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Climate Leadership through Electric Vehicle Production in Oshawa

By Hazel Corcoran CWCF and Green Jobs Oshawa funded a preliminary feasibility study on transitioning to electric vehicle (EV) production under democratic ownership at the GM plant in Oshawa.  After having received over $10.8 billion in federal and Ontario government bail-outs in 2009, some of which was never repaid, GM Canada announced last year that it would close the plant in Oshawa in December 2019 terminating 2,500 jobs in the plant, with estimates as high as 20,000 total jobs lost including multiplier jobs.   The feasibility study, written by Russ Christianson and released at a public forum in Oshawa on September 19th concludes that converting the plant to EV production is possible.  Significant government investment and procurement including for Canada Post vehicles would be required.  Green Jobs Oshawa is in favour of democratic public ownership, which CWCF has advocated should include a meaningful element of worker and community control.  Converting this…

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Welcome New Members!

CWCF is pleased to welcome three new members. Congratulations to Eyemole, Drivers Coalition, and Hypha! Eyemole Arts and Technology Co-operative, Vancouver:  Eyemole is a worker co-op that produces digital media and provides consulting services to values-aligned clients.  Services include app development, web design and development, augmented and virtual reality, graphic design, and more.  Drivers Coalition Worker Co-op, Edmonton:  Drivers Coalition Worker Co-op has recently incorporated, and it seeks to provide transport and moving services including truck repair and provision of parking and towing.  The Co-op does not yet have a website. Hypha Worker Co-op, Toronto, etc.:  Hypha is a tech worker co-operative offering web design, digital product development, research, and strategy services. With members located in Ontario, it seeks to cultivate collective growth and meaningful livelihoods through learning and building technologies together.

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Bio of Laura MacDonald

CWCF hired Laura MacDonald to work in our Kentville, Nova Scotia office as RRSP Program Assistant. She is working very part-time for now on various RRSP transactions for this growing program, including data entry, account statement mail-outs, etc. The role will be much busier, and closer to full-time during RRSP season when CWCF handles a high volume of RRSP transactions. When she’s not working at CWCF, Laura owns and operates Deep Hollow Print, a letterpress printing and graphic design studio in the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia. In her printshop attached to her home, she prints on a 1930s-era cylinder press using antique wood type and original carved linoblocks. She makes gig posters, art prints, cards, and other printed ephemera. Scheduling between Deep Hollow Print and CWCF works out well because Deep Hollow’s busy period in the year corresponds to CWCF’s quiet period in the RRSP program, and vice versa.…

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August, 2019 Executive Director Report

By Hazel Corcoran In this report, I’ll focus on CWCF’s upcoming Conference and our technical assistance grant program.  The report also includes a brief update about our video with Noam Chomsky, CWCF’s upcoming website overhaul, our recent staff meeting, and GM Oshawa. Plans are well underway for CWCF’s annual Conference, with the theme of Building Resilient Communities, to be held in Tatamagouche, NS on October 24th – 26th.  We are excited about the program.  We will be welcoming Hannah Martin, a Mi’kmaw woman from the traditional, unceded territory of Taqamiju’jk (Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia) as our keynote speaker.  She will speak on the challenges of climate change and of First Nations communities.  Other sessions will cover topics including: Member Peer Coaching, facilitated by Eric Tusz-King and Kaye Grant, Building Your Co-op’s Financial Viability, facilitated by Peter Hough, The Social and Solidarity Economy, and Worker Co-ops, with Sonja Novkovic, of the Co-op…

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How Co-ops Are Responding to Climate Change

As with all businesses, the climate crisis presents a challenge for worker co-ops, and at this point there may be as many questions as there are answers. But here’s a start at understanding some of the issues they face. How are co-ops uniquely positioned to respond to climate change? Co-ops’ unique ability to respond to climate change lies in their seven principles. Colin MacDougall of SSG, a co-op that works with cities, campuses, and institutions on climate planning, believes that coops are inherently prone to concern about climate change because of their concern for community, one of the seven principles. “When you allow democracy to sort of, you know flourish and lead decisions within the organization you’ll find that the type of problems that the organization looks to tackle will broaden a lot more and start to consider a lot more social considerations more than financial considerations,” he says.  This…

