Report from the Executive Director, June 2021

By Hazel Corcoran

CWCF is thrilled to be launching our Worker Co-op Academy this month, with three groups participating. Although the types of fledgling worker co-ops vary, the collective entrepreneurs behind them share a common enthusiasm and commitment that will serve them well during this program. We look forward to working with them as they experience all the worker co-op model has to offer and prepare to launch their co-operatives.  Note that people in Quebec who wish to start a worker co-op can take the Réseau COOP’s Parcours COOP program of training and coaching. The Parcours COOP program inspired the creation of the Worker Co-op Academy, and we are grateful to the Réseau COOP for its support and collaboration.

Our Worker Co-op 101 series continued this month with Lynn Hannley’s governance webinar, and will resume in the fall with us again offering the introduction, governance, and finance webinars. We encourage all our members, whether new to worker co-ops or not, to bring their questions and ideas to these sessions. They are a useful resource for worker co-ops of all stages.

CWCF is pleased to welcome four new members: the Just and Accessible Music School (JAMS) Co-op of Toronto, the Home Care Workers Co-operative of Peterborough, Ambient Bookkeeping of Saskatoon, and Weaver Storytelling + Digital Design of Victoria. The diversity found in just these co-ops is a testament to the enormous creativity and inspiration that exists within our sector. Please join us in welcoming them and wishing them well.

As many of you already know, CWCF’s AGM/Conference this year will be a virtual one; it will be held as a series of online events on November 16th, 17th, and 18th.  While we regret that it wasn’t feasible to gather in person, we’re sure that this Conference will still offer useful and engaging content. Our theme, “Worker Co-ops – Building Better Together”, will cover some of the ways that worker co-operatives have demonstrated and continue to demonstrate their resilience and solidarity during and (we expect) after the pandemic, and share particular strategies for dealing with crisis.  This theme will also explore how society would benefit from rebuilding with more worker co-operatives, including through the lens of racial and economic justice.

Last but certainly not least, I would like note a change on the Board of Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (“CMC”) in terms of CWCF nominees.  I’d like to recognize Stéphanie Guico for her five years of service on the Board of CMC, having first been nominated by CWCF in 2016.  Although she chose to not put her name forward again this year, during her tenure Stéphanie made many contributions including as Vice President and Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.  Thank you, Stéphanie!  This year, CWCF nominated our Board President Reba Plummer who was acclaimed to the CMC Board at the AGM on June 17th.  Congratulations, Reba!

Have a safe and enjoyable summer!