Report from the Executive Director, May 2022

CWCF is busy getting ready for the second iteration of our Worker Co-op Academy, a program that provides groups who have a well thought-out concept for a worker co-op a chance to transform their vision into a reality.  Although the structure of the program will be different this time as we will be using a phased approach, we’re confident we will still get the same diversity and innovation that we saw in our first cohort.  If you or anyone you know has interest in applying, and has a core group of at least three members and a business idea, it’s not too late to apply for the cohort starting in the coming weeks. See this link for more information.

We are also pleased to announce the completion of last year’s winner of our young adult arts and culture project grant, a film by director Nick Ogden showcasing the work of our member Island Flower Growers Co-operative. The film explores how co-ops act as stewards of the land and pioneers of sustainable practices, and also the theme of resilience amidst the pandemic. Nick is currently searching for a broadcaster for the film, an endeavor we wish him every success in.

Planning is underway for our 2022 Conference in beautiful Vancouver. We have struck a planning committee but would be happy to have some additional members, and are also looking for Vancouver-area volunteers who can help with local connections and logistics.

CWCF at Conferences in spring 2022

  • CASC Conference: The Canadian Association for Studies in Co-operation invited me to speak on the state of the worker co-op movement in Canada, which took place late last week as part of a panel with Audra Kreuger of Co-operatives First and Dan Brunette of Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada.  My presentation was on “The Role of the Worker Co-op Sector in Just Transitions to a Solidarity Economy”.   The Conference, which was virtual, featured excellent keynote presentations by Christine Clarke of Freedom Dreams Co-operative Education and John Restakis of Synergia Co-operative Institute.
  • ILO (International Labour Organization) 110th Convention, with focus on the Solidarity Economy: CWCF is seeking to get an invitation.   We may be able to get an invitation through a trade union partner, to one of the sessions on decent work and the social and solidarity economy.
  • Co-operatives and Mutuals Congress (“CMC Congress”), mid-June in Calgary:  I’ve been invited to speak on a plenary panel on “Lessons Learned” in the co-op sector over the years; the panel discussion will take place on June 15.  I’m greatly looking forward to the entire Congress, the first in three years.  It will be possible for people to attend in person or virtually; i.e., it’s a hybrid meeting.  We hope to see some of you there.