Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation

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

October 2014
Vol 6, Issue 9



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 CWCF News
Our Conference is almost here! Registration deadline is Oct. 27th. This newsletter provides an update to the increasingly exciting Program. Note also that we are posting CWCF AGM information on our website.  And, we have changed our newsletter format, making it shorter &  focused on CWCF  or high-level worker co-op movement news. Tell us what you think!

2014 Membership Survey

CWCF's membership survey is complete.  We spoke to about half of our members. Based on the feedback, we launched  a series of member listservs with specific topics including; marketing, member development/engagement, financial, general and one for managers and coordinators. We hope these will connect members and help them share information and expertise.  (If you would like to join one of these and you're not on, please write to: Kaye Grant,  A report based on the member survey will be presented at the CWCF AGM.
In This Issue
2014 CWCF-CoopZone Conference
The International Summit of Co-operatives 2014
Winnipeg Worker Co-ops Host International Worker Co-operative Guests
CICOPA Report: Cooperatives and Employment: a global report
Co-operative Enterprises for Job Creation & Business Development
Nouveau livre sur les coopératives de travailleurs et le développement économique régional
Co-op Profile: CoSte
 2014 CWCF-CoopZone Conference

Annapolis Valley in the fall. 
Co-operative Collaborations: Member Engagement and External Partnerships


Wolfville, Nova Scotia

November 6 - 8, 2014, with optional events in the evening of November 5th  

Click here to register   


Our 2014 CWCF-CoopZone Conference is fast approaching, and there are already about 75 people registered or confirmed. A reminder: the registration deadline is Monday, Oct. 27th.  Our Conference Committee has been working to produce a quality program; some new additions include:



Worker Co-op Movie Night (Pre-Conference), Wednesday evening, November 5th, 7:30 pm:

The film Capitalism A love Story ; following the film there will be brief discussion by two people who are featured in the film:  US FWC President Rebecca Kemble and Tom Webb, past staff, St. Mary's University MMCCU program. See the movie trailer here 


 Note that this is in addition to the already confirmed session on Selling a Business to the Employees, with CWCF Financial Officer Peter Hough and members of Careforce Home Care Worker Co-op, a co-op which resulted from a worker buy-out as a co-operative.   


Thursday evening is the Worker Co-op Showcase (NOTE: this evening session is free as a stand-alone session & open to those in the local community:


Ignite Session

Our IGNITE presentations are back! There will be some on Thursday morning and others in the evening. Our presenters are busy preparing their 5-minute presentations. Click here to see some IGNITE presentations from last year. So far we have the following presenters confirmed:

    • Andrea Woolaver, Just Us Coffee Roasters, Grand Pre, NS
    • Kelly Story, La Siembra, Ottawa
    • Tommy Allen, Urban Eatin' Garderners' Worker Co-op, Winnipeg
    • Victor Das, Unite Digital Marketing Co-op, Saskatoon
    • Rebecca Kemble, Union Cab, Madison, WI
    • Jessica Provencher, La Barberie, Quebec City
    • Jamie Campbell, presenting on the AZone, Winnipeg
    • Yuill Herbert, Sustainability Solutions Group, national
    • David Daughton, Developer, PEI
    • Justin Ellerby, about Ecological sustainability in WC's, Sydney, NS
    • Dr. Colette Oseen, about  women's participation in the work force in the Argentinian worker co-op movement, Edmonton, and
    • Both CWCF (Hazel Corcoran, Calgary) and CoopZone (Jill Kelly, President, and Kevin Harding, Board member - both of Vancouver) will present

 Book launch by St. Mary's University Professor Sonja Novkovic and past St. Mary's staff member Tom Webb (editors): Co-operatives in a Post-Growth Era: Creating Co-operative Economics.  



CWCF AGM - November 6 - 8, 2014 Wolfville, NS   

CWCF logo

Along with the CWCF-CoopZone Conference, CWCF will hold its AGM. Everyone can access the pertinent documents here on our website.  Please note that we will be adding new documents up to November 2, 2014 so please check back after that to make sure you have reviewed everything you will need to fully participate in the meeting. (Those with a voting membership include member worker co-ops ("Regular Members"), and on a different delegate basis: Regional Federation members, Associate members, and Worker Co-op Developer members.  CoopZone members have the right to be CWCF members with no additional dues; note that there are 5 votes for the developer members' voting class, as chosen in advance by those who are registered by the Conference registration deadline.) 



Here is the AGM schedule:

Part 1: Thursday, November 6th 10:00 am> Reports by Executive Director - Hazel Corcoran, President - Alain Bridault, & Regional directors; Including a report on What is Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada? And how can we work together to build the movement?
Part 2: Thursday, November 6th 1:00 pm> Financial Statements and Budget

Part 3: Saturday, November 8th, 11:00 am> Nominations/ director elections, resolutions including the Strategic Plan and Indivisible Reserves, and other business.  


Note that there are two board seats up for election: the Atlantic seat and one at-large seat.  To date there are two candidates, Eric Tusz-King and Alain Bridault, both of whom are incumbents.  If you are interested in running for the Board or nominating another person, please contact Nominations Committee members Yuill Herbert ( and/or Jessica Provencher,  Nominations remain open until immediately prior to the vote.      



The International Summit of Co-operatives 2014, and the Worker Co-operative Gathering at the Summit
Isabel Faubert-Mailloux of the RESEAU, at the International WC Gathering 

My take on the Summit & the International Gathering of Worker Co-operators 

By Hazel Corcoran, CWCF Executive Director


There is a series of intersecting crises today, of an environmental, social and economic nature, and I believe that the co-operative model, practiced fully, is the best hope for the human race. There were some sessions at the Quebec International Summit which made this apparent, notably the powerful speech by Jeffrey Sachs, which was a wake-up call to all co-operativists who care about the environment - which I hope is all of us.  In summary (quoting the October 15th International Summit newsletter), "With some 3,000 attendees from 93 countries, 211 speakers, seven round tables, 22 forums, 26 newly presented studies, 55 Rendez-vous, an international exhibition, and social media reach to an audience of nearly 4 million, the 2014 International Summit of Cooperatives was a success right down the line."  Check out the "In the News" Summit summary.  (This is a video gallery.)  It was a phenomenal gathering, and one which has the ability to capture significant media attention --at least in the francophone press -- something which is desperately needed and very important or the co-operative movement.  


A speaker at the first edition of the Quebec Summit had stated that we need a "co-operative revolution"- this is still, plainly true and the Summit helps.  I would say that we also need a revolution inside the co-operative movement, as in some corners of the co-op movement, people no longer recognize the fundamental difference between a co-operative and a conventional business; those of us who do need to help it re-connect those people to our co-operative roots: the values and principles. and the responsiveness to human need which is at the heart of co-operation.   


Fortunately, the Young Leaders delegation had a group which drafted a Declaration, complementary to the main Summit Declaration, which does exactly that.  They are asking for comments and signatories, by both individuals and organizations.  See:  Further, re: the main International Summit Declaration, quoting the Summit site, "In light of the discussions held during the 2014 International Summit of Cooperatives, the participants declare the following: We need more, stronger, innovative and influential cooperatives that commit to ensuring food security, continue their role as creators of wealth and jobs and step up their efforts to improve access to health care and services. Download the Draft Declaration. Your comments can be sent by email until October 31, 2014."   I encourage everyone to give comments on both the main Summit Declaration, and the Young Leaders' Declaration, as well as to sign the latter; no signatures are sought on the former.  


International Gathering of Worker Co-operatives 2014   


At the Gathering of Worker Co-operatives, hosted by CWCF and the R�seau with participation of CICOPA on Oct. 6th as part of the Summit, we saw the strength and power of the worker co-operative model around the world where the co-operative values resonate strongly. We heard about the explosive growth of the model around the world, at least where favourable conditions including co-op-supportive public policy are in place, e.g., in Argentina. We also learned about the strength and power in the Mondragon Co-operative Corporation, with the tagline "Humanity at Work"- which they live. We learned that the worker co-op movement is seeing explosive growth in many countries and is the fastest growing form of co-operative.


The afternoon open space sessions provided opportunities for discussing Self-Management: Ways to Organize to Favour Active Participation; How to Survive the Departure of a Co-op's Founders; Inter-cooperative Business Partnerships, and Business Succession to Worker Co-ops. There were about 80 people present, many from worker co-operators in Quebec who came in just for the day, with presence from: the rest of Canada, the US, Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Mondragon Spain, Scotland, France, Belgium, Poland, Korea and China. Many great connections were made, and it is hoped that the networking among worker co-operators from various parts of the world can continue, through connections within our federations and within CICOPA and its regional affiliates.  I would like to highlight the fact that this session was free for all members of CWCF, our member Regional Federations in Quebec and other WC federations, thanks to the generosity of the Summit in providing the space without cost, and the generous sponsors:  Fondaction, MCE Conseils and the Caisse Solidaire. (Thank you!)

