2016 CWCF – CoopZone Conference



Celebrate Workplace Democratic Ownership – 25 years of Canadian Worker Co-op Federation, November 3-5, Vancouver.

Join CWCF, Worker Co-operatives, CoopZone, Co-op Developers and our co-op friends for three days of sharing, connecting and learning.

Date: November 3-5, 2016, with optional tours in the afternoon of Nov. 2nd.

Location: Vancouver, BC

Early bird rate in place until September 26th, 2016

Register now: www.bit.ly/cwcf2016 

Conference Program:

Registration details:

Special events are planned to celebrate CWCF’s 25th anniversary!   We will look at milestones over the past 25 years for both CWCF and for worker co-ops, and also make plans for the next 25 years.  We will hear from many worker co-operatives in dynamic Co-op “Ignite” presentations and on the various panels, and prioritize opportunities for networking and discussing with each other.

On Thursday evening we will celebrate with a Birthday Celebration Solidarity Supper followed by entertainment by Bill Bourne, a Juno award-winning musician from Edmonton.

Kathy Bardswick

Our Keynote speaker, Kathy Bardswick, CEO, The Co-operators will speak on Solidarity in the Co-op Movement on Thursday afternoon.

Under Kathy’s leadership, The Co-operators has prospered and grown, and is recognized today as a leader in the Canadian insurance industry as well as the co-operative sector. She has led a transformation of the organization as it adopted more sustainable business practices over the past several years.  These accomplishments have earned a number of honours for The Co-operators in recent years.

In addition, Kathy sits on the Board of the International Co-operative Alliance, where she chairs the Commission on Co-operative Capital.  She will address the CWCF Conference on Solidarity in the Co-operative Movement just a few weeks before her retirement in December, 2016.

Some of the practical training topics we’ll cover are:

  • Managing the Democratic Process in a Worker Co-operative, by Alain Bridault
  • Financing Worker Co-ops
  • Legal Issues in Worker Co-ops, presented by lawyers Mary Childs (Vancouver) and Celia Chandler (Iler-Campbell, Toronto)
  • People and Co-ops: Maintaining Mutual Respect and Dignity within your Worker Co-op – reporting on new research, by Peter Hough
  • Strengthening your Co-op’s Value Proposition – Positioning your co-op for more effective sales:  through price, branding and advertising.
  • The Leap Manifesto and the Worker Co-op Movement.

Some of the other presenters include:

Andy Broderick

Andy Broderick, VP, Impact Market Development, Vancity and Managing Director, New Market Funds: Topic: Financing Worker Co-ops   

Now VP of Impact Market Development at Vancity after 5 years serving as head of Community Investment, Andy is also a managing director of New Market Funds, a non‐profit owned fund management company raising and deploying capital that both serves community needs and achieves risk‐adjusted market returns.  Andy was head of development (1996‐2000) then President  and CEO (2000‐2009) of Housing Vermont. There he founded Green Mountain Housing Equity Funds raising over $150 MM for affordable housing and Vermont Rural Ventures, a CDFI investing in lower income neighborhoods in Vermont. Andy current serves on the board of the Tsawwassen First Nation Economic Development Corporation.

Tracey Kliesch

Tracey Kliesch, General Manager and CEO, CCEC Credit Union: Topic: Financing Worker Co-ops 

Tracey is the General Manager and CEO of CCEC Credit Union in Vancouver. CCEC is an autonomous and independent financial co-operative founded by local community organizations and activists in 1976. Today it is owned by its more than 3400 members.

Tracey has worked in the credit union sector for more than 12 years and within that time has also completed multiple postings with credit unions internationally.

Tracey holds a Master’s degree in Co-operatives and Credit Union Management from St. Mary’s University and she teaches Co-operatives and Community Economic Development at BCIT.

Rebecca Kemble

Rebecca Kemble (US FWC Past President, and City Councillor, Madison, Wisc.: Topic: Solidarity Works, Reflections from the WC Movement

Rebecca Kemble was elected to the Madison Common Council representing District 18 in April, 2015. As an Alder, Rebecca backed the city’s Worker Cooperative Development Initiative. She currently serves on 12 City of Madison commissions and committees, including the Common Council Executive Committee, Economic Development Committee, Equal Opportunities Commission, Food Policy Committee, and the Transit and Parking Commission.

Rebecca is a worker-owner at Union Cab Cooperative and the past President of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives. She is currently the President of CICOPA North America, the sub-regional body of the worker cooperative sector of the International Cooperative Alliance. She is also the Vice President of CICOPA Americas and serves on the Executive Board of CICOPA worldwide.

Jessica Gordon-Nembhard

Jessica Gordon-Nembhard, Professor, Dept. of African American Studies, City University of New York (CUNY), and member, Grassroots Economic Organizing Collective: Topic: Solidarity Works, Reflections from the WC Movement

Author of Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice and 2016 inductee into the U.S. Cooperative Hall of Fame (www.heroes.coop), Jessica Gordon Nembhard is a political economist and Professor of Community Justice and Social Economic Development (in the Africana Studies Department at John Jay College, City University of NY).  She is also Director of John Jay’s McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, and an affiliate scholar with the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives (University of Saskatchewan, Canada).

