Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation
F�d�ration canadienne des coop�ratives de travail
September 2013 Newsletter
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Vol 5, Issue 6
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CWCF-CoopZone Conference/2013 Congr�s FCCT   

      ***Le fran�ais suit.*** 

Educating Each Other for Empowerment,

November 7 - 9, 2013; Edmonton, Alberta


The CWCF-CoopZone Conference will take place in St. Albert (outside of Edmonton), Alberta, on November 7th to 9th, 2013. The theme is: Educating Each Other for Empowerment!


We have two great keynote speakers joining us at the Conference:


Rebecca Kemble, President of the US Federation of Worker Co-ops, will speak about the new Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade (International Co-op Alliance, "ICA") and the international worker co-op association, CICOPA!


In addition to her role at the US FWC, Rebecca the President of CICOPA-North. America, Vice-President of CICOPA Americas and serves on the Executive Committee of CICOPA (worldwide). Rebecca is a worker-owner of Union Cab Cooperative where she has worked since 2000 as a night shift taxi driver as well as a mediator. She is also a founding member, writer and editor in the newly-formed Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative, and writes for The Progressive magazine.


The development of the Blueprint strategy was an outcome from the International Year of Co-operatives, This Blueprint is intended to provide the ICA and its members with a clear focal point for future activity, underpinned by ambitious goals.


Yvonne Chiu of the Multicultural Health Brokers Co-op is an inspiring worker co-op made up of immigrants and refugees who work as health brokers, i.e. liaisons between the health system and the immigrant and refugee communities. They are a group of 54 Multicultural Health Brokers. They represent 22 different cultural and linguistic communities in Edmonton.


Many started as volunteers in their communities and were identified as natural leaders, and were brought in as paid Brokers with the Co-operative.


Get inspired by other co-ops' and developers' stories!


This year we are planning an Ignite Event where Conference delegates will have an opportunity to "share their story". This is a chance for members to share a 5-minute, 20-slide presentation at the Conference.   Information on how to get on the agenda for an Ignite presentation will be available soon.


Other great reasons to attend the 2013 CWCF - CoopZone Conference

  •  Meet other worker co-operators and developers from across Canada!
  • Learn about the Indivisible Reserve (permanent co-op capital) and take part in deliberations on this important topic!
  • Learn practical new tools!
  • Attend the (optional) Worker Co-op Movie Night!

Register now to attend/


We kindly ask you to register as soon as possible, and note that the registration deadline is October 28th.   


Congr�s de la FCCT-CoopZone 2013

La F�d�ration canadienne des coop�ratives de travail (FCCT) et CoopZone vous donnent rendez-vous en novembre 2013: du 7 au 9 novembre, � St.-Albert (pr�s d'Edmonton), en Alberta.  

Pour vous inscrire au Congr�s et pr�senter une demande de subvention de voyage, inscrivez-vous ici .  


Nous ne pouvons pas offrir l'interpr�tation simultan�e, mais nous pouvons offrir un interpr�te personnel sur demande. 


Neechi Foods Co-op Ltd. is the winner of the Aboriginal Business Leadership Award

Neechi Foods Co-op Ltd. is the winner of the Aboriginal Business Leadership Award


Neechi Foods, an Aboriginal grocery and specialty store, first opened its doors in Winnipeg's North End in 1990. Since then it has expanded to include Neechi Commons Community Business Complex, which features a neighbourhood supermarket, produce courtyard, cafeteria restaurant, bakery, fish market, and specialty foods boutique. The company operates under the principles of an Aboriginal worker co-operative, and has remained a commercially self-reliant enterprise committed to community economic development. Over the past three years, its annual sales have averaged close to $600,000.


Louise Champagne, President of Neechi Foods, says the award reflects over 20 years of hard work and perseverance. "Twenty-four years ago we were looking for loans and small community investments. We constantly ran into bankers and government officials who asked us, 'Are your intensions to pursue business goals, or social goals?' Some were skeptical we could accomplish both. Happily, now that 'social enterprise' is a more widely accepted concept, our mission as a commercially viable business committed to community economic development is much better understood."


The Aboriginal Business Leadership Award, she adds, is a salute to the roots of Neechi Foods, and to its future: "As an Aboriginal owned and operated co-operative, we are proud to have provided business ownership and employment opportunities to mainly Aboriginal, inner-city residents for 24 years. This year the opening of Neechi Commons means that we will continue to achieve the goals of commercial viability and community economic development, but on a much larger scale."


