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 made easy.  It was also suggested that CWCF offer its members more opportunities to be engaged in helping CWCF meet its goals.  Lastly, the web site and the newsletter could be better sources of information on what CWCF has been doing.  We are considering and seeking to implement all of these valuable suggestions. 

On May 11, at the Calgary Public Library, Jared Blustein of the Allium Restaurant Worker Co-operative (see separate article) led a session on Worker Co-ops (“Workplace Democracy for a Solidarity Economy”) in which I also presented.   There was great participation and lively discussion.  The Allium is slated to open in early August.

CWCF offered a series of member webinars in the last couple of months:  Holding Effective Meetings with Rick Proven, and Worker Co-ops 101, with Peter Hough, each in two parts and each with positive evaluations. 

Communications Manager Kaye Grant participated in the CASC-ACE-ICA Research Conference in late May in Montreal.  Board President Reba Plummer attended the CMC AGM and Congress last week in Quebec City, as CWCF’s delegate.  I also attended, on behalf of The Co-operators.  The resolution presented by CWCF on indivisible reserves passed, and we are looking forward to working with CMC on its implementation.  In sum, the resolution is that the CMC membership takes a position on fair tax treatment for co-operatives with indivisible reserves.  This resolution will have the CMC engage its members in the coming year in a consultation, including with a member survey, on indivisible reserves and their opportunities and challenges for co‑operatives; and would have CMC establish a position on tax treatment and/or other fair treatment for co-operatives with indivisible reserves by the 2021 AGM, with a progress report provided by AGM 2020. 

On May 2, CWCF hosted a Worker Co-op Pizza Night in Winnipeg.  Kaye Grant organized an activity in which people shared their co-op’s (or organization’s) successes, challenges, news, and also solidarity economy partners with whom they work.

Last but not least, work is continuing on GM Oshawa – the possibility of there being a worker or community-controlled co-op producing electric vehicles in this plant; the Green New Deal for Oshawa.  Russ Christianson is preparing a preliminary feasibility study with support from CWCF and others.