Volume 10 Issue 1
CWCF Winter 2018
New Strategic Planning Process at CWCF!

Strategic Planning Member Session at CWCF AGM 2017

by Kaye Grant, for the Strategic Planning Committee

At our AGM in November 2017, the CWCF Board announced that instead of adopting the draft that the last Strategic Planning Committee had developed, that CWCF would engage a consultant to develop and guide us in a new, innovative strategic planning process. What CWCF really needed was to undergo a new process that would a) increase engagement of our members in the development of the strategic plan, b) develop a more realistic plan, and c) utilize a more innovative process to identify goals, objectives and plans that would better align to the needs of our members and the Worker Co-op movement in Canada. As a result, the Board issued a request for proposals (RFP) seeking innovative ideas. This RFP attracted 14 strong submissions. 
The new Strategic Planning Committee, now comprised of board members, staff, and other members developed an evaluation process for these proposals that aligned to the evaluation criteria delineated in the RFP. We are excited to announce that the proposal submitted by a team with Rhythm Communications was selected unanimously.  Congratulations to the team: Russ Christianson and Cathy Lang of Ontario, and Dominique Bernier of Québec City.   
The strategic planning process will launch shortly, and they have until our next AGM in November 2018 to guide us through the process.  We are seeking to engage our members as well as allies -- likely and unlikely -- in the deliberations.  You'll be sure to hear more from them, and us, throughout the next 10 months!

In This Issue

Save the Date - CWCF AGM/Conference 2018

CWCF's 2018 Conference will be held November 1-3, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Mark your calendars now!  Watch this space:  http://canadianworker.coop/save-the-date-2018-conference/ for updates in English.  Voir ce lien:  http://canadianworker.coop/fr/reserve-cette-date-conference-2018/ pour des mises à jour en français.
The Co-operators - Insurance Webinar for CWCF Members
This webinar was cancelled in January and will be rescheduled in March.  If you are interested let Kaye Grant know at Communications@canadianworker.coop.  We will confirm the date directly with you as soon as we have that set. 

The Co-operators has created an insurance program, Co-op Guard, which is designed to meet the needs of co-operatives across Canada, including the members of CWCF. A Co-op Guard® policy combines all the protection your co-op needs in one complete package, including Property and Essential Liability insurance, Directors and Officers' and Employment Practices Liability, as well as Group Benefits. Offering Group Benefits is an excellent strategy to attract and retain key employees and can increase both morale and productivity within your organization.
Member Benefits Program is an exclusive insurance coverage and savings program for members of The Co-operators' participating member organizations. The program was designed in collaboration with  members to offer added-value benefits to their members.
As a member of CWCF, you have access to many exclusive benefits and savings including:
  • Enhanced Home coverage
  • Enhanced Farm coverage
  • Farm and Home member benefits program discount
  • Assistance for estate trustees: Executor EASE
  • 10% discount on travel medical insurance
To take advantage of discounts on policies, members of participating member organizations simply need to make their Co-operators' Financial Advisor aware of their membership in CWCF.

Manon Monette, a Strategic Client Manager of The Co-operators, and Beverly Barker, an Advisor based in Nova Scotia and knowledgeable about commercial insurance, will be hosting a webinar to describe the advantages and features of these two programs. 

Why choose The Co-operators?
The Co-operators has 70 years of history as a co-operative. Its focus extends beyond increasing profits and share values to a concern for satisfying the needs of clients, member organizations, staff members and communities. CWCF is one of the 43 member organizations of The Co-operators, which means that CWCF shares in the financial success of The Co-operators.  (CWCF's Executive Director, Hazel Corcoran, is on the Board of The Co-operators.) 
As a third-tier co-operative, The Co-operators has benefited from the valuable contributions co-operatives have made towards their growth and development, so they consistently try to find ways to support the co-operative sector. In 2016, The Co-operators contributed $1.6 million to Canadian and international co-operatives. In addition, they invested over $2.2 million in 162 expanding and emerging Canadian co-operatives since 1992. To further bolster access to capital for Canadian co-operatives, they pledged the first $10 million to the Canadian Co-operative Investment Fund to support the development and expansion of co-ops across the country. The Co-operators also supports co-operatives and the co-operative sector through advocacy.

Standing Committee on Finance Presentation
Hazel Corcoran
CWCF Executive Director Hazel Corcoran, accompanied by St. Mary's University Economics Professor -- and long-term member of CoopZone/ CWCF-- Sonja Novkovic, presented to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance in Halifax, NS in October. Hazel spoke to the potential of the worker co-op model to help the federal government  meet Canadians' socioeconomic needs.  In keeping with CWCF's formal lobby positions, she advocated that the upcoming federal budget:

1) Create a Co-op Business Succession program and support worker co-op development. 2) Restore pre-2011 Co-op RRSP rules. 3) Provide distinctive tax treatment for indivisible reserves. 4) Invest in the Canadian Co-operative Investment Fund (which has been launched this month!). And 5) Implement the CWCF Climate Change Statement.
Read her
written submission here in English or ici en francais; and see our pre-budget  messaging here in English, or ici en francais. Please send us your comments on these lobbying positions that we have taken on behalf of our members. Watch for the federal budget by sometime in March!   
Spanish speaker sought: CICOPA-Américas

CICOPA Americas includes 13 organisations (including federations of worker co-ops, social and producer co-ops) present in 10 countries of the American continent. It is a sectoral organisation of ICA - Americas, the regional organisation of the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) for the Americas. CICOPA Americas includes two sub-regional organisations: CICOPA North America (grouping cooperative organisations from the USA, Canada and Mexico) and 
CICOPA Mercosur  (grouping cooperative organisations from Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, etc.).  CWCF is seeking a Spanish speaker, preferably a member, who would like an opportunity to participate on quarterly conference calls with an inspiring group of worker co-operators on the Steering Committee.  Calls take place in Spanish, but some knowledge of Portuguese is also helpful. If funding can be found, occasional Conference attendance in Latin America is possible.  If you are interested, please contact Hazel Corcoran, hazel@canadianworker.coop.  

