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2014 CWCF-CoopZone Conference

conference image victor

Location

Old Orchard Inn
153 Greenwich Rd. S
Wolfville, NS B4P 2R2
Canada

Date: Thu, 2014-11-06 09:00Sat, 2014-11-08 14:30

Co-operative Collaborations:
Member Engagement and External Partnerships
November 6 – 8, 2014, with optional events in the evening of November 5th
NOTE: A general article on the Conference, as well as presentatations and updates from the Conference, have been posted here.

The Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation’s (CWCF) annual Conference and AGM which was held jointly with CoopZone took place in Wolfville, Nova Scotia on November 6 to 8, 2014

conference

Key highlights of the Conference included Worker Co-op Showcase Ignite presentations, presentations and discussion on the Indivisible Reserve and the new CWCF strategic plan and sessions on Worker Co-op Member Engagement and Recruitment and Evaluation in a Worker Co-op. There were several workshops on topics of practical interest to worker co-ops and developers.

This year the CWCF Merit Award was presented posthumously to Kevin Thompson.  The Merit Award recognizes outstanding contributions to the worker cooperative movement. The Merit Award is thus presented to someone who has made a particularly special contribution in the midst of a community of leaders, pioneers and inspirational people.  In 2000, Kevin, along with friend and business partner Jeff de Jong, assumed responsibility for La Siembra Workers Cooperative as a small fair trade and organic chocolate company and helped develop the cooperative as a national brand. Kevin had an unwavering commitment to the fair trade, organic and co-operative movements and was dedicated to building a successful business without compromising its values and commitment to community, relationships and fairness.  Receiving the award on behalf of Kevin and his family was Colin MacDougall.  In accepting this award Colin noted:

“I’m not the first to note the irony of singling out and honouring an individual for work in a sector that has collective success at the core of its purpose. But I think that this merit award is actually quite important; and I think that the CWCF presenting it to someone like Kevin is very powerful.  It speaks to perhaps the most important lessons I learned from Kevin in my years working with him:

  • Strong individual leadership has a very important & necessary place within in collectively run organizations.
  •  Democratic processes are not antithetical to individual accountability. In fact, without the latter, the former simply doesn’t work.
  • And it takes a special kind of leader indeed to recognize this and to bring their individual strength and vision into a collective, pool it with other individuals’ strengths and visions, and create something that is better.

Kevin was, in all respects, this type of special leader.”

Careforce Worker Co-operative was awarded the Worker Co-op Best Practices Award for its Co-op Orientation Program. Their program involves all workers and helps engage both members and workers in the co-op values.  Joel Stoddart, Business Development Manager at Carefore, said that

“Careforce is honoured to win the CWCF Best Practices award. Winning this award helps to validate our efforts to educate our employees in the ins and outs of worker coops. Even if some of our trainees ultimately choose not to become co-op members, we are proud to have empowered them to make an informed decision.”

Click here to read more from Careforce.  http://careforce.ca/careforce-wins-canadian-worker-co-op-best-practices-award.

Peter Hough, who will retire at the end of February and was thus at his last CWCF AGM in a staff role, was also honoured with very appreciative comments from Marty Frost, Mark Goldblatt and Hazel Corcoran (Executive Director for CWCF), as well as a parting gift.

At the AGM four resolutions were passed, notably a resolution redirecting investments to zero carbon and co-operative investments.

Two Board members, both incumbents, were acclaimed: Atlantic Director, Eric Tusz-King, of EnerGreen Builders’ Co-op in New Brunswick and at-large Director, Alain Bridault of Orion Co-op in Quebec City.

Continuing Board members include Ontario Director, Reba Plummer of the Urbane Cyclist (Toronto, ON), Quebec Director, Jessica Provencher, La Barberie (Quebec City, QC)), Prairies, NWT/NU Director Jamie Campbell of ParIT (Winnipeg, MB)), At-large Director Yuill Herbert of Sustainability Solutions Group (Tatamagouche, NS) and a new British Columbia/Yukon Director, Stephen Elliot-Buckley, of Incipe Cooperative (Burnaby, BC).

The CWCF Conference had the theme “Co-operative Collaborations: Member Engagement and External Partnerships”.  Sessions focused around keeping members engaged within their own worker co-op, providing evaluation and recruitment within a worker co-op and providing clear worker guidelines in order to strengthen worker co-ops.  Keynote speaker, José Orbaiceta, President, CICOPA-Mercosur, Argentina, shared his experiences on Building the Worker Co-op Movement in Argentina.  Many participants said they found his presentation powerful and inspiring.

Plenary topics included:
•    Member Engagement
•    Recruitment & Evaluation in a Worker Co-op Movement
•    Building the Worker Co-op Movement in Argentina, by José Orbaiceta, President of CICOPS-Mercosur, Argentina.

