Executive Director’s Report – September 2020

By Hazel Corcoran

Parcours training program/Covid-19 support/AGM/Call for board candidates /Ongoing lobby work/Webinars

CWCF is working actively with le Réseau COOP in Quebec to adapt their worker co-op training program to English Canada, and we expect to launch it in January.  It’s called le Parcours COOP, loosely translated as “Co-op Journey.”  This program offers entrepreneurs a framework for setting up their worker co-operative, with the aim of increasing the success of these projects through structured support. It’s also a significant opportunity to strengthen the bonds between Réseau COOP and CWCF, who have been allies for many years but have never before co-operated so closely to replicate a successful model. 

CWCF understands that most of the worker co-ops across the country are surviving in the pandemic — and in some cases even thriving — though we recognize that this has been greatly supported by government programming.  Due to continuing uncertainty, including on how long the government programs will continue, CWCF is extending its Covid-19 support programs, specifically for the $2,000 grants and emergency loans of up to $20,000, into its new financial year which started on September 1st.

CWCF’s AGM will take place, virtually, on November 13, 2020 at noon Eastern Time for up to two hours, and will include at least one guest speaker on the theme of anti-racism/diversity/inclusion and economic democracy.     

There are two incumbent directors whose terms are ending, and neither will run again.  We are seeking candidates for these positions.  Serving on CWCF’s board can be an important way both to contribute to the worker co-op movement and to build connections with others in the sector.  Outgoing director Eric Tusz-King found that his long tenure on the board acquainted him with a committed group of people, and he appreciates the camaraderie that he shared with fellow board members during this time.  Both of the positions are for at-large seats, open to candidates from any region of the country.  CWCF seeks to have a diverse, inclusive board.  To be eligible to run, one must be a worker-owner in a worker co-op or nominated by a regional worker co-op federation.  If you are interested in running or nominating someone, we encourage you to reach out to Nominating Committee Chair, Eric Tusz-King at erictuszking@gmail.com

We are continuing our lobby work to seek programming to facilitate business successions to worker co-ops as one response to the economic crisis caused by Covid, having held several meetings with both MPs and political staff throughout the summer. 

Our July 28 webinar featuring Nathan Schneider “On a Shared Strategy for Shared Ownership” drew a large audience and positive feedback in our participant survey. Thanks to all who attended.  The slides and audio recording are available here.  Please note that Eric Tusz-King is presenting a webinar on “Building a Resilient and Equitable Economy Post-Covid” on October 23 (see the article below), and stay tuned for more information on additional webinars in the coming months.