In This Issue

IYC, VALUE OF CO-OPS CITED IN HOUSE OF COMMONS STATEMENT

TOP 50 NON-FINANCIAL CO-OPS SHOWED GROWTH IN 2010

CO-OP ASSOCIATIONS URGE RENEWAL OF CDI PROGRAM

CUMIS, THREE CUs AMONG BEST SME EMPLOYERS

WEBSITE TRACKS CU CONTRIBUTIONS TO COMMUNITY

PEICC APPOINTS NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

DONALD REES NEW CEO OF ORGANIC MEADOW

KAREN MINER TO DIRECT SAINT MARY'S MMCCU PROGRAM

FCL MAKES RECORD DONATION TO HABITAT FOR HUMANITY

BIG CARROT, ORGANIC MEADOW RECOGNIZED BY ORGANIC COUNCIL

SUMMIT SEEKS FUTURE CO-OP LEADERS

UK GOVERNMENT TO INTRODUCE NEW CO-OP LEGISLATION

LEADING UK ECONOMIST PREDICTS ERA OF "CO-OP CAPITALISM"

A CREDIT UNION SAINT?

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

CO-OP CONNECTIONS

THE MEETING PLACE

Quick Links

Co-operative News Briefs
Archive

Canadian Co-operative Association

Vol. 13, No.  4 February 16, 2012
 
IYC, VALUE OF CO-OPS CITED IN HOUSE OF COMMONS STATEMENT

Thanks to a Saskatchewan Member of Parliament, the International Year of Co-operatives has been acknowledged in the House of Commons.

Ray Boughen, the Conservative MP for the riding of Palliser and a member of the Moose Jaw Co-op, made a statement about the International Year in the House on February 6.

In his statement, Mr. Boughen pointed out that "co-ops are guided by voluntary and democratic membership, concern for community, and decision-making by consensus and participation in the local economy.
As a government, we especially appreciate the value that co-operatives provide to rural and remote communities in creating jobs and providing essential services. "

Mr. Boughen ended his statement by asking his fellow MPs to "please join me as we celebrate the International Year of Co-operatives." 

Meanwhile, in the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories, a reference to the International Year was made by Dave Ramsay, the territorial Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment. 

In a statement on support for small business, Mr. Ramsay said: "Co-operatives represent a tremendous source of economic activity here in the North and their dedication to community is both appreciated and applauded."
 
TOP 50 NON-FINANCIAL CO-OPS SHOWED GROWTH IN 2010

The federal government's Rural and Co-operative Secretariat has reported that Canada's top 50 non-financial co-ops grew in members, revenues and assets in 2010.  Recently released data from the Secretariat's 2010 Annual Survey of Canadian Co-operatives showed that:
  • Top 50" revenues grew 3.4 per cent over the last year, to $24.8 billion in 2010.
  • "Top 50" assets grew 6.6 per cent over the last year, to $11 billion in 2010.
  • The "Top 50" were co-owned by 4.9 million members in 2010, up 6.7 per cent from 2009.
  • Together, the "Top 50" employ 38,700 people, 81 per cent of whom are full-time.
  • "Top 50" co-operatives returned $640 million to their members in patronage refunds in 2010.
Federated Co-operatives Ltd. was the top Canadian non-financial co-operative (based on revenue) for the tenth consecutive year, with La coop fédérée in second place.  For the first time, a telecommunications co-operative -- Saskatchewan's Access Communications -- made the Top 50 list. 

More information on the Top 50 non-financial co-operatives is available at http://s.coop/7xbe.
 
CO-OP ASSOCIATIONS URGE RENEWAL OF CDI PROGRAM

Canada's national co-operative associations are asking co-operators across Canada to let their Members of Parliament know the importance of renewing the Co-operative Development Initiative (CDI) program as a legacy of the International Year of Co-operatives. 

CDI, which provides support for new and emerging co-operatives, is jointly administered by the two national associations, the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) and the Conseil canadien de la coopération et de la mutualité (CCCM), with funding from the federal government.  The current program is scheduled to end in March 2013. 