Conference workshop topics included:
•    What Should be Decided by Whom in a Worker Co-op?
•    Strengthen your Co-op with Clear Worker Guidelines
•    International Solidarity
•    Participatory Management
•    Expanding your Worker Co-op
•    Pricing for Profit
•    The Co-operative Advantage
•    Branding including Social Media
•    and more!

There was also be an opportunity to visit Just Us Coffee Roasters Co-op.

Once again we did IGNITE presentations. Click here to see the IGNITE presentations done last year.

We are very pleased to announce the 2014 CWCF Award winners.  The winner of the Worker Co-op Merit Award is Kevin Thomson (posthumously).  Kevin was a second generation founder of La Siembra Co-op in Ottawa, and a fair trade and co-operative pioneer.  Following his untimely death in March 2014, the CWCF Board has chosen to recognize the legacy that he leaves.  The winner of the Worker Co-op Best Practices Award is Careforce Homecare, for their Co-op Member Orientation Program.  Careforce will present at the Conference about this innovative program, which they offer to all prospective members.

The following are a list of presenters (name of organizations, topics and Powerpoint presentations are also provided):

Alain Bridault from CWCF

  • Indivisible Reserves including AGM Resolution, & Strategic Plan
  • Forum Topic #1: Worker Co-op Member Engagement, ORION Research and Consulting Co-op

Av Singh from Centre for Small Farms

  • Site Visit to Just Us Coffee Roasters Co-op/ Fair Trade Museum & Acadia Cinema Co-op

Colin MacDougall from CWCF

  • Participatory Management in a worker co-op

Debra Moore from Just Us

  • Participatory Management in a worker co-op

Eric Tusz-King from EnerGreen Co-op

  • Worker Co-ops 101 and Opportunity Assessment

Hazel Corcoran from CWCF

  • Indivisible Reserves including AGM Resolution, & Strategic Plan
  • Unions and Worker Co-ops: a Vision for a New Economy

Jeff Moore from Just Us

  • Unions and Worker Co-ops: a Vision for a New Economy

Jessica Provencher from La Barberie

  • Forum Topic #2: Recruitment and Evaluation in a Worker Co-op

Joel Stoddart from Careforce

  • Strengthen your Co-op with Clear Worker Guidelines
  • The Careforce Co-op Orientation Program as a way to engage members

José Orbaiceta from CICOPA-Mercosur

  • Keynote: Building the Worker Co-op Movement in Argentina
  • Unions and Worker Co-ops: a Vision for a New Economy

Karen Miner from St. Mary’s University

  • Impact & Relevance of Co-op Business Education for Co-ops

Kathryn Anderson from Breaking the Silence Network

  • Site Visit to Just Us Coffee Roasters Co-op/Fair Trade Museum & Acadia Cinema Co-op

Kelly Storie from La Siembra

  • Site Visit to Just Us Coffee Roasters Co-op/ Fair Trade Museum & Acadia Cinema Co-op

Kristen Barker from Union Worker Co-op Initiative

  • Unions and Worker Co-ops: a Vision for a New Economy

Manon Monette from Co-operators

  • The Co-operators’ Co-op Guard & Member Benefits Insurance Program

Marty Frost from DEVCO

  • Forum Topic #2: Recruitment and Evaluation in a Worker Co-op
  • Financing using investment shares and CEDIFs, CEDB’s, & Opportunity Development Co-ops

Michaël Béland from CMC

  • Developer-Focused Workshop

Peter Hough, CWCF Financial Officer

  • Pricing for Profit
  • Expanding your Worker Co-op

Pierre Laliberté from ILO

  • Unions and Worker Co-ops: a Vision for a New Economy

Reba Plummer from Urbane Cyclist

  • Forum Topic #2: Recruitment and Evaluation in a Worker Co-op
  • Strengthen your co-op with Clear Worker Guidelines

Rebecca Kemble from Union Cab

  • Forum Topic #1: Worker Co-op Member Engagement: Union Cab’s Member Engagement Process

Ryszard Stocki from Co-op Index

  • Participatory Management in a worker co-op
  • The Worker Co-op Index

Seth Leon from ACCA

  • Financing using investment shares and CEDIFs, CEDB’s, & Opportunity Development Co-ops

Stephen Elliott-Buckley from Incipe

  • The Co-operative Advantage and Branding, including Social Media

Todd MacEwan from PEI-CC

  • Financing using investment shares and CEDIFs, CEDB’s, & Opportunity Development Co-ops

Victor Das from Unite Digital Co-op

  • The Co-operative Advantage and Branding, including Social Media

Wendy Keats from CEC New Brunswick

  • Developer-Focused Workshop

Wilf Bean from Coady Institute

  • Popular Education as a tool for social change

Yuill Herbert from SSG

  • The Co-operative Advantage and Branding, including Social Media
  • Indivisible Reserves including AGM Resolution, & Strategic Plan

 

Thanks to our major sponsors:
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