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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. 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 for discussions on Loomio over…

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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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Bringing Our Strategic Plan to Life

Since its founding in 1991, CWCF has had a vision of growing and strengthening the Canadian Worker Co-op movement, and in recent years, we’ve decided to take it to the next level. At the 2017 CWCF conference, members asked the Board and staff for a bold strategic plan, one that went beyond the status quo. As a result, a team led by Russ Christianson of Rhythm Communications conducted extensive consultations with CWCF’s members and others on their vision for the future of Canada’s worker co-op movement. In the consultation process, one participant came up with the idea of a bicycle as a metaphor for the movement – a bicycle on a sunny day, propelled by a tailwind. It’s an apt metaphor for our state of affairs, for we believe the future of the worker co-op movement in Canada is bright, provided we can harness our members’ energy behind it. CWCF’s…

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Procurement and Investment Readiness Fund

The Procurement and Investment Readiness Fund (PIRF) is a fund for revenue-generating social enterprises in Ontario to assess their procurement and investment readiness, and to access the services and capacity building supports necessary to successfully compete for procurement and investment opportunities. The Fund is administered by the Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet) in partnership with key leaders from the social enterprise sector. Available grants Capacity stream: (i) Assessment Grant (up to $5000); leading to the (ii) Capacity Building Grant (up to $50,000) Social enterprises that need help to assess their level of investment or procurement readiness can choose to apply to the Capacity stream for a preliminary Assessment Grant. If successful, the social enterprise will be eligible to apply for a larger Capacity Building Grant to build that required capacity. Catalytic stream: (iii) Catalytic Grant (up to $100,000) Organizations that have identified an investment or procurement which they are…

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Toronto Foundation’s social impact investment: open call for proposals

Toronto Foundation has long been dedicated to supporting positive social and environmental change to make life more equitable for everyone. Now, for the first time in its history, it is offering Social Impact Investments to the public through an open call for proposals. *** THIS IS NOT A CALL FOR GRANTS. INVESTMENTS MUST BE REPAID *** These one-time investments, made in partnership with MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, will range from $250,000 to $1,000,000 and will go to approximately five Ontario-based organizations that are creating positive social and environmental change for people across Ontario. A total of approximately $1.6M will be invested. The 2019 Social Impact Investment call for proposals is now open and will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, February 20, 2019. Access the submission guidelines and application form.  The following organizations are eligible to apply for social impact investments: Incorporated not-for-profit organizations For-profit organizations with public benefit clearly…

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