The Excellence in Aboriginal Business Leadership Award dinner is one of Manitoba's most prestigious events for honouring Aboriginal business leaders. The stories behind their successes motivate and inspire students to pursue work in a wide variety of sectors, or establish businesses of their own.  Proceeds from the event will benefit commerce students in the Asper School's ABEP (Aboriginal Business Education Partners) program.


The ninth annual Excellence in Aboriginal Business Leadership Award will be presented on October 10, 2013, at a gala event at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.


To purchase tickets to this event, call Hayley Minuk at 204-474-7401 (

Adapted from     

National Co-op Challenge / Le D�fi national co-op
***Le fran�ais suit.***


Public voting to decide who shares $200,000 in prizes:


Voting runs from September 18 to October 18, 2013

The National Co-op Challenge, social media contest created by The Co-operators, has opened! You are invited to vote for your favourite co-op to support the growth of emerging  Canadian co-operatives, between September 18 and October 18. Each winning co-op will receive $25,000 for a total of $200,000 in donations across the country.    


Visit our dedicated voting application located on The Co-operators Facebook Page, where you'll find a total of 12 videos from the West, Ontario and Atlantic in English. To watch the four Quebec finalists, in French, please visit our French voting application.  Each video is just 90 seconds, so watching the four in your region will only take six minutes!

Cast your Vote
Visit our Facebook page(s) to view the videos and vote for your favourite co-op. No Facebook? No problem. This year we launched a 'micro- site' that allows you to vote outside Facebook, if necessary - click here to access this secondary voting website.

The Facebook voting application may request 'permission to proceed' before casting your vote. This is only required to authenticate your vote as per our Rules and Regulations; no personal data will be saved or used for any purpose other than to validate your vote in the contest and prevent duplication.

Please note the Facebook contest application is best accessed using Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.

Get Social
Share, Like, Tweet or Comment about The National Co-op Challenge with your social networks! It will help the co-ops gain exposure and get the co-operative message out to more people. Make it a goal to 'share' with five friends and get them to vote!
Vote and have your say today!

NOTE from CWCF: There are several different worker co-ops in the running for prizes!  Congratulations to all.

Votez pour votre coop�rative favorite!

Des coop�ratives �mergentes de partout au pays se sont inscrites au D�fi national Co-op cet �t� pour courir la chance de gagner une part des 200 000 $ offerts. Nous avons s�lectionn� 16 finalistes, qui ont chacun produit une vid�o de 90 secondes afin de pr�senter leur coop�rative, leur volont� de cro�tre et la mani�re qu'ils utiliseraient l'argent.


Gr�ce � votre vote, ces 16 coop�ratives finalistes courent la chance de gagner 25 000 $ pour se d�velopper! Un total de 8 prix r�gionaux sera attribu� dans les quatre r�gions du pays : Ontario, Ouest, l'Atlantique et le Qu�bec. Ce qui comprend :

  • 2 prix de 25 000 $ pour chacune des r�gions
  • Chaque gagnant participera �galement au tirage au sort du Grand Prix qui inclut le tournage d'une vid�o professionnelle et une consultation de la part de Co-operators estim�es � 1 000 $.
Voici comment vous pouvez aider!
Votez pour votre coop�rative favorite au Qu�bec! Afin que votre vote soit comptabilis�, vous devez fournir les informations personnelles requises et cliquer sur � soumettre �. Cette information sera uniquement utilis�e pour valider votre vote.  Le lien pour voter est ici

Vous pouvez �galement visionner les vid�os des r�gions de l'Atlantique, de l'Ontario et de l'Ouest ici et enregistrer trois votes additionnels (un vote par r�gion) pour un total de QUATRE votes.

National Young Co-operators Mentorship Program  


 Deadline: September 25, 2013   

Building on the success of its pilot mentorship program in 2012, the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA)'s National Young Co-operators (NYC) will be organizing another mentorship program for 2013.  This year's program will be conducted in partnership with CCCM's (le Conseil canadien de la coop�ration et de la mutualit�) youth organization, Jeunes coop�rateurs et mutualistes du Canada.  The program will also be expanded, thanks to a generous contribution from the Co-operative Housing Federation (CHF) Canada.


