Posted on

A Proposal for shining light into this darkness, with the Solidarity Co-operative Movement

The world around us has changed, suddenly and dramatically, as a result of Covid-19.  The co-operative model, especially when partnered with government, is a proven way to help people shine in times of darkness.  We need this type of partnership to unleash the co-operative potential inherent in all of us, and quickly.  The Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation (“CWCF”)  has been researching and incubating these ideas for decades, and feels called to partner with the Government of Canada to help people and communities save jobs and small businesses. Read the complete proposal.

Read more

Posted on

Board Member Profile: Jessica Valentine

CWCF is pleased to welcome Jessica Valentine to its board of directors, acclaiming her as its director for the BC/Yukon region at its 2019 AGM. Jessica has been a member of Woodshop Worker’s Co-op for the past six years, currently serving as its marketing director. She brings 15 years of sales and marketing experience to the role. Jessica believes in worker co-ops as a means of providing people with secure, meaningful employment in a collaborative environment. She joined the board of CWCF because of the organization’s desire to have a member from her region who could activate local communities. Community engagement is something she has experience with as the facilitator of the quarterly Vancouver social events known as Chats, Chews & Brews, organized by Vancity. Jessica believes that deepening connections among CWCF members presents both a challenge and an opportunity for the organization, given the costs that can arise from…

Read more

Posted on

Organic Planet Offers Food With a Philosophy

Over more than 40 years, the Winnipeg store now called Organic Planet has had several different names but one common mission: the distribution of food that matters.  This long journey began when a consumer co-op known as Harvest Collective opened in 1978, which ultimately declared bankruptcy in 1999 and closed its doors. A former member of the co-op then decided to purchase its assets and reopen it as a conventional business named Organza Foods, but in 2002 the building was damaged by fire and management opted not to rebuild.  A former produce manager at Harvest Collective meanwhile, had opened a similar store named Organic Planet just down the street, and made plans to renovate and move into the old Organza Foods location, but went out of business before this could be completed. A group of former employees, however, wanted to continue running the store as a worker co-op, and opened…

Read more

Posted on

A Message from CWCF

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…

Read more

Posted on

Multicultural Health Brokers Cooperative Is a Co-op That Builds Community

By Kenzie Love From humble beginnings as a pilot project focused on expecting parents in Edmonton’s Chinese immigrant community, Multicultural Health Brokers Cooperative (MCHB) has grown to a worker co-operative of 100 workers serving members of all ages from 30 different ethnolinguistic communities. Yvonne Chiu, the co-op’s executive director, has been with MCHB for this entire journey, and while she acknowledges the work has been challenging, she remains convinced of its importance. “I am very proud and excited about what we’ve accomplished,” she says.  Chiu’s relationship with MCHB began as a member of Edmonton’s public health department, conducting participatory action research that led to the training of a group of women from six immigrant communities working as childbirth educators. Aware of a gap in this area with Chinese and other immigrant communities, the women had decided to try and close it by serving as brokers between the families and the…

Read more

Posted on

Employee Succession: The Co-op Solution

By Kenzie Love “Where there’s a problem,” says Wendy Keats of the Co-op Enterprise Council of New Brunswick (CECNB), “there’s usually a co-op solution.” When it comes to the future of many small and medium-sized businesses in Canada, it’s hard to dispute that there’s a problem. By the end of 2023, 50 percent (550,000) of current small business owners will want to exit their businesses. A separate study, meanwhile, found that 75 percent of small business owners don’t have a succession plan.  And as the Globe and Mail reported,  “if many of those businesses simply close up shop, it could damage the economy through significant loss of employment.” So what’s the solution? Although it remains a relatively uncommon option, converting a family-owned small business into a worker co-op may have potential to address the succession crisis. Hazel Corcoran, Executive Director of the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation, points to a study…

Read more

Posted on

Webinar: Chucking the Co-operative Principles at the Peril of Worker Co-operatives

New Date: September 30, 2020, from 12 – 1p.m. ET Register on Eventbrite (free for members, $20 for non-members) Using illustrations from existing worker co-ops of various sizes and in various parts of Canada, Spain, and other countries, this webinar will look at why and how they relied on the Seven Co-operative Principles to get through difficult business and organizational challenges. This is not easy for worker co-operatives when they surrounded by a dominant culture, at least uninformed about co-operatives, and sometimes suspicious or even hostile towards them. Presented by Eric Tusz-King, this webinar will lay the groundwork for a future upcoming CWCF webinar which will focus specially on employing democracy in a worker co-operative. Presenter bio Eric Tusz-King is a member of Aster Environmental Services Co-operative in Sackville, New Brunswick. Previously Eric was a founding member and manager of EnerGreen Builders Co-operative that was created in 2006 to help…

Read more

Posted on

Report from the Executive Director, February 2020

By Hazel Corcoran CWCF Conference/new logo and website/North American Worker Co-op Summit II/GM Oshawa plant conversion/Investment Readiness Program proposal/ICA World Co-op Congress bid/Edmonton meet-and-greet. Plans for the CWCF 2020 Conference in Vancouver  (Nov 12-14, at the YWCA Hotel and another venue for the keynote) are proceeding apace.  We are thrilled to have confirmed the keynote: Nathan Schneider, a writer, professor and well-known public advocate for the co-op movement, especially platform co-operatives.  He is a professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is a millennial who has already written several books and spoken at many national and international conferences; we cannot wait to hear from Nathan! Progress also continues on CWCF’s dynamic new logo and new website. They’re a bit behind schedule, in part because the website developer has welcomed a new baby into their family at the start of the year.  Dru has been on parental leave (Congratulations, Dru Oja Jay,…

Read more