Report from the Executive Director, June 2020

Government relations in support of expanding the worker co-op model /  Covid19 : Emergency Supports to members / Virtual Coffee Breaks / BLM / Upcoming “keynote” by Nathan Schneider

CWCF is continuing its efforts to support our members and grow the worker co-op sector in Canada during these challenging times. Our recent funding proposal for $100 million to the federal government focused on conversions of failing or threatened businesses has been met with considerable interest from MPs from multiple parties, and we have held meetings with political staff of several different Ministers.  

In the meantime, we are also offering supports to our current members in a variety of ways, including committing $165,000 to the Tenacity Works investment fund for patient capital investments of up to $20,000 per co-op; increasing by $25,000 the budget for the Technical Assistance grant program, which will provide grants of up to $2,000 for co-ops to work on worker co-op survival planning; and offering Solidarity dues of $10 to worker co-op members for the 2019-2020 year.

On a more personal level, I have appreciated the opportunity to connect with our members during our bimonthly virtual coffee breaks, opportunities that create a safe space for worker owners to gather, get to know each other, and share collective knowledge on issues specific to worker owners. The last of these will take place June 30 at 11:30 ET before we adjourn for the summer. 

At our most recent coffee break, we discussed how the worker co-op can support racial justice and work towards eliminating systemic racism, a topic prompted by recent events taking place across North America and the decision by CWCF board and staff to issue a statement in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. Together, we can and must build systems that are rooted in equity, reparations, democracy, and love. We call upon our members to join with us in this commitment.

Work also continues on several projects and events CWCF was planning before the onset of the pandemic. We’re pleased to have our new logo/visual identity and revamped website up and running, a project that was delayed by our response to Covid-19. We’ve already gotten positive feedback on our new look, and we encourage you to share your thoughts with us if you haven’t done so already.

While we have postponed our planned 2020 conference in Vancouver to next year, we will still be featuring a presentation by our keynote speaker, Nathan Schneider, July 28 at noon ET. Nathan has extensive experience covering the worker co-op sector, including his recent book Everything for Everyone: The Radical Tradition that Is Shaping the Next Economy, in which he explored how co-ops can form the foundation of a democratic economy.