Last year, Nick Sidor (CHF Canada), Bill Dobson (UFA) and Lynette Stradeski (The Co-operators) did an excellent job mentoring three young co-operators to work on such projects as promoting the co-operative difference to credit union staff, creating marketing plans and reporting on best practices in governance.


This year, the NYC is seeking at least six mentors from the co-operative movement to participate in the program.  A mentor information package which outlines what would be involved in the mentorship is attached.  We would appreciate if you would consider being a mentor, or circulating this information to someone within your organization who might be interested in being a mentor.


Go here for for more information on the program and testimonials from last year's mentors.


If you need further information or if you are interested in participating in the program, contact Tanya Gracie at, or Allison Barter at, by September 25th. 

2013 National Co-operative Week: October 13 - 19
***Le fran�ais. suit.*** 
From October 13-19, co-operators across the country will be celebrating the many ways in which co-operatives build stronger communities, both here in Canada and around the world. The theme of this year's celebration is A Better Way, which highlights the fact that co-ops provide
a better and fairer way to do business during times of economic uncertainty and inequality.

In the true spirit of cooperation and sharing, the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) has posted downloadable resources on its website to help you spread the word, including the Co-op Week poster, website ads and email signatures.  

Semaine de la coop�ration 2013

La Semaine de la coop�ration est l'occasion pour les membres des coop�ratives et des caisses d'�pargne et de cr�dit du Canada de c�l�brer le fait qu'elles ont collectivement aid� � b�tir ce pays et de reconna�tre leurs contributions soutenues tant au pays qu'� l'�tranger.


Comment participer � la Semaine de la coop�ration ?

* Inviter les coop�ratives et mutuelles canadiennes � afficher la  signature � la une de leur site Internet et/ou de leur page de  r�seaux sociaux (Facebook, Twitter, etc.);

* �crire � vos membres pour leur communiquer vos diff�rences  coop�ratives (bilan de responsabilit� social);

* Faire para�tre des publicit�s sur la coop�ration dans les m�dias;


Mat�riel promotionnel:  Affichez-vous pendant la Semaine de la coop�ration! Une affiche, des gabarits de publicit�s et un d�pliant ont �t� con�u sp�cialement pour la Semaine de la coop�ration 2013 et sont disponibles � tous.

Pour les t�l�charger, cliquez sur ce lien.   


Urban Eatin' wins MCA Achievement Award
Urban Eatin' Worker Co-op Wins Manitoba Co-operative Achievement Award (Congrats!)

In Winnipeg, two deserving recipients will be recognized at the Manitoba Co-op Association's Awards Banquet during Co-op Week. The recipients are:
 1) Urban Eatin' Gardeners Worker Co-op, which will be receiving the Cooperative Achievement Award.
 2) Peter Vandermeulen of Portage Co-op, who will be receiving a Co-operative Merit Award.

In honour of Urban Eatin', CWCF representatives including Executive Director Hazel Corcoran will attend the MCA Co-op Week banquet this year, and combine it with a meeting with all available Winnipeg worker co-ops, likely in the evening of Tuesday, October 15th.

Social Enterprise World Forum 2013

The Social Enterprise World Forum will take place October 2-4 this year in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The Forum boasts an impressive lineup of speakers as well as social enterprise tours and a packed agenda. Get more details and register by following this link:

With approximately 1,200 participants from around the world expected, there will be some people associated with CoopZone and the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation (CWCF) among them, including presenters Cathy Lang, Marty Donkervoort, and Paul Cabaj and attendees Hazel Corcoran and Kaye Grant of the CWCF.


Kaye and Hazel, in conjunction with Marty Donkervoort, will be submitting a Thought Piece on how Social Enterprise and the Co-operative Movement appear to be in two distinct silos in much of Canada (outside Quebec), in sharp contrast to the rest of the world where most of the the co-operative movement is seen as part of the social enterprise movement.  Further, within the Forum CWCF is hosting four different screenings of the worker co-op documentary, Shift Change.


The Canadian Worker Co-op Federation and 7 Principles Consulting and the Calgary Poverty Reduction Initiative are hosting an event "Co- ops Connecting in Calgary" on October 2, 2013 in Calgary in conjunction with SEWF 2013.   This is a great opportunity for SEWF Participants from Calgary and beyond who would like to connect with other co-operative champions.