Creating Connections: A workshop on exploring co-operatives 

The "Sharing" Economy Should be Co-operative

by Stephanie Guico, CWCF-nominated CMC Director 

The so-called "sharing" economy leaves no one indifferent. As it goes with olives or coriander, we either adopt or passionately reject these platforms which now seem, for better or for worse, ubiquitous. But if they exist, it is because their particular brand of service delivery, such as Uber or Airbnb, meets a need.

Can Worker Co-ops Make the Tech Sector More Equitable?

by Michelle Chen

If you believe the doomsayers, Big Tech seems destined to render our jobs obsolete by roboticizing capitalism with legions of worker drones. But grappling with new frontiers of tech-driven work platforms like Uber shouldn't mean walling ourselves off from innovation. Some labor-oriented technologists are trying to build alternative platforms, by retooling tech labor as a socialist enterprise.

Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy, NYC Spring 2017
By Tommy Allen, CWCF's Prairies Board member 
The Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy (ECWD) was an inspiring demonstration of how much engaged citizens and workers care about their community. There were hundreds of participants, and the program was 36-pages long. Canada's worker co-op community is less than a quarter of the size in comparison, but if you compare that per capita, Canada is doing really great.

Co-ops in Marginalized Communities 
Princie Reza
by Princie Reza
This paper examines the sufficiency of the worker cooperative model in addressing precarious employment within marginalized communities with a specific focus on low-income South Asian immigrant women in Ontario. Using qualitative research methods (i.e. literature review and loosely structured interviews), this paper weaves together perspectives from six individuals from different areas of the cooperative sector: 2 representatives from second and third tier cooperative organizations, 2 representatives from worker cooperatives in Ontario, and 2 individuals with experience working with grassroots organizations in marginalized communities and worker coops.
The paper also explores how second and third tier cooperative organizations can reimagine their roles and services to better facilitate the inclusion of marginalized communities within the cooperative sector. The research concludes that the lack of cooperative history and cooperative education combined hinders the culture of cooperation, which results in the lack of government support and cooperative capital available. All of these factors combined contribute to the fear of failure, which is intensified by several past failures of cooperative initiatives. This inhospitable external context greatly hinders the potential of the worker cooperative model in marginalized communities and the capabilities of second and third tier cooperative organizations.
 West End Food Co-op Seeking Help from Community

he Parkdale area is losing a staple business that provides healthy, organic food options to the community. Come September 2018, the West End Food Co-op (WEFC) has to vacate its space at 1229 Queen St. W., in the lower level of the Parkdale-Queen West Community Health Centre, by September 2018. The Health Centre plans to expand its services and needs the space currently occupied by the co-operative for additional programming.   To learn more, see the WEFC web site, or this news article.

La fierté des jeunes coopérants

Yvon Laprade

Il y a trois ans, Mathieu Morin a créé son emploi en fondant une coopérative de travailleurs avec quatre collaborateurs dans la vingtaine, comme lui. La coopérative compte aujourd'hui 14 membres travailleurs.

« On voulait permettre à chacun des membres de travailler à temps plein et de vivre pleinement leur vie professionnelle, dans leurs champs de compétence », explique le directeur des ventes et du marketing de la coopérative de solidarité Belvédère Communication.

Quand la bière imite le vin
Fanny Bourel

Brasser des bières aux levures sauvages et vieillies en fût de chêne, c'est le nouveau projet de la microbrasserie La Barberie. Avant de se lancer, cette coopérative a envoyé trois de ses brasseurs se former auprès d'autres microbrasseries déjà rompues à l'utilisation de ces méthodes, qui font un retour en force.

« Pour produire une bière de grande qualité dès nos premiers brassins, nous avons cherché à développer nos connaissances, raconte Guillaume Boulanger, brasseur en chef de La Barberie. Comme nous n'avons pas trouvé de formation académique spécialisée, nous nous sommes tournés vers nos amis de notre domaine. »

Lire la suite...
Le Divan Orange ferme ses portes et le Montréal musical est en deuil

Par Urbania

C'est avec un gros pincement au cœur qu'on a reçu cette lettre aujourd'hui chez URBANIA. La coopérative du Divan Orange, qui depuis 12 ans a présenté plus de 10 000 concerts sur la rue St-Laurent, vient d'annoncer qu'elle fermera ses portes.

Nombreux sont ceux et celles ici qui s'y sont produits, ou qui y ont passé des moments mémorables à découvrir Patrick Watson, Cœur de Pirate et la crème de la musique émergente locale et internationale.

Capitalism is Not the Only Choice
Employees of Old Window Workshop, a women-owned co-operative in Springfield, Massachusetts.

by Penn Loh

Since the breakup of the Soviet bloc and China's turn toward free markets, many economists have pronounced an "end of history," where capitalism reigns supreme as the ultimate form of economy. Perhaps "there is no alternative" to a globalized neoliberal economy, as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher often said. Indeed, free markets in which individuals compete to get what they can while they can are glorified in popular culture through reality shows such as Shark Tank.

Cooperatives are responsible for almost 10% of world employment, new study shows

Brussels, 25 September 2017 - CICOPA, the international organization of industrial and service cooperatives, published today its second global report on "Cooperatives and Employment" [PDF]. Based on data from 156 countries, the updated estimate shows that employment in or within the scope of cooperatives concerns at least 279.4 million people across the globe, in other words 9.46% of the world's employed population.


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