She is the 2014 recipient of the “ONI Award” from the International Black Women’s Congress, and the 2011 recipient of the “Cooperative Advocacy and Research” Award from the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy.

Isabel Faubert-Mailloux

Isabel Faubert-Mailloux, Executive Director, Quebec Worker Co-operative Network / Réseau de la coopération du travail du Québec: Topic: Quebec Réseau presents its Parcours Coop or “Co-op Journey”

Diplômée en gestion des coopératives et détentrice d’un MBA spécialisé en entreprises collectives, Isabel Faubert Mailloux est directrice générale au Réseau de la coopération du travail du Québec.

Elle oeuvre auprès des coopératives de travail depuis 15 ans à divers niveaux : promotion, accompagnement, formations, développement et gestion de projets. Elle se passionne tout spécialement pour la démocratisation des milieux de travail et les processus de participation aux prises de décision en entreprise. Isabel Faubert Mailloux est co-auteur de cinq cahiers de recherche produits par la Chaire de coopération Guy-Bernier (coopératives sociales italiennes, coopératives en milieu autochtone, commerce équitable et instruments de financement de l’économie sociale).

Isabel Faubert Mailloux is Executive Director of the Quebec Worker Co-op Network (“Réseau”).  Isabel has a degree in Cooperative Management and holds an MBA in Collective Enterprises. She has worked with worker co-operatives for 15 years in various areas: promotion, support, training, development and project management. She is especially passionate about increasing democracy in the workplace and in participatory decision-making processes. Isabel Faubert Mailloux is co-author of five research papers produced by the Guy Bernier Chair in Co-operatives at the University of Quebec at Montreal (Italian social cooperatives, cooperatives in Aboriginal communities, fair trade, and financing instruments in the social economy).

Seth Klein

Seth Klein, BC Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives: Topic:  The Leap Manifesto and the Worker Co-op Movement

Seth is the BC Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a public policy research institute committed to social, economic and environmental justice. He has been a social activist for over 30 years.

Under his direction, CCPA-BC has grown to 14 employees, and publishes regular research reports on topics such as poverty and inequality, taxes, climate justice, and health care.

Seth served for eight years as co-chair of the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, and is on the Advisory Committee of the Metro Vancouver Living Wage for Families campaign. He is a co-founder of Next Up (a leadership training program for young people committed to social and environmental justice).

Celia Chandler

Celia Chandler, Lawyers:  Topic: Legal Issues in a Worker Co-op

Celia Chandler is a partner at Iler Campbell LLP, Ontario’s go‑to counsel for progressive organizations of all types and sizes; among them are many worker co‑ops. Celia has found her niche mostly working with housing co‑ops on human rights issues in member and employment matters.

Celia is a regular speaker for the Co‑operative Housing Federation of Canada and its various Ontario federations. With her law degree from UVIC, she is very pleased to be speaking in Vancouver and at the CWCF conference for the first time.


Jamie Bohach

Jamie Bohach,Strategic Client Manager, Western Region, The Co-operators: Topic: The Co-operators: Co-op Guard & Member Benefits

Jamie has over 18 years of experience in the insurance industry, including over five years with The Co‑operators where he worked extensively with the Advisor Sales team before moving to the Strategic Client Manager position.  Prior to joining Co-operators Life in 2011, Jamie worked for the Provincial Insurer in Saskatchewan where he held a variety of leadership roles.

Jamie holds his Level 3 General Insurance license and has completed the Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) designation through the Insurance Institute of Canada.  He has also just completed his Fellow Chartered Insurance Professional (FCIP) designation and will graduate in November of 2016.


Peter Hough

Peter Hough, Affinity Consulting, Co-author:  People and Co-ops: Maintaining Mutual Respect and Dignity within Your Worker Co-op

Peter is the principal of Affinity Consulting a practice engaged in co-operative development, research, training, and management. Peter has over 30 years of experience as a member, manager or director of worker and consumer co-operatives. In addition Peter has assisted with many co-operative start-ups, developing bylaws, conducting training programs, completing feasibility studies and business plans, and providing post start-up mentoring. Peter assisted in developing and administering the Co-op Index.



Yuill Herbert

Yuill Herbert, Sustainability Solutions Group:  Topic 1: The Leap Manifesto and the Worker Co-op Movement and Topic 2:  Indivisible Reserves 

Yuill has worked as a member of SSG on sustainability consulting projects for over fifteen years; he pioneered land-use and GHG emission planning, helped introduce the LEED for Homes rating system in Canada and co-developed the Integrated Design Process course used throughout Canada and the US. Yuill has worked on or led more than forty community energy and GHG plans and models across Canada. He has leading expertise on climate change mitigation and adaptation – systems modelling that incorporates energy, GHG emissions and co-benefits. Yuill serves as a director on the boards of the Canada Research Chair on Sustainable Community Development, the Canadian Worker Cooperative Federation and Tatamagouche Community Land Trust.


Optional tours on November 2nd will take us to: