Report from the Executive Director, March 2022

By Hazel Corcoran

–  Next Worker Co-op Academy:  Starts May 2nd, 2022

–  Federal Worker Co-op Development Lobby Gains Traction

–  More CWCF Technical Assistance Grants 

– Conference 2022: November in Vancouver! (and seeking Committee members)

– Film screening: Atautsikut / Leaving None Behind

– BIPOC Advisors to CWCF’s Board

Worker Co-op Academy:  CWCF will once again be offering our Worker Co-op Academy, starting in the first week of May.  The purpose of this program is for groups ready to start their worker co-op to get instruction and coaching to develop their co-op.  We received extremely positive feedback from the three groups who participated in the first iteration of this program, who expressed appreciation for the instructor, Russ Christianson, the supportive coaches (Marty Frost, Lynn Hannley, Denyse Guy, Danielle Soucie, Gilbert da Silva, and Meg Ronson) and the helpful resources we provided them. The participants and coaches also provided us with constructive suggestions on how to improve future offerings of the Academy, which we are implementing with the adoption of a phased approach to the program’s stages.  Applications will be reviewed as they come in, with a deadline of April 18th.  More details will follow shortly, and are available at the link.

Federal Worker Co-op Lobby:  CWCF has continued its active federal government relations campaign, both for our Worker Co-op Development Program ($21 million for a multi-year technical assistance program with a focus on Covid19 recovery and conversions, and $70 million for the Tenacity Works Fund), and a variety of tax measures. We are getting an excellent reception including from ministries which are often challenging, and need to be allied.  This is invigorating and perhaps not surprising, given the mutual interest of the Federal Government and the national worker co-operative movement for innovative approaches to  economic recovery in the face of the pandemic.  If anyone reading this has interest and any connections with Parliamentarians, political staff, or senior civil servants in relevant ministries, please get in touch with me to lend help to this important campaign:  Thank you! 

Technical Assistance Grants:  We have been receiving a steady stream of applications for our technical assistance grants in recent months, and are pleased to announce that we are making more of these grants available, due to the high demand. While the details of the work undertaken have varied, recipients have uniformly found the grants a great source of support for everything from governance to expansion. If your co-op is interested in applying for a grant, more information is available here.

2022 Conference: Preparations continue for our 2022 Conference, which will take place in Vancouver on November 17-19, 2022 and will likely include an option for virtual participation in some sessions. While we don’t yet know exactly how this event will unfold, we are eagerly seeking volunteers for the planning committee to help us with the process. Please contact Kaye Grant at if you would like to be involved.

Documentary: Atautsikut/ Leaving None Behind:  Please mark your calendars for the evening of April 19, when CWCF in co-operation with Just Us! Coffee and CCEDNet — will be offering a free virtual  screening of the film Atautsikut/Leaving None Behind, a documentary which  tells the story of  Indigenous co-ops in northern Quebec. John Huston, the film’s director, and Sokchiveneath Taing Chhoan, Senior Manager of Socio-Economic Development for Ilagiisaq / Fédération des coopératives du Nouveau-Québec (FCNQ) will both be in attendance and available to answer questions. The film has won acclaim for its message of hope in the face of adversity, and we’re sure you won’t want to miss it.  The film and the discussions during this evening will be bilingual, English-French. 

BIPOC Advisors to the CWCF Board: Christine Clarke and Paul DeVillers: We are pleased to announce that Christine Clarke and Paul DeVillers will be joining CWCF’s board of directors as our BIPOC advisors. Christine is a co-founder and facilitator of Freedom Dreams  Education Co-operative (see Facebook page here), An organic farmer and advocate for co-ops and the solidarity economy, Christine  is in the final year of CoopZone’s Co-op Development Training Program, sits on the Board of Directors of The Local Food and Farm Co-operative and is on the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDDI) Committee of the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation. Paul DeVillers is Métis, a lawyer, and is from Simcoe North, Ontario.  He is Chair of the Board of Directors of the Métis Voyageur Development Fund. A practicing lawyer, he served for twelve years as a member of parliament for the federal riding of Simcoe North.  During Paul’s political career he served as Secretary of State for Physical Activity and Sport, and Deputy House Leader. Prior to his appointment to Cabinet, Paul was elected to the position of Chair of the National Liberal caucus.  He is also fluently bilingual (French-English).  Please join us in welcoming them both to CWCF!