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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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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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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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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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Report from the Executive Director, June 2019

By Hazel Corcoran CWCF has had a full May and June.  Areas of significant focus have been to co-organize and hold the Quebec Worker Co-op Summit on June 17, and to continue planning for CWCF’s Conference in Tatamagouche, NS, to be held on Oct. 24 – 26.   See separate articles for both.  Further, our technical assistance grants are being placed; see the article on one of them, in the Ecosystem Collective Co-operative.  On May 9, I led a one-hour webinar on implementation of CWCF’s Strategic Plan.  There were some excellent ideas shared by participants, including focusing on convening worker co-ops in local areas for the purpose of helping co-ops solve challenges.  Another was to have a set of Loomio topics on practical issues, such as conflict resolution, engaging worker co-op members, etc.  In terms of building a member engagement strategy, it was noted that engaging with CWCF needs to be…

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Over 50 Co-operators Gather for Summit in Quebec City

by Hazel Corcoran, CWCF Executive Director With the theme of “Meeting Worker Co-op Challenges of 2019”, over 50 co-operators gathered for the Worker Co-op Summit in Quebec City on June 17 (photos are available here).   It was a rare and special opportunity for members of worker co-ops belonging to the Quebec Forestry Co-op Federation, Quebec Paramedic Co-op Federation, Réseau COOP and CWCF to be able to meet and learn from each other.  Guest speakers included US FWC Executive Director Esteban Kelly by live video conference; Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC) Executive Director André Beaudry; Conseil de la coopération et de la mutualité (CQCM) Executive Director Gaston Bédard; and (on pre-recorded video), Noam Chomsky.  The main themes explored via panels were worker co-op governance; the motivations to join a worker co-op; and federation services, with guest speakers covering other topics.  To kick off the day, the three Quebec Federations (Forestry, Paramedics,…

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Arts and Culture Grant Winner Chosen

First prize ribbon award vector CWCF is pleased to announce that after reviewing the six submissions received, it has decided on the winner for this year’s arts and culture grants. Eyemole Arts and Technology Co-operative received a $1000 grant, funded through a bequest from the late CWCF President Mark Goldblatt, to create an online interactive story about the history of co-ops. Congratulations to Eyemole, and thanks to everyone who applied. It was a very strong field, and the committee’s decision was not easy. The awards committee’s decision was informed by the following considerations. In order to be considered the initial pre-screen criteria included the following: ·       The key players needed to be under 35 years of age ·       The project promoted co-operatives in general ·       The project could be completed within the year. All projects submitted were then evaluated using the following criteria, listed in order of importance: ·       The…

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Report from the Executive Director, April 2019

Hazel Corcoran It is very exciting and energizing to be working under CWCF’s new Strategic Plan. The two main areas of focus are to Engage and Support our Members, and to Build Awareness and Scale Up Worker Co-ops, including collaborating with our members in the Solidarity Economy.  Thanks especially to significant member feedback, we have the sense that we are on the right path, and that we’re on the path together.  I’ll lead a one-hour webinar re: the new Strategic Plan on May 9th, at noon Eastern Time.  To RSVP, please click on this link.   In keeping with this new Strategic Plan, I am traveling more to meet with worker co-op members, and to help raise the profile of the worker co-op movement in the Solidarity Economy.  I attended and spoke on a panel early in March for a well-attended screening of the film A Silent Transformation in Toronto.…

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