative Ltd. (Winnipeg, MB) and also to
Glorious Organics Workers Co-operative (Aldergrove, BC) who are the West Regional winners.

Here is what our member Urban Eatin' had to say about this:

"Well, the
final winners from each region have been announced, and we are more than unspeakably overjoyed to announce that Urban Eatin' has been awarded the 2nd place prize of $25,000! We are looking forward to being able to carry out our goals of expanding upon our electric bike fleet as well as launching our garden maintenance and rain barrel installation program in 4 different neighbourhoods in 2015! Thank you all so much for your support!"

Glorious Organics posted a thank-you to their supporters and noted that:


"Our plan now, is to build an education centre and meeting space out of recycled and environmentally considered materials. It will have an attached (or nearby) greenhouse. Both of these structures together will give us the capacity to run spring and fall workshops for children and adults, and provide a community meeting space."


CWCF and worker co-ops across the country are grateful to The Co-operators for sponsoring this important program!   



 Closing the Inequality Gap

By Hanan El-Youssef (ICA Strategy Manager) & Yuill Herbert (CWCF Director)


Posted October 8, 2014 in Corporate Knights,

Cooperatives, by design, promote equality and shrink the gap between haves and have-nots.


 By day, cooperatives buy and sell goods and services on the same terms to the same customers as investor-owned corporations - they even pursue profits. By night, like a vigilante, cooperatives democratically elect a board on the basis of personhood, not investment; they maintain places of business even though it may not make the most economic sense to do so; they focus on their members' needs, not their desires. Profits become a surplus for learning and research endeavours. In essence, cooperatives redefine the relationship between labour and capital, and they manifest an economic endeavour that is about collective wealth.  


Read the full article here.  



Request to Participate in the Development of Coop Index 2.0
Ryszard Stocki presented at our 2014 Conference about his work on developing the Coop Index Version 2.0.  He is requesting interested worker co-ops to participate during this development.  This is an opportunity to make use of the highly rated Worker Coop Index without any cost, preferably those in or near to Nova Scotia.  If you might be interested, please contact him at

You can see his presentation here.





Canada's Emerging Co-operators (CEC)

The CEC Committee has met over the course of the fall; it's a bilingual group of co-operators aged 35 and under. There is one member of a CWCF member on the CEC: Kevin Harding, of Incipe Co-operative in Vancouver.  CEC has created a promotional brochure for the group that was printed in time for distribution at Place Canada, at the 2014 Summit.


Preparations are well underway for the next intake of the CEC Mentorship Program. Recruitment for both mentors and mentees will take place during November 2014, with matching and orientation to the program taking place in December 2014. Mentorship relationships are scheduled to begin in January 2015 and run for six months until June 2015. To participate in the program, mentors indicate their interest in participating and any of the five program categories that they are willing to mentor in (engagement, governance, human resources, marketing, and operations). Mentees apply to the program and must indicate a project that they are working on that related to one of the five categories. Mentor/mentee pairings are then made accordingly. If you are interested in becoming a mentor or wish to pass on the information to a young professional in your organization, more information can be found at: 


Additionally the group is working to recruit new members. If you would like information on how to get involved, or on the CEC Committee selection process, please call or email Tanya Gracie, Manager of Member Engagement, extension 243 or



How a Worker Cooperative Factory is Helping Bring Textile Manufacturing Back to North Carolina

Opportunity Threads is a worker cooperative cut and sew factory in Morganton, North Carolina. Started in late 2008, it's an inspiring example of how democratic ownership in manufacturing can create jobs, empower workers, and even rebuild the value chains that sustain a community economically.  Click here to read the full interview with Molly Hemstreet of Opportunity Threads.

Bringing Cooperation to the Academy
The Student Organization for Democratic Alternatives Educates the Next Generation of Cooperators
by Alexander Kolokotronis

Developments in New York City and at CUNY


On June 28, the New York City Council passed its budget for Fiscal Year 2015. Included in it was the historic $1.2M Worker Cooperative Development Initiative. In terms of scale, the initiative is the first of its kind in the United States. The initiative's purpose is to lend support to 20 existing NYC worker cooperatives, as well as foster the creation of 28 more. To read more, click here.

The Digital Co-operative Report 2014


Digital has profoundly changed the way we communicate, create and report - and we do not know where this transformation will end. As this shift takes place, it is essential that companies in the social and solidarity economy identify the opportunities to expand their operations and activities.

This study, conducted by Olivier Frey and Co-operative News, enables us to see how co-operatives are seizing these opportunities to improve their governance practices, involving stakeholders and giving effective answers to social needs. The conclusions provide a set of concrete actions to ensure co-operatives are part of this revolution. One of the main purposes of the Cr�dit Coop�ratif Foundation is to encourage research into the social economy.This report is based on a recent study.  To read the full report, click here.  

Ian MacPherson Legacy Fund

Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) and the Canadian Association for Studies in Co-operation (CASC), has established a scholarship fund in memory of the late Ian MacPherson.

Dr. MacPherson, known internationally for his role in the 1995 revision of the cooperative principles and his work linking cooperatives to peace and social cohesion, died on November 16, 2013 at the age of 74.

As a scholar, educator and cooperative activist, Dr. MacPherson personified the relationship between Canadian cooperative academics and co-op practitioners. He served as president of both the Canadian Co-operative Association and Credit Union Central of British Columbia (now part of Central 1 Credit Union), as well as on the boards of various consumer, financial and health care co-operatives. He has written dozens of articles and books about cooperatives, including A Century of Co-operation, the commemorative book marking the 100th anniversary of Canada's organized cooperative movement in 2009.

Recognizing Dr. MacPherson's commitment to education, the purpose of the Ian MacPherson Legacy Fund is to provide university students with support for conference travel, research and engagement with the cooperative sector.

This fund hopes to raise $150,000 by January 31, 2015 and is now in the second phase of its' fundraising campaign.  To find out how you can donate, click here.



New Books Related to Co-ops 
Tom Webb

 Co-operatives in a Post-Growth Era: Creating Co-operative Economics

  St. Mary's University Professor Sonja Novkovic and past Professor Tom Webb (editors):


This book was launched at the CWCF Conference in Wolfville, NS. 

Co-published with Zed Books

ISBN: 9781552666906


September 2014





Co-operative Canada, Empowering Communities and Sustainable Businesses

Edited by Brett Fairbairn and Nora Russell

For more information, click here 



$95.00 Hardcover
Release Date: 10/20/2014
ISBN: 9780774827881      


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