Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation

 La Fédération canadienne des coopératives de travail

2017 Newsletter
Vol 9, Issue 1



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Month Year Vol 1, Issue 1
 CWCF News
In case you missed it, we sent out a report on our 25th anniversary Conference last month.  Click here to read it. 
 Welcome to our four new member co-ops!
CanTrust Hosting, Vancouver 
CanTrust Hosting Co-operative provides managed Linux hosting for Co-ops, non-profits, NGOs  and organizations working for positive social change.  Their speciality is Drupal, WordPress, and other PHP CMS hosting.  They host everything from simple blogs to complex community information systems.  
Wood Shop Workers' Co-op makes and sells wood furniture, performs custom installations, and offers workshops to DIY enthusiasts, all out of 90% reclaimed, reused and upcycled lumber in and around Vancouver, BC. It strives to be a strong voice in the co-operative movement and seeks to form partnerships and strengthen communities of like-minded organizations, all while providing meaningful employment to its worker-owners.
REV Language Co-op, Victoria
"At Real English Victoria (REV), we believe that students learn best when they are engaged in meaningful work. We offer a wide variety of class topics to suit YOUR specific needs. Project-based learning is the fastest and most interesting way to learn a new language."

NewScoop YYC, Calgary
is a multi-stakeholder co-op which is mostly controlled by its worker-members.  NewScoop does generative journalism, writing positive news stories focused on community development, sustainability, inclusivity and more.
In This Issue
New Webinar Series: Worker Co-ops 101
CWCF Board Update and Member Survey
Member Profile: Align Consulting Co-op
Member Profile: London Brewing Co-op
Federal Government Publishes Latest Profile of Co-operatives in Canada
"Worker-Owned Cooperatives Are Larger Than Conventional Firms."
ATX Coop
How Traditional Accounting Hinders Worker Co-op Start-Ups
CICOPA: Les jeunes entreprennent en coopératives
Echo Adventure as Worker Co-op
"Cooperatives' main challenge is intercooperation" «L'intercoopération, le principal défi du coopératisme »
Cooperatives in industry and services: an entrepreneurial and innovative attitude to serve all of society / Les coopératives industrielles et de services : une attitude entrepreneuriale et innovante au service de la société toute entière
Member Profiles
Members are invited to submit member profiles or updates to be included in future newsletters.  This is a good way to let other members know more about your co-op as a way to increase engagement and sharing.  Send your updates to our Newsletter Editor, Kaye Grant, at
New Webinar Series:  Worker Co-ops 101 
This is the first time that we will be offering this new webinar that was recently developed by CWCF this past winter.  

This is a two-part series  designed for people who are working in a worker co-op.  They are most appropriate for those who have recently become members or who are thinking of applying to join their co-op, although anyone involved in a worker co-op is welcome to participate.  They will cover basic definitions, statistics on the movement, the co-op principles as applied to worker co-ops, and governance and management principles in a worker co-op.  
The webinars will be led by Hazel Corcoran, CWCF's Executive Director, in two parts:  
1) February 21st, 1 pm - 2:30 pm Eastern Time, and 2) March 14th, 1 pm - 2:30 pm Eastern Time.  Please RSVP to Kaye Grant,, by 24 hours in advance of each.  The sessions are free to CWCF members, and open only to members.

CWCF Board Update and Member Survey

Outgoing Board Members:
CWCF expresses its deep appreciation to outgoing President Alain Bridault and outgoing Prairies/NWT/NU Director Jamie Campbell.  
Alain, the first CWCF President from Quebec who served as a Director since 2008 and President since 2009, has provided visionary, passionate leadership to CWCF.  He was instrumental in bringing the three Quebec worker co-op federations into CWCF membership, and helping to strengthen the relationship between worker co-op movement in Quebec and in the rest of Canada, and also with the US and Mexican movements through the launch of CICOPA-North America.   Feeling that he has accomplished what he had set out to do at CWCF, and also needing to dedicate himself more to the work of his own Co-op (ORION coopérative de recherche et de conseil which does research and consulting), he decided to leave the Board one year before the end of his term.  Alain will continue to represent CWCF on the Executive Committee of the international sectoral co-op organization CICOPA and on a few other organizations. He is one of the leading experts on the topic of business succession to worker co-operatives and continues work on this issue, including on CWCF's Business Succession Committee. Un gros merci, Alain!! 
Jamie Campbell, a member of ParIT Worker Co-op served on the Board of CWCF for the past six years.  He represented CWCF on the Board, including as President of the Data Commons Co-op, a North America-wide co-op which assembles data on solidarity economy organizations.  He participated on the Manitoba Co-op Strategy Committee.  He's been very active in the worker co-op sector in Manitoba, helping to keep the many Manitoba worker co-ops connected to each other and to CWCF.  Thank you, Jamie! 

New Board President

A warm welcome to our new Board President: Reba Plummer!

Reba started in the co-op sector when she closed her bicycle shop and joined Urbane Cyclist Worker Co-op. The shared responsibilities and benefits have made a huge difference in her life. As a sole proprietor she had to be present at the shop for all opening hours during peak season but as an avid cyclist this severely cut into her riding time. Now she is able to have a great work/life/bike balance. Shared ownership is the way to go!
Reba lives in Toronto, Ontario and has worked at Urbane Cyclist Co-op since 2000. She has been a member of the Toronto cycling community since the mid 80s, and was the 1999 and 2008 Cycle Messenger World Champion (cargo bike). In 2002, she worked as the mechanic/teacher with Open Roads and then helped the program transition to the popular volunteer-run Wenches with Wrenches. She completed the Co-op Management Certificate through ON Co-op at the Schulich School of Business in April of 2010 thus expanding her knowledge of the co-op world .
As a member of Urbane Cyclist and as the Ontario Regional Board Member for the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation Reba has worked to create better ties between the worker-owned co-operatives in the province. She regularly meets and shares information with people who are interested in starting a co-op or who are mired in the technicalities that come with running a business after "the work" is done. In 2016 Reba joined ON Co-op as the Greater Toronto Area Co-op Network Regional Manager, a position that includes building cooperation amongst co-ops (of all types) as well as helping develop new co-ops.
Reba joined the CWCF board in 2010 and has moved from a Director at large to the Ontario Region Director and now, as well, Board President. She enjoys the exposure this position affords her in meeting and exchanging ideas with other worker co-ops in Ontario and across Canada.  Being on the Board of CWCF has also allowed Reba to be a delegate to The Co-operators, an experience that she believes is without equal.

Member Survey

We will soon be launching a member survey that will be conducted by telephone. Watch for email updates from Kaye requesting you to identify appropriate dates and times for her or another from CWCF to call you to conduct this survey.  

Member Profile:  Align Consulting Co-op

A year ago,  Align Consulting Cooperative  was created by six diverse young professionals who all shared an idea: that the tools of business can help build an open and optimistic society.

We are proud of what we have achieved this past year. Whether helping youth organisations strengthen their governance, supporting communities to develop locally owned and controlled food systems, or exploring social enterprise with non-profits, it has been a year of growth and of finding our feet. We are inspired by the passion and drive within our community, and are excited about future opportunities to support people working for change.

Align is a cooperative for a reason - to be true to our conviction that business and social change belong together. As a worker cooperative we own our workplace together and are responsible to one another. We make our decisions together democratically - we each have one vote - with the good of the cooperative as our common endeavour. A cooperative is more than just a way to organise ourselves, it integrates business and equality, social responsibility, and democracy. More on that to come soon.

At Align, we believe that a more holistic understanding of the economy brings immense value, and from that understanding emanates our commitment to being an active member of our community. We feel that the cooperative model is the most appropriate structure to fulfill our business goals in service to our community.

Our members are young professionals who see a tremendous amount of value in a flexible business model that allow them to work on their own schedule in an environment that is adaptable, fun, inclusive, innovative, and practical. At its best, a cooperative is owning a company together with some of your best friends.

Excerpts posted here are from their blogs below: 
Member Profile: The London Brewing Co-op is Growing!  
From On Co-op e-Newsletter: Issue 12, December 16, 2016

London's smallest little brewery is about to grow...significantly! The London Brewing Co-operative is moving to larger quarters in the Old East Village neighbourhood - a 10,000-square-foot space in a former industrial building! Larger tanks have already been installed and the worker owners are planning to set up a small store, a tasting room and a lounge complete with old-school pinball machines.

The last nano-batch was brewed at the Root Cellar Cafe, where it has had a home since 2014. Those barrel-sized tanks, holding about 117 litres, have been taken out of service and are being replaced with shiny new tanks that have 15 times the capacity; turning the nano-brewery into a micro-brewery.

The Co-op prides itself on its business model: an employee-owned brewery that uses locally grown ingredients and has a home in a resurgent, artisanal part of London. More than just brewing beer, the Co-op's aim is also to build the local economy and add value to the neighbourhood and the region.

Increasing beer production means buying more ingredients from local farmers, a key tenet for the Co-op as it brews the most local beer possible. Currently, ingredients are sourced from around Guelph, Chatham-Kent, Norfolk and Arkona.

Its new location also means the Co-op will be able to bring more brew to special beer-tasting events and be host to special events inside its new facilities. The Co-op is hoping to have a "Principle Six" beer, celebrating the co-operative community. Principle Six is a reference to the seven guiding principles for all co-operatives, number six of which is co-operation among co-ops.