Health Care Co-operatives Federation of Canada's 2013 Annual General Meeting and Learning Event

Please JOIN the HCCFC at the Hampton Inn in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia for our 2013 Annual General Meeting and Learning Event.  We've planned an excellent event and we want your participation.  Our focus will be:  


  • Young Co-operators; involving young co-operators in every aspect of our Federation, learning how young co-operators can contribute to and gain from health co-ops.
  • Learning about each others' health co-ops, the Hans Kai program, techniques for integrating new members and staff into the co-operative ethos, the Co-op Index approach to evaluating our performance and much more
  • Celebrating our progress since the 2012 AGM and setting our strategy, policy and plans for next year
  • Attending the Hans Kai School and obtaining certification in this program available ONLY to HCCFC members

Full information and all the registration forms are available here.


If you have any questions please email Vanessa Hammond at 


Who should attend: Wellness and health proponents and practitioners, and all who are committed to addressing the social determinants of health.


Note from CWCF: Several health co-ops are worker co-ops or multi-stakeholder co-ops, which is why we believe that it's relevant that we tell you about this new Federation's second AGM.

New Co-op Teaching Skills To Enhance Community, Sustainability

If these ideas sound interesting, you might want to learn more about SquareKnot, a Calgary worker co-operative that provides a myriad of do-it-yourself workshops, in an effort to create sustainability and stronger community connections.


Lauren Mangion, one of the eight SquareKnot founders, says what's noteworthy about the co-op is that it's teaching people skills that have largely been lost during the past few generations.


By learning lost arts, people become armed with the knowhow needed to do more things for themselves - an important step towards large-scale sustainability.


"We're really trying to introduce that idea of a greater resiliency within individuals and communities for what's ahead of us in the future,"  


Lauren tells ACCA News, "Our working mission is to awaken people to the possibilities of a sustainable future through events and experiences that foster connections to co-operation."


Established in early 2013, SquareKnot was formed by people who knew each other in various capacities and wanted to create meaningful work for themselves centred on community building and sustainability.

Using their skills and knowledge to teach others seemed like the best way to achieve their goals, and SquareKnot was born.


The co-op is still in its beginning stages, but Lauren, who has several years' experience leading workshops, says there are many possibilities for the future - and any community-enhancing events will likely be at the forefront.


"I really want to bring in more speakers - and anything I want to learn for my own life and family, basically becomes the next workshop," she says.


Visit SquareKnot's website to learn more about the co-op.

Writer: Deron Hamel

As published by ACCA on September 10, 2012 at 
NDP Names H�l�ne Leblanc Critic For Co-Ops

A second political party in the House of Commons has appointed a Member of Parliament to deal specifically with co-operative issues.


The New Democratic Party announced that H�l�ne LeBlanc, MP for LaSalle-�mard, is its first-ever critic dedicated to co-operatives. Ms. LeBlanc, together with Liberal co-op Advocate Mauril B�langer, co-chaired the House of Commons Special Committee on Co-operatives, which met and produced its report in 2012.


Ms. LeBlanc said she had suggested the appointment of an NDP critic after serving on the Special Committee and attending the International Summit in Quebec City last fall.


"I am very proud to be able to tackle this latest challenge of increasing the visibility of this important sector of our economy and to make the current government aware that we all stand to win with a diversified economy that is also serving the interests of Canadian citizens," she said.


Ms. LeBlanc is an agronomist by training and also has a degree in education.


Visit Ms. Leblanc's website.

Can Unions and Cooperatives Join Forces?

An Interview With United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard


 United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard talks to Truthout about the challenges and opportunities of a new labor model: the union co-op.

Click here for full article.

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 co-operatives.  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


In This Issue
Neechi-Award Winner
National Co-op Challenge
National Young Co-operators Mentorship Program
2013 National Co-op Week
Urban Eatin' wins Award
S.E. World Forum
Health Care Co-op Federation
New Co-op Teaching Skills
NDP Names Co-op Critic
Unions and Co-ops
A member at our last Edmonton based conference summed up  his experience as follows:
"...ultimately, though, we came away with a tremendous amount of learning, and learning is never a bad thing. props must go out to the CWCF and hazel corocan in particular, for putting on an enlightening event!" 
Grant Horwood

Haymarket Cafѐ  

Worker Co-op

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