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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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CWCF Arts and Cultural Granting Program Seeking Submissions

The Canadian Worker Co-op Federation’s past president Mark Goldblatt died of an apparent heart attack in 2015, a great loss to the Canadian co-op community. Thanks to Mark’s bequest, however, his legacy lives on in the form of small grants, up to $1000, to help pay for arts and cultural projects to promote co-operatives, (preferably worker co-operatives). The project 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 application is March 22nd each year, and the successful applicant will be notified by April 30. CWCF will publicly share the project description, and eventually the project. If you or…

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Fourth Pig Construction Cuts Carbon Emissions Through Green Building Techniques

Fourth Pig cofounder Matt Adams (left) In CWCF’s recently approved strategic plan, one of the priorities established was increased member engagement.  Members want to build greater connections with each other and learn from each other’s successes and challenges. That’s why we’re going to start profiling one of our member co-ops in each issue, beginning with Fourth Pig Construction. We hope these brief profiles will be engaging and informative and lift up the human side of co-ops. When Fourth Pig Construction launched in 2007, its founders were out to make a difference, both in the type of buildings they made and the type of business they established. They were going to make and renovate buildings using green building methods that would reduce carbon emissions. And they were going to be a worker co-op. “Our feeling was that if we want to build differently then we should also have an organization that’s…

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CWCF Awards – Please Submit Nominations!

Nominations are sought by July 27th, 2018 for either or both of the CWCF Awards which can be given at each annual Conference. CWCF strongly encourages worker co-ops to nominate either their own or another co-op for the Worker Co-op Best Practices Award, or an individual for the Worker Co-op Merit Award. Award winners, who are generally from the region in which the Conference is held, will have their registration and expenses covered to attend the Conference. Submit your nominee(s) to Kaye Grant, communications@canadianworker.coop, with a brief write-up as to why you are nominating the co-op or the individual. The award winners will be chosen by the Board of CWCF. The details of each Award can be found here.

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