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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.

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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…

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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…

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COVID-19 VIRUS Resources

Last updated March 28, 2020 The continued spread of the COVID-19 virus has understandably generated many concerns and questions. CWCF encourages its members to follow the information provided by the following sources, while keeping in mind that the situation is fluid and subject to rapid change. We will be updating this page as more resources become available. Health Resources Government of Canada: Updates on the number and location of infections in Canada, information on symptoms, travel advice, awareness and prevention resources. Centers for Disease Control: Resources for businesses and employers and families, with the opportunity to subscribe to email updates. CDC Webinars: How to protect myself? COVID-19 Stop the Spread of Germs   World Health Organization: Global updates, travel advice, information on ongoing research. Business and Employment Resources Co-operatives Eligible for Government Support: Message from CMC outlining government support measures. Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses: Links to Information on keeping employees safe,…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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CWCF Arts and Cultural Granting Program Seeking Submissions

Thanks to the generosity of the late CWCF past president Mark Goldblatt, CWCF is once again offering a small grant, up to $1000, to help pay for an arts and cultural projects to promote co-operatives (preferably worker co-operatives). There will also be a grant of $350, sponsored by the Big Idea Foundation, awarded to the second-place entry. Eligible projects must be youth-generated (individual or a group/organization) and take place within Canada during the year following the application deadline (between May 1 to April 30). Eligible projects include visual art, music, a video, theatre, a cultural event, etc. Go to http://canadianworker.coop/co-op-world-music-project/ for examples of projects involving video and music, especially projects 3 and 4, which were created by youth. The deadline for applications has been extended to April 30 this year.  CWCF will publicly share the project description, and eventually the project. If you or your group is approved for support,…

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CWCF Conference 2020

Photo courtesy of Stocksy United Co-operative CWCF is pleased to announce Nathan Schneider as the keynote speaker for our 2020 conference November 12-14 in Vancouver, BC.  Photo by Eleanor Williamson Nathan has extensive experience covering the worker co-op sector, including his recent book Everything for Everyone: The Radical Tradition that Is Shaping the Next Economy, in which he explored how co-ops can form the foundation of a democratic economy. Nathan is an assistant professor of media studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he leads the Media Enterprise Design Lab. He is the author God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet and Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse, both published by University of California Press. His articles have appeared in publications including Harper’s, The Nation, The New Republic, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times, The New Yorker,…

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Webinar: The Social and Solidarity Economy (“SSE”) and Worker Co-ops

The slide deck and audio recording of the webinar are available below. Co-ops inevitably overlap with other movements and in this webinar we will explore how worker co-ops fit into the Social and Solidarity Economy and with social enterprises. We invite participants to come with ideas of how to better partner in these spaces for mutual benefit, and have ideas on how CWCF can partner for the benefit of the worker co-op movement. Given that collaboration with the social and solidarity economy is a significant aspect of our strategic plan, we would like to provide the opportunity for more members to attend this session.  This presentation is quite similar to what was offered at our fall Conference.   Here are a few comments from the Conference session: “With her vantage point as chair of the International Co-op Alliance Research Committee, Sonja explains this important topic with clarity and pragmatism.”“Great to learn…

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