With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we find ourselves in the midst of difficult times and a rapidly changing situation. We have set up a post on our website that already contains many valuable resources, and we will be adding to it as more become available. But in the meantime, we wanted to let you know both how we are responding, and how you can as well.
In order to stay safe in the pandemic, CWCF has taken the following decisions to protect CWCF staff and the communities served by the organization:
- Meetings for board and staff have been replaced with virtual meetings.
- Travel and professional gatherings have been limited, and/or will be virtual. If possible, they can be postponed to a later date.
- Management is encouraging employees to work from home, to the extent possible. Employees can be reached by email and phone during working hours.
We hope you are also staying safe and healthy, and we invite you to learn more about COVID-19 and to take personal measures to protect yourself from it. We all have a role to play in mitigating the effects of the virus, and we can be a model of social responsibility by making the health and wellbeing of workers and communities our top priority.
Beyond taking protective measures, however, we must contend with the impact of the pandemic in other ways. We know many of our members may be grappling with social isolation, loss of business, financial insecurity, and other consequences of the virus. Solutions to all of these problems may not be obvious or easy, but one thing we can do is stay connected. We are looking at ways we can use our social media and networking platforms to maintain the ties that bind the Canadian worker co-op movement, and ensure that even if we cannot presently meet in person, we don’t lose touch with each other. Stay tuned for more details on this in the very near future.
The challenges of the pandemic, of course, aren’t limited to our members, and as often happens in times of crisis, this one has highlighted many of the ongoing inequities in our society, the problems inherent in our current economic system, and the inordinate impact of the pandemic on the marginalized among us. While the virus may have shone a spotlight on these issues, none of them are new, and all of them are issues CWCF has and will continue to try to address by advocating for the worker co-op model. We will be stepping up our lobbying efforts to convince governments to make long-sought changes that will strengthen existing worker co-ops, make it easier to create new ones, and lead to a more just and equitable world.
While the staff of CWCF would like to provide support and guidance to our members, however, we don’t pretend to have all the answers. We’re eager to hear from you on innovative ideas you may have on dealing with this crisis. Do you have resources or samples you would like to share or a plan for your cooperative you think other coops could benefit from? If so, email our Communications and Member Services Manager, Kaye Grant, at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will ensure it is shared. We will also be hosting a webinar to discuss how we can best co-operate during these times.
At times like these, it is always worth remembering why we do what we do: the shared belief we have, grounded in our co-op principles, that there is a better way. May we continue to affirm and promote these principles, especially our concern for community, going forward.