I saw that the sense of community in the worldwide movement of worker co-operators and co-op developers, united under the banner of CICOPA, is incredibly powerful. Several people commented that the highlight of this 3,000-person (+) Summit with a $12 million budget was either the International Worker Co-op day on Monday, or else the lunches for CICOPA-Americas, or the gala dinner for CICOPA-World, was a major highlight for them. At the Summit's closing Gala Dinner, I witnessed worker co-op activists and developers in intense discussions in small groups, in some cases so absorbed in conversation that they ignored Cirque du soleil, five duelling grand pianos, and/or a phenomenal performance by Gregory Charles with 1000 or more people dancing. I found myself among them at times, as we were all very keen to share experiences and plans. Then we sort of all said, "wait, if I can't dance I don't want to be part of your revolution!" I think everyone present realized the truth in that famous sentence by the end of that particular evening, which was quite incredible for on a variety of levels.  By the end, virtually everyone was on the dance floor.    

In closing, I believe it was very important that this second International Summit took place, among other reasons because it was such an extraordinary opportunity to raise the profile of the co-operative movement in the country and internationally, to mingle with people from the international co-op communities, and enable connections which would have otherwise been challenging or impossible.  Perhaps future editions could be offer a lower registration fee and/or a subsidy pool available to smaller co-ops, to enable more of them to attend.  Another appreciated improvement could be more diversity of gender, age, ethnic origin, etc. among the presenters.  However, with that being said, I am very much looking forward to the next edition and sincerely hope that more of our members will be able to attend including the free International Worker Co-op Day - which we will do a better job of organizing and promoting in advance.    


Click here to see the Summit's closing video: in less than 5 minutes, you can get a great overview of the Summit.  


For more articles and stories about the Quebec 2014 Summit by worker co-operators and co-op developers, click here.  CICOPA will also be putting out a special edition of its newsletter on the Summit in the near future. 



Winnipeg Worker Co-ops Host International Worker Co-operative Guests


Winnipeg was recently host to two important figures in the international worker co-op scene.  Bruno Roelants, the secretary general of CICOPA and Mikel, the Director of Co-operative Dissemination at the Mondragon Co-operative Corporation.  In addition to tours of the city, both dignitaries had an opportunity to network with local worker co-operators and co-op developers over lunch at Neechi Commons.  


Members met with Bruno Roelants over lunch on August 21 at Neechi Commons where Bruno shared information about CICOPA and the development and progress of Worker Cooperatives internationally, and our Winnipeg Co-ops shared information about their co-ops.  Bruno was also participated in a tour of Neechi Commons and the AZone building. where  a number of Worker-Cooperatives are located.  Members were excited to hear about the Worker Co-op movement elsewhere in the world.


Mikel spent a day in Winnipeg on October 5th where he was hosted by our Communications Manager, Kaye Grant, our Regional Director, Jamie Campbell and local Co-op Developer. Marty Donkervoort.  Arctic Co-ops Ltd. provided a presentation and background on their organization in the morning. It was interesting to hear about the differences between the Arctic Co-op and the worker co-op models. It led to an interesting dialogue.Russ Rothney at Neechi provided Mikel with a tour of Neechi Commons. This was followed by lunch in their restaurant with local members.  Mikel also had on site-meetings with members at Natural Cycleworks and Organic Planet worker co-ops.


We look forward to additional opportunities in future to showcase our city to such valuable and active players from the world's worker co-op community. 


CICOPA Report: Cooperatives and Employment - a global report

As reported here, co-operative employment involves at least 250 million people in the world. The report, carried out by the international worker and social co-op association CICOPA, noted that co-operatives contribute to resilient employment and a sustainable economy. To read more about the report, in the UK's Co-op News, click here.
Co-operative Enterprises for Job Creation & Business Development
The City of Madison has developed an information sheet about the benefits of worker-owned businesses.

Click here to download the information sheet

Nouveau livre sur les coop�ratives de travailleurs et le d�veloppement �conomique r�gional 

(�tats-Unis) Building Co-operative Power (BCP) pr�sente le concept de la coop�ration du travail et son histoire dans la vall�e du fleuve Connecticut. Ce livre se veut un guide et une source d'inspiration pour l'�mergence de coop�ratives de travailleurs aux �tats-Unis. Clique Ici pour livre  





Co-op Profile: CoSte 

CWCF recently had the opportunity to connect with a unique co-op in Quebec which was profiled in CICOPA's #1coop1week promotion.  Coste is a co-operative for sustainable tourism on the far Northern coastline of Quebec.





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