By Kaye Grant

At our recent 2021 Virtual AGM held on November 17, 2021, there was the usual business, however, we were delighted to have greetings provided by Hugues Bourgeois, Interim Executive Director, Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada, and Alexandra Wilson, Board Vice Chair, Co-operators and Francesca Zaganelli, Membership Coordinator, CICOPA, Brussels. Reflecting on the conference and AGM after the fact, Alexandra and fellow Co-operators board member Jim MacFarlane observed that attending these provided “a fascinating glimpse of this type of co-operative.”

There were four vacancies on the board to be filled at the AGM.  CWCF welcomed the return of three board members: Reba Plummer of Urbane Cyclist Co-operative in Toronto, (Ontario Director) Jessica Provencher in Quebec (Quebec Director) and Sandra Allen of Shift Delivery Co-op in Vancouver (BC/Yukon Director).   We also welcomed a new board member, Kelly Storie of La Siembra Co-operative (Camino), Ottawa (At-large Director).  Welcome and congratulations to both our returning and new board members!  

We received reports from our President, Reba Plummer and our Executive Director, Hazel Corcoran.  You can read all about our last year in CWCF’s Annual Report, here.  It was a year like no other, with a bright future ahead for the Solidarity Economy and Worker Co-op Movement as noted by Hazel Corcoran in her report. Reporting on our second year during the pandemic, Hazel noted that most of our members continued to show resilience amidst these ongoing challenging circumstances, although supported in some cases by government programming.  Hazel also provided an update regarding our progress on our strategic plan, noting some adaptations we have made in reaction to the ongoing pandemic.  

Hazel announced the new name for our RRSP/TSFA program, which is now called Common Good Capital, CWCF’s Registered Plans Program.  CWCF will become more active in marketing our program in the next year.  

One of CWCF’s major initiatives over the past year has been our Worker Co-op Academy. A project long in the making, the Academy draws its inspiration from le Réseau COOP’s successful Parcours COOP program, offering entrepreneurs a framework for setting up their worker co-operative, with the aim of increasing the success of these projects through structured support.

Hazel concluded her report by noting that looking back over the year and also looking forward, we can see that the worker co-operative movement in Canada is in a take-off position, and in a new way.

CWCF’s Treasurer, Evan Proven shared our Audited Financial Statements noting a net loss mostly related to our Tenacity Loan program’s operating expenses and the cumulative investment loss in the CCIF Limited Partnership.  However, CWCF continues to have a healthy reserve which helps us provide co-op development services and supports to our members.  Bishop & Company was again appointed to be the auditor for the current year. 

The CWCF 2021-22 budget was also presented to the membership.  While the operations budget shows a surplus, CWCF is allocating $43,500 from our reserves towards co-op development for the next year.  $10,000 of this will directly support the activities of our action plan to build racial justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in the worker co-op movement. 

There were no resolutions presented to the AGM. 

We wish to thank our sponsors for their support of our Conference and AGM: Cooperators, Just Us Coffee Roasters, the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada and the Ontario Co-operative Association.  

CWCF’s next AGM will be in Vancouver next November 17th to 19th, 2022.  We hope to see you there!