Report from the Executive Director, January 2024, by Hazel Corcoran

  • 2023 Conference Evaluation
  • JEDDI Business Conversion Project Update
  • Worker Co-op Academy
  • CEBA Loans Repayment

CWCF is embarking on a new year with memories of our successful November 2023 Conference still fresh in our minds. Conference attendees gave the event an overall impression rating of 4.7 out of 5, offering positive feedback on the venue, workshops, tours, and networking opportunities. While this year’s Conference will be virtual, we are still confident it will be a valuable experience for all who participate, and we will be taking the feedback around potential topics into account in our planning. (The 2023 Conference’s presentations will remain available here.)

CWCF is also in the process of completing our Justice, Equity, Diversity, Decolonization, and Inclusion (JEDDI) Business Conversion Project, which will be wrapping up in a few months. The first stages of the project involved research on the scope of business conversions to co-ops and other Social Purpose Organizations in Canada, raising awareness of conversions as a viable means for business sustainability with a focus on Equity-Denied Groups, and developing and sharing resources, some of which are available at this link. As we draw closer to the end of the project, we are looking to support anyone who has a business they’d like to turn into a Co-op/SPO, with a focus on Equity-Denied groups, including BIPOC, women, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ2S+ community, and youth.

Aniqah Rahman, our CreateAction intern, played a key role in the project in recent months. Having just completed their work for CWCF, we thank them for all their contributions to this project and wish them the best in their future endeavours.

Another important project CWCF is planning to launch soon is the third iteration of our Worker Co-op Academy. An online training program that coaches start-up groups through the process of developing and launching their worker co-op enterprises in a supportive cohort, the Academy was a vital tool for current CWCF members Oasis Lavenders and The Makehouse. If you have a group of at least three people and a concept for a business, I encourage you to consider applying today.

Finally, CWCF continues to assist our membership in other ways such as the CEBA loan repayment support we recently provided to six worker co-ops. We are glad we had the resources to provide this support in these challenging times.