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Join the Conversation on Loomio

Increased member engagement is a key part of CWCF’s strategic plan. That’s why we’re working to make our conferences more accessible, holding other regional gatherings, and increasing the frequency of visits to our members. We’re doing these things because we know the importance of connecting in person. But we also realize it’s not the only way for our members to stay in touch. That’s why we’re hoping you’ll connect with us — and each other — on the online platform Loomio, which is a worker co-op. CWCF hosted a series of conversations on Loomio last year as part of our strategic planning process. Thanks to all who participated — you provided us with valuable input. And if you missed out on the first round, now’s your chance to get involved. We’ll be launching a new blog in the coming months, and we hope it will serve as a starting point…

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Report on Nova Scotia Co-operative Council AGM

By Kristin VanHattem, CWCF’s RRSP/TFSA Program Manager and Bookkeeper Kristin represented CWCF at the meeting. The overall tone of the AGM was celebratory, given that NSCC is marking its 70th year. Jeff Yuill presided over the meeting. Remarks were offered by two partners: John Harvie (the Cooperators) and Mike Leonard (Atlantic Central & League Savings). Mike noted that for the fifth year in a row, more people are joining credit unions. Dianne Kelderman gave an overview of her President’s Report, which can be found in its entirety in NSCC’s 2018 Annual Report. She highlighted a few key results & achievements: Youth in Agriculture / Career Rising initiative: geared toward at-risk youth; has provided opportunities for 70 youth so far; many went on to work with co-ops or pursue post-secondary education/trainingConnecting People for Health Co-operative: launched in 2010 as Canada’s first and only online healthcare clinic; acquired by Shoppers Drug Mart…

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Co-ops Benefit from Technical Assistance Grants

Two co-ops that were recently awarded grants through CWCF’s Technical Assistance program greatly appreciated the help they received and would recommend the program to others. West Arm Woodworking, a fledgling co-op in Nelson, BC, sought the grant for assistance in drafting liability waivers for use of its workshop. The co-op worked with Vancouver lawyer Mary Childs to create the waivers, which worker-owner Danielle Soucie says was a crucial part of their operations. “It was definitely necessary and we’re super thankful for the grant that we received from CWCF in order to hire her,” says Soucie. Toronto’s Urbane Cyclist also benefited from a grant which helped it deal with issues arising from its recent restructuring. Urbane’s Owen Ardal says the chance to work with longtime co-op developer Russ Christianson was a great opportunity. “It was very helpful and insightful to have him there, and even just talking in more loose forms…

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Report of Bologna Tour 2019

Professor Stefano Zamagni, University of Bologna Article by Chris Nichols, co-founder of Wood Shop Worker Coop  From May 26 to June 7, 2019, I had the immense privilege of attending a Vancity-sponsored tour of the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. Vancity, as a financial-services cooperative – or credit union as it is more commonly called – has been organizing this tour since 2003. It brings groups of its executive leadership and local community partners to Italy to learn from the cooperatives in this area, providing education and inspiration and a way for Vancity to embrace its cooperative foundation. It is a two-week immersive experience that will make you a coop enthusiast for life.  In many ways, Emilia-Romagna is a world leader in the strength, density, and cultural resonance of its cooperative sector. One in seven people in this region work in a cooperative, and, in being there, one is struck…

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Bio of Hannah Martin

Hannah Katli’n Martin is a Mi’kmaw woman from the traditional, unceded territory of Taqamiju’jk (Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia) Mi’kma’ki (territory of the Mi’kmaq) and is a member of the Millbrook First Nation community. Hannah is a recent graduate from the Honours Indigenous Studies program at McMaster University, and completed her degree as a 2015 Joyce/Crawford Loran Scholar. As an undergrad passionate about Indigenous community-building and reconciliation, Hannah chaired the Indigenous Health Movement (IHM) McMaster Chapter for two consecutive terms and served as president of the Cooperative of Indigenous Studies Students and Alumni from 2018-2019. Hannah is a passionate advocate for cultural reclamation, justice, human rights and Mi’kmaq self-determination. She is a hand drummer, singer and practitioner of traditional knowledge whose determination comes from a deep love for her culture, family, community, ancestors, future children and the generations to come. In 2018, Hannah was recognized for her work when she received the…

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