1. Information and Learning Sessions
CWCF members receive discounts on registration fees (and travel subsidies, for co-op members) to attend the CWCF conference, held annually, in a different region of the country each year.
This conference emphasizes person-to-person networking and practical workshops directed at enhancing the skills of CWCF’s members. Workshops topics have included capitalization, conflict resolution, crisis management, strategic planning, the RRSP program, gender issues, and many more. Proceedings from the prior several years of conferences are available on the CWCF website. The next conference will take place in Quebec City on November 14-16, 2023.
Access to Hard-to-Find Information on Worker/ Multi-stakeholder Co-op Issues
CWCF’s Resource Guide, in the form of web links to practical documents, is designed to be used as a reference guide by people considering the start-up of a worker co-op (or multi-stakeholder co-op with partial worker control) and organizations that support co-op development, as well as by co-ops that are operating.
Members receive our electronic newsletter. Read articles on subjects such as events and webinars of interest to worker co-operators, how to find capital for a co-op, profiles of worker/multi-stakeholder co-ops in Canada and internationally, and much more.
CWCF provides webinars for worker co-op members and the public, and PowerPoint presentations from these webinars are available to the public here. Most sessions are recorded and these recordings are also often available. These sessions have covered topics such as Conflict Management, Good Governance, Financial Reporting, and Learning from Failure to Lead to Co-op Success. Other topics covered include marketing, finances, taxation and co-op legislation.
Worker Co-op Bylaws
2. Access to Technical Assistance, Capital and Development Grants
Access to Technical Assistance Grants, and Capital
CWCF’s Technical Assistance Grant program provides small grants up to $4,000 to co-op members of CWCF to hire professional help (co-op developers and lawyers who are members of CoopZone, and potentially others, if necessary) to deal with issues they are facing.
Direct technical assistance and connections to other sources of funding is available to members via CWCF’s Technical Assistance Consultations program.
Further, CWCF may be able to provide capital to your co-operative through our Tenacity Works Worker Co-op Fund, typically with loans in the range of $15,000 to $50,000. For financing needs greater than $50,000, CWCF refers co-ops to the Canadian Co-operative Investment Fund (CCIF), and asks that worker co-ops applying to CCIF contact CWCF so that CWCF can assist in the process of obtaining capital from CCIF.
Common Good Capital: CWCF’s RRSP-TFSA Program
Members have access to the Common Good Capital, the CWCF RRSP and TFSA program. The program facilitates the members of a co-op to invest any shares they own in their co-op into individual member’s Self-Directed RRSPs and/or TFSAs.
NOTE: Federal rules require that each investor in this program hold less then 10% of each class of shares. Therefore there must be at least 11 member investors and/or outside investors, preferably more, for a co-op to be eligible to use this program.
Access to Professionals who provide Technical Assistance to Co-ops
CWCF formed a Network of Worker Co-op Developers, which is now integrated into the CoopZone Developers’ Network Co-operative, to help ensure that there are competent consulting resource people available to groups wishing to start a worker co-op, or who need assistance once the co-op is operating.
Access to Member Benefits, CMC
CWCF members (as Members of a Member) are eligible to receive member benefits, such as discounted member rates for programs and Conferences, from Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada.
3. Access to Group Insurance Plans via Co-operators
Member Benefits Program – insurance for individuals
This program provides individual members of your co-op access to exclusive, value-added coverage and savings for a wide range of products. Read more about the special coverages available to CWCF members. Contact Co-operators today to learn about how your members can get more through the Member Benefits Program.
Co-op Guard® – insurance for co-operatives
Created by and for co-operatives, Co-op Guard® combines all the protection your co-operative needs in one complete package. Each co-op has its own unique needs so you can tailor the coverage to your own needs. Coverages range from essential liability coverages like Commercial General Liability and Blanket Accident Insurance to more specialty liability coverages like Directors and Officer’s Liability and Privacy Breach. Co-operatives can also access employee benefit programs and Group RRSP’s through Co-op Guard®.
Group RRSP’s and Pensions
CWCF refers members to Co-operators for group retirement plans. Both Group RRSP’s and Group Pension Plans are available. For more information, see: https://www.cooperators.ca/en/Group/group-retirement/plan-sponsor/types-of-plans.aspx.
Group RRSP’s can be obtained through Co-op Guard®.
4. Government Relations
Lobbying Efforts on Behalf of Worker Co-ops
The CWCF is committed to ensuring that worker co-ops have a level playing field with other forms of business. For example, the reason that CWCF has the Tenacity Works Investment Fund to invest in worker co-ops is due to our lobbying efforts. Further, CWCF was actively engaged in the lobby to create and renew the federal Co-op Development Initiative, a program which was in place from 2003 until 2012.
Read more about CWCF’s lobbying history.
Model Co-op Legislation
The CWCF participated in the development of the model legislation for co-ops. This initiative, co-sponsored by the national umbrella co-operative associations of the time, was the basis for the federal Cooperatives Act in December, 1999. The CWCF drafted the specific sections which deal with worker co-ops. The federal Act, in turn, has also served as the basis for many provincial Co-op Acts.