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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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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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2020 CWCF Membership Renewal Is Open

These are exciting times for CWCF.  We’ve begun implementing our strategic plan, and we’re already starting to see results in a number of areas, from working to grow our Tenacity Works Investment Fund, to partnering with Green Jobs Oshawa on a feasibility study for a worker-owned electric vehicle production facility at the old GM plant. We’re also working on implementing the Parcours worker co-op startup training program, and we recently concluded a successful conference in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia. Meanwhile, we’re already looking ahead to the 2020 conference in Vancouver. In short, we’ve been busy. While these may be exciting times for CWCF, we’re aware of the challenges currently facing both worker co-ops and society as a whole: rising unemployment, precarious employment, growing income inequality, the impacts of the climate crisis, and more. But these are challenges to which the worker co-op movement is well-positioned to respond. Through building equality and…

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Worker Co-op Meet & Greet (and Free Dinner*) CWCF is coming to Edmonton!

Soirée de réseautage pour coops de travail La FCCT vient à Edmonton!** Worker Co-ops in the Edmonton area are invited to a Meet-&-Greet to meet CWCF Executive Director Hazel Corcoran and CWCF Board member Yvonne Chiu (MCHB Co-op), meet each other, and share stories.  Date: Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020 at 7:00-9:00 pm (Meet & Greet) 5:30–7:00 pm (optional dinner) Please RSVP by January 31 at https://forms.gle/PK7BY67iLShR7yaYA DETAILS Location:  Surinder’s Suite, Multicultural Health Brokers’ Office, Edmonton Intercultural Center (9538 – 107 Avenue – McCauley School site) Directions: Please kindly come to either the door at the back of the school building from the parking lots, or the Girls’ Entrance at the front of the school.  Each of these doors has a buzzer for gaining entrance. The office is on the main floor at the end of the hallway to your left.  Please contact Yvonne at (780) 710-1577 if you have difficulties finding…

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Board Member Profile: Frank Bezanson-Harris

CWCF is pleased to welcome Frank Bezanson Harris to its board of directors, acclaiming him as a director-at-large at its AGM. Frank has been with Just Us! Coffee Roasters Co-op for over 16 years, and a member of its board of directors for much of that time. He has also served on the board of the Wolfville Farmers Market, a nonprofit co-op, for much of that time, currently serving as its vice president.  Frank’s experience with Just Us! has convinced him that membership in CWCF is an important part of its success. He’s found in connecting with nearby co-ops that they often have answers to problems Just Us! has faced, and he hopes to continue fostering this collaboration. “Being in the Atlantic provinces and being in a small town, you can be very isolated,” he says. “Being involved in CWCF offers the opportunity to network and share resources with people…

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