The Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation 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 was incorporated in 1992.
At the CWCF, our vision is…
To be a growing, cohesive network of democratically controlled worker co-ops that provide a high quality of worklife, and support the development of healthy, just and sustainable local economies, based on co-operative values and principles.
Our mission is…
- To work in solidarity with our members to achieve our Vision of a Co-operative Economy;
- To support the development of new worker co-ops;
- To strengthen the Federation, to animate the worker co-operative movement; and
- To represent and promote the Canadian worker co-op movement in Canada and internationally.
At a meeting in February of 1990, representatives of worker cooperatives from across Canada came together for the first time to discuss whether there was a need for developing a national organization to represent their interests. Although worker co-ops had been on the agenda with the Canadian Co-operative Association (now Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada) and the federal Co-operatives Secretariat, which saw them as having the potential to lead a new wave of co-op development, worker co-operators themselves had little input on the national level and only marginal communication among themselves. It was clear after a couple of days of meetings that there was an opportunity that could only be met by forming a national organization. Further discussion led to outlining the following objects to guide the Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation (CWCF), which was founded the following year in the spring of 1991, in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.
To work for the development and expansion of businesses organized according to co-op principles and the principles of worker ownership and control, and to promote the ideals of democracy in the work place.
To provide leadership and a voice for worker co-ops through:
- Creating a vision and a strategy for the development of worker co-ops in Canada;
- Representing the interests of worker co-ops to the co-op sector, governments, other organizations and the public;
- Creating and maintaining adequate resources for the development of existing and new worker co-ops, both alone and in cooperation with others;
- Increasing support for, and understanding of, worker co-ops;
- Providing forums for networking between worker co-ops and support for regional and industrial actions on appropriate issues; and
- Encouraging the development of worker co-ops internationally.
The CWCF has carried out its activities on a relatively modest but sustainable budget and, with a very involved volunteer Board of Directors. An Executive Director is employed to manage operations. Starting in 2010, a Communications and Member Services Manager was also hired. An RRSP Program Manager, Administrator and Assistant run our program to enable placement of co-op shares into RRSPs and TFSA’s. There is also a part-time Communications Assistant and a part-time Executive Assistant.
CWCF approved its 2019-2022 strategic plan at the 2018 AGM.