Construction is still taking place inside the new space, and the Co-op will open officially sometime in the early part of  2017. Learn more about the London Brewing Co-op and follow the Co-op on Facebook!
Federal Government Publishes Latest Profile of Co-operatives in Canada
From The Canadian CED Network

Co-operatives in Canada continue to be important actors in Canada's social economy. The strength of the co-operative model lies in its ability to support local economies by revitalizing and sustaining communities through socially inclusive means. As legally incorporated organizations owned by their members, co-operatives exist in most sectors of the economy, and can operate as for-profit enterprises, non-profits and registered charities. The sector continues to generate a significant economic impact while making important contributions to communities across the country. Read more
Download the full report here.

"Worker-Owned Cooperatives Are Larger Than Conventional Firms"  
This information notes that Worker Co-operative tend to be somewhat larger than other types of businesses.
 "While this quick analysis doesn't constitute the same type of rigorous academic research cited by Pérotin, it also doesn't contradict the finding that, in the US and worldwide, worker cooperatives are by no means smaller firms than conventional businesses - if anything the data suggest they may consistently be larger."  ... Click here to read more.
How Uber and Lyft were driven from Austin and replaced with a worker cooperative
ATX Coop Taxi member and driver Ebrahim Elhadidi standing in front of his car. _WNV_Dave Passmore_
November 8, 2016

Two years ago, what is now the third-largest worker-owned cooperative in the United States couldn't get more than a dozen people together. That might be hard to believe, because they all have their own transportation. They're cab drivers.....
When it opened last month, ATX Coop Taxi - which has already raised over $425,000 in ownership shares from over 360 coop members - became the third-largest worker cooperative in the country.

How Traditional Accounting Hinders Worker Co-op Start-Ups
This paper provides an explanation, in the author's view, of why worker cooperative startups are rare. If true worker ownership is to be maintained in the startup period where losses occur, members face either a 'pay to work' or 'expected investment loss' problem. Founding members must either pay money to cover the losses resulting from their labor, or make investments upfront which will be expected to decline in value as losses occur. These two issues are completely foreign to modern finance and current labor practice, and also ignored by the worker coop community. Under the current worker cooperative model, financially rational entrepreneurs will not structure a new business as a worker cooperative. These issues trace back to inconsistencies in the third cooperative principle, which in the case of worker cooperatives translates to profits in proportion to labor. Solutions to this startup problem constitute a class of loss based returns that are independent of labor, in violation of the cooperative principles...  
Grassroots Economic Organizing a publié cet article au sujet des risques financiers plus grands que prendraient les membres fondateurs d'une coopérative de travail par rapport aux membres qui se joindraient à la coopérative une fois celle-ci bien établie.    Lire plus ici 
Launch of CICOPA's  WE OWN IT! the campaign on youth cooperative enterpreneurship 

On January  30, 2017  CICOPA will launch a one-year youth cooperative entrepreneurship campaign  to let the world know how young people can satisfy their needs & contribute to a better society through worker, social and producers' cooperatives!   Find out more here.
You can also watch their video here 

Les jeunes entreprennent en coopératives : une campagne qui se lancera en Janvier 2017
En janvier 2017, les coopératives de travail, sociales et de producteurs lancent une campagne pour continuer à sensibiliser les jeunes sur la façon dont ils peuvent répondre à leurs besoins et à leurs aspirations tout en contribuant à améliorer la société à travers la création de coopératives. 41% des fonds pour la rendre réelle ont déjà été collectés mais il reste encore beaucoup à faire...  Lire la suite

Echo Adventure Cooperative  is a new worker-owned outdoor guide company established by four experienced guides who are based in the Yosemite wilderness in California. The new cooperative had the opportunity to take advantage of some recent legislation in California aimed at normalizing the worker-cooperative model in the state...Read the full article here

"Cooperatives' main challenge is intercooperation" / « L'intercoopération, le principal défi du coopératisme »
**Le français suit** 
In an interview, CICOPA President Manuel Mariscal analyses the importance of "thinking and acting from a perspective of intercooperation. It is cooperativism's main challenge. It is something that is lacking among cooperatives and is a challenge for cooperativism as a whole".  Read more
** Le français**
Cooperatives in industry and services: an entrepreneurial and innovative attitude to serve all of society /  Les coopératives industrielles et de services : une attitude entrepreneuriale et innovante au service de la société toute entière
**Le français suit **
The third International Summit of Cooperatives, which brought together 2,950 participants from 116 countries, this year focused on cooperatives' "power to act". Cooperatives in industry and services participated actively in the Summit and CICOPA co-organised two sectoral workshops.  Read more.

**Le français**

Le troisième Sommet international des coopératives a réuni, du 11 au 13 octobre, 2950 participants de 116 pays et s'est intéressé cette année « Au pouvoir d'agir des coopératives ». Les coopératives industrielles et de services ont participé activement au Sommet où CICOPA a coorganisé deux rencontres.  Lire la suite .

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