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Report on Nova Scotia Co-operative Council AGM

By Kristin VanHattem, CWCF’s RRSP/TFSA Program Manager and Bookkeeper

Kristin represented CWCF at the meeting.

The overall tone of the AGM was celebratory, given that NSCC is marking its 70th year. Jeff Yuill presided over the meeting.

Remarks were offered by two partners: John Harvie (the Cooperators) and Mike Leonard (Atlantic Central & League Savings). Mike noted that for the fifth year in a row, more people are joining credit unions.

Dianne Kelderman gave an overview of her President’s Report, which can be found in its entirety in NSCC’s 2018 Annual Report. She highlighted a few key results & achievements:

  • Youth in Agriculture / Career Rising initiative: geared toward at-risk youth; has provided opportunities for 70 youth so far; many went on to work with co-ops or pursue post-secondary education/training
  • Connecting People for Health Co-operative: launched in 2010 as Canada’s first and only online healthcare clinic; acquired by Shoppers Drug Mart last year; next steps – exploring a new Pharmacare initiative to make prescriptions available to all members
  • Small Business Loan Guarantee Program: partnership with province, Atlantic Central and local credit unions; $3M pilot launched in 2003 à $147M portfolio today; financing provided to almost 2500 businesses, with over 16k jobs created or maintained (mostly in NS)
  • In celebration of its 70th anniversary (and following 18 months of negotiations), NSCC will host Barack Obama as its keynote speaker at its gala, to be held in Halifax in November.

Grant Thornton was appointed as auditor for the upcoming fiscal year.

There were no resolutions submitted/passed at the meeting, which was attributed to the fact that there was increased communication with members throughout the year, leading to resolutions being passed more regularly.

Geoff MacLellan (NS Government – Minister of Business) gave the keynote address during the luncheon. He applauded NSCC for 70 successful years. He discussed the significance of social enterprise in Nova Scotia, particularly its positive effects on trade and export. He emphasized the success of NSCC’s Community Impact Fund, which was launched in partnership with Atlantic Central’s Corporate Social Responsibility committee and has provided support to 14 social enterprises, in partnership with local credit unions. He remarked that Nova Scotia is turning social enterprise (and investment in social enterprise) and trust in people into financial prosperity. He emphasized that Nova Scotia has put a focus on immigration to change community cultures and the stimulate the economy.

Bernie O’Neil (nominated by Atlantic Central) and Clarence Landry (nominated by Charles Forest Co-operative) were the 2018 Distinguished Co-operator Award Recipients. Both emphasized the importance of “people” to their personal and professional success, as well as that within the broader co-op community.

The luncheon was followed by a Co-operative Dragons Den as part of NSCC’s 70th anniversary celebrations. Seven co-operatives (many of them new start-ups) presented before a panel. The winner of the $5000 prize was Healthy Minds Cooperative, Canada’s only non-profit mental health co-op offering peer-based mental health wellness programming & community navigation. The co-op also provides input into the design, development, delivery and evaluation of mental health services of the NS Health Authority.