Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation

 La Fédération canadienne des coopératives de travail

2016 Newsletter
Vol 8, Issue 3



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Month Year Vol 1, Issue 1
 CWCF News
CWCF's upcoming Conference
The 25th anniversary Conference is coming up fast:  Nov. 2nd - 5th.  Registration will be available soon.  For more information about our Conference, visit our website here.
 Welcome new members
Sun Certified Builders Co-operative Ltd. is a multi-stakeholder coop specialising
 in energy efficient new home construction and super insulated retrofits. They work on both residential and small commercial projects and also provide consulting services on efficient design. It's based in Winnipeg. 
Align Consulting Co-operative 
supports organisations and businesses working for a more open and optimistic society with governance, strategy, and business planning.  Align is committed to cooperative development and supporting the growth of social enterprises.  Align started humbly, meeting in the homes of its members and working in coffee shops around Saskatoon.  These members talked about wanting work that would make a difference and about the kind of community they wanted to live in, and so they built Align.
CMC Board of Directors 
Stephanie Guico, nominated by CWCF, was voted in to
the CMC Board of Directors. See her profile in the newsletter here.
Congratulations, Stephanie!
In This Issue
CWCF-CoopZone Conference 2015 - Registration Deadline / Date limite pour le Congrès 2015 FCCT-CoopZone
Member Marketplace: TWB, Kitchener
La Siembra visits Producer in Dominican Republic
CWCF Nominee Stephanie Guico Elected to CMC Board of Directors
International Worker Co-op Day : October 14, 2016
Halifax Media Co-op on indefinite hiatus
Workplace democracy for the 21st Centrury- Resource
Other Avenues Worker Cooperative: Feeding the Neighborhood
Ours to Share : Comment la propriété par les travailleurs peut changer l'économie américaine / Ours to Share: How Worker-Ownership Can Change the American Economy
Les coopératives : leaders des enterprises responsables/ Why co-ops are leaders in responsible business
Developing Brand Ambassadors & Word-of-Mouth Marketers
Film review: Solidarity Economics in Italy
The 3rd International Summit of Cooperatives 2016
World Social Forum 2016 and Global Social Economy Forum 2016 - Montreal
Solidarity Works - CWCF Celebrating 25 Years!  2016 Conference of CWCF and CoopZone / 
Le Congrès 2016 de la FCCT et de CoopZone : La Solidarité nous réussit - La FCCT célèbre 25 ans 
Vancouver Connections Committee Meeting
Date: November 3 to 5, 2016, with optional Co-op tours in the afternoon of Wednesday, November 2.
Location:   Downtown Vancouver: Vancouver Public Library, and YWCA Hotel

Highlights will include:  
-Keynote speech by Kathy Bardswick (CEO of The Co-operators, and Board member, International Co-operative Alliance)

Some of the other presenters are:
  • Rebecca Kemble (US FWC President, and City Councillor, Madison, Wisc.)
  • Jessica Gordon-Nembhard, Professor, Dept. of African American Studies, City University of New York (CUNY), and member, Grassroots Economic Organizing Collective
  • Isabel Faubert, Executive Director, Quebec WC Network / Réseau de la coopération du travail du Québec
  • Andy Broderick, VP, Impact Market Development, Vancity and Managing Director, New Market Funds 
Some of the practical training topics we'll cover are:
  • Managing the Democratic Process in a Worker Co-operative, by Alain Bridault
  • Legal Issues in Worker Co-ops, presented by lawyers Mary Childs (Vancouver) and Celia Chandler (Iler-Campbell, T.O.
  • People and co-ops: Maintaining Mutual Respect and Dignity within your Worker Co-op (new research), by Peter Hough
  • Strengthening your Co-op's Value Proposition
  • Financing Worker Co-ops 
Special celebrations are planned to celebrate CWCF's 25th anniversary!   We will look at milestones over the past 25 years for both CWCF and your co-ops; and also make plans for the next 25 years.

Registration will be open by the end of July 2016.  Our draft program is now available for viewing here

Member Marketplace: TWB
Member Profile: Together We're Bitter Brewing
Shared from Local Food Co-ops News

Together We're Bitter Brewing is a craft microbrewery located in Kitchener. They sell beer but that's not all they do - they also also try to be a place for community groups to gather, and artists and musicians to showcase their craft. This co-op is built on and for the people. They truly believe that through bringing more people into the group, it builds more value as each person brings something to the table. 

As a multi-stakeholder co-operative, with worker and community members, TWB believes that the co-op model is a form of organization that reflects their values. They also see that running a co-op is  a way to showcase that alternatives are possible  Read More.

Not just a handshake and a photo op: La Siembra Producer visit in Dominican Republic 
La Siembra  Producer visit in Dominican Republic
By Josia ne Paquet

This past April, four of La Siembra's worker-owners travelled to the region of San Cristobal in the south west of the Dominican Republic. It is a very lush area, fertile for cacao as well as tasty fruit and beautiful flowers. Poverty is very present and safety is an ongoing concern for locals as well as visitors, but the hearts of our hosts were warm and incredibly welcoming. My colleague Isabel and I were wholeheartedly received by Efrain and Dominica, in whose home we stayed for 3 days and 2 nights. Click here to read the full article. 

stephanieCWCF Nominee Stephanie Guico Elected to CMC Board of Directors
CWCF was very pleased to nominate Stephanie Guico of Montreal to the Board of Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC).  Stephanie won a 2-year term on the Board in the election held at the CMC AGM in Winnipeg this past June.  The candidate statement that she provided to CMC in her election to the Board of CMC was as follows:  "A graduate of St Mary's University MMCCU, I was Marketing Director for Montreal-based Coopérative la Maison Verte, Quebec's first multi-stakeholder co-operative, at a critical moment in its growth. My experience inspired my thesis, which assessed the impact of a multi-stakeholder governance model on business strategy and growth.

In 2009-2010, I co-managed the Co-operative Development Initiative. Working with the Desjardins Group from 2011-2013, I contributed to a number of innovative projects: increasing the inclusion of under-represented members on Desjardins' board; developing member loyalty marketing strategies across business sectors; and creating the first iteration of youth programming for the 2012 International Summit of Co-operatives.

As a consultant, I have continued to provide strategic services to co-operatives and their apex groups since 2014. Over the last two years I have worked with the New York City Worker Co-operative Coalition, to launch new cooperatives, develop a business ecosystem and draft / sponsor supportive policy at the city and state level.  Lobby and advocacy efforts helped secure a total of $3.3 million, with enhancement expected in FY2017.

I am also spokesperson for Quebec's Caisse d'économie solidaire's Placements à rendement social, a unique line of socially responsible investment products.

I am deeply committed to the development of the co-operative movement both in Canada and abroad, as I am fully trilingual (English-French-Spanish). I will continue harnessing my passion for mobilizing unlikely partners around common goals to create lasting impact in communities, primarily through co-operatives, for many years to come."

Stephanie has been close to CWCF as a past CWCF staff member, past staff member with our regional federation member, le Réseau, and currently as a member of CWCF's Worker Co-op Developers' Network, through CoopZone.  Congratulations, and thank you for agreeing to serve, Stephanie!!
International Worker Co-op Event, Quebec City, October 14, 2016  
***Le français suit***
2014 International WC Event_ at the Summit

Following the Quebec Summit 2016, there will be an International Worker Co-op Day hosted by le Réseau de la coopération du travail du Québec and the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation, "Democratizing the workplace: Innovations in collective management by employees".  A special invitation is being made to youth.  There will be optional tours in the afternoon of October 13th, a supper on October 13th, and the event will take place on October 14th.  Le Réseau has published information on it, in French, here.   We ask that you share this as widely as possible.  At the 2014 Summit, CWCF and le Réseau hosted a similar event (pictured), with about 80 people in attendance - almost half of whom were from outside Canada, including Mondragon (Spain), France, Italy, Scotland, Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Poland, Korea, and China.  The event was very well received by participants. 
***Le français***
Après le Sommet du Québec de 2016, il y aura une Journée internationale de la coopération du travail, organisé par le Réseau de la coopération du travail du Québec et de la Fédération canadienne des coopératives de travail, « Démocratiser les milieux de travail : les innovations en matière de gestion collective par les employés ». Une invitation spéciale est faite aux jeunes. Il y aura des excursions facultatives dans l'après-midi du 13 octobre, un souper le 13 octobre, et l'événement aura lieu le 14 octobre. Le Réseau a publié des informations, ici
Nous vous demandons de partager cette information dans vos réseaux.  Lors du Sommet de 2014, la FCCT et le Réseau ont organisé un événement similaire (voir la photo), avec environ 80 participants - près de la moitié d'entre eux étaient de l'extérieur du Canada, y compris Mondragon (Espagne), la France, l'Italie, l'Ecosse, l'Argentine, le Brésil, Cuba , la Pologne, la Corée et la Chine.  Les participants ont beaucoup apprécié l'occasion. 

Halifax Media Co-op on indefinite hiatus 

Since 2009 the HMC has published hundreds of grassroots news stories from Halifax and around the province. We've tried our best to help amplify underrepresented voices, focusing on Indigenous issues, voices of people in poverty, workers, queer folks, and others. 
We've done this on a yearly budget of less than half the salary of a CBC reporter. This has meant relying on a great deal of volunteer labour. Recently, several of our core volunteers have moved on to other projects, meaning that capacity to keep the co-op running functionally has dried up. 
The HMC's website will remain on-line for the time being. Anyone with an existing account may continue to post articles, blogs, news releases or events. Occasionally a volunteer editor may look over the page and choose to feature some of these posts. However, we will not be accepting any story pitches for pay. 
We thank the thousands of people who have written, read, edited, drawn, shared, liked, tweeted, advertised, donated and otherwise supported the Media Co-op over the past seven years. 
If anyone would like to become a core volunteer in order to keep the HMC running, please e-mail
Thank you,
Hillary Lindsay
Suzanne MacNeil
Moira Peters
Ben Sichel

Workplace Democracy for the 21st Century (resource)   
Workplace democracy speaks to an ever-present need to advance the fundamental rights of employees to associate freely and to have some say over business decisions that affect their lives. It also speaks to the need to respect the expertise that employees develop day in and day out on the job and, importantly, to strengthen protections and extend rights to marginalized workers who are bearing the brunt of the shift to low-wage, insecure, precarious work.

In this discussion paper, authors Rafael Gomez, Professor & Director of the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources at the University of Toronto and Juan Gomez, Senior Partner, Policy and Public Affairs at ThinkTank Toronto, offer recommendations on a path forward.

As part of the Broadbent Institute's effort to renew a national dialogue on workplace democracy, they will be publishing responses to this discussion paper from a diversity of perspectives throughout the summer. Stay tuned for responses on their blog.

Click here to download this paper.

There was a Summit on Workplace Democracy held at the Broadbent Institute in Toronto, June 16th. CWCF would like to express its appreciation to Ajamu Nangwaya for accepting our request to present on a panel there regarding workplace democracy and worker voice from the perspective of the worker co-op movement.  Toronto-based Ajamu Nangwaya, Ph.D., is an educator, writer and organizer and served on the founding board of directors of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives, as well as on the CWCF's Diversity Committee.  Thank you for presenting on the worker co-op movement, Ajamu! 

Other Avenues Worker Cooperative: Feeding the Neighborhood, Serving the community 
Other Avenues Worker Cooperative of San Francisco opened its doors in 1974 by the participants of the Food Conspiracy, a grass roots organization of food buying clubs dedicated to buying and distributing wholesale food among themselves.  Driven by the spirit of sustainable communities, the clubs expanded and opened over a dozen storefronts like Other Avenues, a large warehouse and other supporting organizations.  Collectively calling themselves "The People's Food System" with the motto "Food for people, not for profit," these stores thrived for over a decade and then faded away.  By the 1990s most of the stores had closed their doors, but Other Avenues remains open today, preserving the legacy of the People's Food System.

Other Avenues has always been called a co-op by its patrons and the Other Sunset community, however it officially incorporated as a worker-owned cooperative in 1999.  Before that period, Other Avenues functioned as a hybrid community membership co-op managed by its workers.  Presently, Other Avenues is worker-owned and only the workers are members.  Workers manage the business democratically by making business decisions using the consensus model.  They believe that it is as important to sustain a healthy democratic business as it is to nourish our bodies with healthy food. Click here to read more and view a short film about them.  
Ours to Share : Comment la propriété par les travailleurs peut changer l'économie américaine / Ours to Share: How Worker-Ownership Can Change the American Economy
***English follows***

Bulletin Veille Coop, mai, 2016, Numéro 23
Ce rapport de la Surdna Foundation pose une question clé : est-ce que les coopératives de travailleurs et les ESOP (plan d'actionnariat salarié) sont des modèles d'affaires viables qui pourraient prendre une place plus importante dans l'économie américaine? Le potentiel pour les coopératives et les ESOP de s'étendre aux États-Unis est incontestable. Ces entreprises représentent actuellement une infime fraction de l'économie globale et pourtant elles ont un impact significatif sur les travailleurs qui y participent. Ce ne sont pas toutes les cooperatives et les ESOP qui sont couronnées de succès, mais plusieurs d'entre elles ne font pas que survivre, ells prospèrent au bénéfice direct de leurs employés-propriétaires. Ce rapport énonce qu'une reconnaissance et un encadrement législatif des coopératives et la présence d'une infrastructure de soutien influencent l'endroit où ces entreprises s'implanteront ainsi que leur prospérité. Avec un soutien et des ressources adéquates, les ESOP et les coopératives de travailleurs peuvent contribuer à offrir de meilleurs emplois et une plus grande richesse aux travailleurs. De plus, la conversion en ESOP ou en coopérative d'une entreprise est un plan de relève de plus en plus populaire auprès des baby-boomers propriétaires qui prennent leur retraite.  Le rapport, en anglais, se trouve ici: 

This report is  documented by The Surdna Foundation. Ours to Share is a blueprint-a map- to a little-known but important approach to economic development that is increasingly becoming a viable market solution that can help address some of today's thorniest social and economic challenges. Worker-ownership is not an abstraction, some sort of phenomenon found only in Europe, or something that's far off in the future. In practically every major city in the country, worker ownership is ensuring quality jobs and helping to sustain communities. These are healthy American businesses where workers have a voice in everything from operations to finances. Click on the link below to download the document.  
Les coopératives : leaders des enterprises responsables   / Why co-operatives are leaders in responsible business
*English Follows**
 - Ed Mayo_ secretary general of Co-operatives UK (from Co-operative News)
Bullietn Veille Co-op, Mai, 2016, Numéro 23 
Pourquoi les coopératives sont-elles leaders en terme d'entreprises responsables? Le fait que les membres qui bénéficient des biens et services de l'entreprise en soient "propriétaires" crée un mécanisme par lequel une coopérative travaille pour les personnes qui seront les plus touchées par ses opérations et non pas contre elles. D'autre part, les coopératives agissent de façon responsable non seulement envers leurs membres, mais aussi, plus largement, envers la société. Au cours des trente dernières années, les coopératives de consommateurs du Royaume-Uni ont été les pionniers du commerce équitable. Aujourd'hui, alors que les entreprises telles que Google, Facebook, Starbuck et d'autres multinationales sont critiquées pour leurs stratégies relatives aux paiements des impôts, les coopératives ont une approche équitable et transparente sur ce sujet. "Fair tax is the new Fairtrade" et il n'est pas surprenant que les coopératives soient championnes de la cause. Vous pouvez lire l'article, en anglais, ici: 

* *English**

United Kingdom
Article by  Ed Mayo 

What is a responsible business? To say that there are as many definitions of responsible business as there are businesses would be a bit of an exaggeration. But only a bit. Social responsibility, community investment, ethical trading, fair trade ... the list goes on.

