2016 CWCF 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 (US FWC Past President, and City Councillor, Madison, Wisc.: Topic: Solidarity Works, Reflections from the WC Movement

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

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

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.


Mary Childs, Lawyer: Topic: Legal Issues in a Worker Co-op


Optional tours on November 2nd will take us to:

Thank you to our Conference Sponsors!

Major Sponsors

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Other Sponsors





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