As businesses with a strong ethical heritage, co-operatives have tended to shy away from engagement with initiatives like Responsible Business Week. But it helps to have a prompt, sometimes, to remind ourselves why co-ops are leaders in responsible business.   Read the full article here.  
Developing Brand Ambassadors & Word-of-Mouth Marketers   with Kerr Smith - WEBINAR 
July 23, 2016 - 11:30am to 1pm 
Hosted by: Local Organic Food Co-ops 

In a world where a constant barrage of advertisements try to sell us at every turn, we inevitably and understandably become overwhelmed, and turn to the advice of those we know and trust. In fact, a recent study has shown that when making a purchasing decision, consumers trust a friend's opinion 92% of the time. 

This webinar will provide both a greater perspective on our amazing co-op sector - the stories and angles that attract others - and will emphasize the importance of having a staff team and membership who are not only inspired by, and knowledgeable about the co-operative movement, but who are also able to effectively pass this passion on to others.

Through investigating other successful brand ambassador & word-of-mouth marketing campaigns, we will discuss the tools necessary to turn your co-op into a word-of-mouth marketing machine. This is open to anyone. Click here to Learn More or to Register

Film review: Solidarity Economics in Italy   
In their new film,  "WEconomics," Melissa Young and Mark Dworkin show viewers what cooperativism looks like not just in a single workplace, but on a social level--an ecosystem of many co-ops. This time the successful model is in Emilia-Romagna, a province in Northern Italy that has "one of the highest concentrations of cooperatives in the world."
As in their 2012 film "Shift Change," the story is told -- very effectively -- by the people interviewed, a mix of co-op leaders and an academic. But this time, instead of watching workers assemble washing machines on a factory floor, we're watching people stroll through the scenic streets of Bologna, sit in piazzas sipping fair-trade espresso, shop for shoes made locally with all-natural materials and no chemicals, work with children and the elderly, and refill their bottles with the local Sangiovese wine.  Click here for the full review. or here for more about the film.

The 3rd International Summit of Cooperatives 2016 
The International Summit of Cooperatives is a biennial gathering where leaders of cooperative and mutual enterprises get together to discuss their concerns about the current and future business challenges they all share.

The 2016 International Suir vision, knowledge, and perspective on challenges and future prospects facing cooperative and mutual enterprises.

CWCF Executive Director Hazel Corcoran will be moderating the sectoral meeting of Industry, Services and Energy Co-operatives, which is convened by our international association, CICOPA.  Presenters from the international worker co-op movement in this session will include:  Bruno Roelants, CICOPA; Patrick Lenancker,CG-SCOP (France), José Orbaiceta, Cooperar, Argentina; and Arantza Laskurain, Secretary General of the Mondragon Corporation, Spain. 

World Social Forum 2016 and Global Social Economy Forum 2016 - both in Montreal
Both the World Social Forum and the Global Social Economy Forum will be held for the first time in North America - in Montreal in the next couple of months.  

The World Social Forum (WSF), with the slogan Another World is Needed; Together it is Possible, is "the largest gathering of civil society to find solutions to the problems of our time. Started in 2001 in Brazil, the WSF brings together in each of its edition tens of thousands of participants to more than a thousand activities (workshops, conferences, artistic performances ...) on various themes (social, solidarity economy, environment, human rights, democratization ... ). A charter of principles describes what is and is not the WSF process, the values and goals of its participants, as well as important operation rules."  It will be held August 9 - 14, 2016.   You can learn more here:, or en français, ici:

At the Global Social Economy Forum (GSEF2016), more than 2,000 participants from around the world will be converging in Montreal for to discuss and work on the central theme of the GSEF2016: collaboration between local governments and the social and solidarity economy actors for the development of cities.  It will be held Sept. 7 - 9 , 2016.  More information:  or en français, ici:

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