CCA and CCCM have drafted a sample letter which provincial co-operative associations, co-operatives and others can send to their MPs. The letter suggests that the International Year of Co-operatives would be an ideal time for the government to announce the renewal of CDI, even though the program doesn't end for another year. 

To download the letter and obtain more information about the renewal of CDI and other proposed federal government legacy initiatives for the International Year, go to  http://s.coop/legacy2012.
 
CUMIS, THREE CUs AMONG BEST SME EMPLOYERS

Three credit unions and The CUMIS Group, which is owned by The Co-operators and Central 1 Credit Union, have been named among Canada's best small and medium-sized (SME) employers for 2012.

CUMIS, Kawartha Credit Union, Mennonite Savings and Credit Union and North Shore Credit Union appeared on the list, developed by the Queen's University School of Business and the consulting firm Aon Hewitt.

The list is based on a study of employee engagement, in which employees are asked for feedback about their employers. Organizations with between 50 and 399 permanent employers are eligible to participate in the study.

Go to http://business.queensu.ca/centres/qcbv/bsme/bsme50.php for the full list. 

Meanwhile, in a separate competition, Mountain Equipment Co-op and two credit unions -- Vancity and G&F Financial Group -- were named among British Columbia's top employers.  The BC list was released in the February 3 edition of the Vancouver Sun.
 
WEBSITE TRACKS CU CONTRIBUTIONS TO COMMUNITY

We all know that credit unions make a significant contribution to their communities, but exactly what and how much?

More than 90 credit unions in British Columbia and Ontario are using a website called Credit Unions are Helping Here, created by Central 1 Credit Union to track the amount of money and volunteer hours they donate.  The user-friendly website allows visitors to click on specific contributions to get more details, including a description of the community group or activity and a map showing its location.

According to Central 1, which represents credit unions in the two provinces, the website has tracked more than $8 million in contributions since it was launched in October. The service is offered free of charge to credit unions in the two provinces; 84 per cent of B.C. credit unions and 47 per cent of Ontario credit unions are currently participating. 
 
PEICC APPOINTS NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

There's a new face at the Prince Edward Island Co-operative Council (PEICC). 

Dave Whiting, most recently CEO of the Yarmouth Area Industrial Commission in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, was appointed executive director of the PEICC in January.

A native of Halifax, he is a former member of the RCMP and a former municipal councillor for the Town of Halton Hills and the Regional Municipality of Halton in Ontario. He also served as school board trustee and chaired the Halton Board of Education, the country's tenth largest school board.  

He has held numerous board positions, including treasurer of the Nova Scotia Gambling Awareness Foundation, founding president of the Independent Marine Ports Association of Canada and president of the North Atlantic Ports Association, the first Canadian to be elected to that position.
 
DONALD REES NEW CEO OF ORGANIC MEADOW

Organic Meadow, Canada's leading organic dairy co-operative, has announced the appointment of Donald A. Rees as its new CEO.  

Mr. Rees has worked for a number of food organizations in Canada and the United States, including Maple Leaf Foods, PepsiCo Foods International and SunOpta Inc.  For the past several years, he was
vice president and general manager of SunOpta's Canadian Food Distribution Group and played a critical role in building the Group's business within the natural and organic foods categories across Canada.

"The Organic Meadow Board of Directors is pleased Don has joined the organization and we anticipate he will further establish our credentials as a world class organic foods company," said Paul Campbell, board chair and president of Organic Meadow. "He brings a unique combination of business leadership, food industry experience and a passion for organic products that will surely contribute to our long-term success."
 
KAREN MINER TO DIRECT SAINT MARY'S MMCCU PROGRAM

The Master of Management, Co-operatives and Credit Unions program at Saint Mary's University has a new managing director.

Karen Miner, who has worked as a sustainability consultant and currently sits on the boards of Mountain Equipment Co-op and the Canadian Co-operative Association, will start her new position on February 27.

She replaces Tom Webb, who announced in 2011 his plans to step down to pursue other activities.  He will continue to teach two courses in the program. 

To find out more about Karen Miner and the St. Mary's program, read the latest MMCCU newsletter at http://s.coop/mmccunews.
 
FCL MAKES RECORD DONATION TO HABITAT FOR HUMANITY

When Habitat for Humanity builds homes for low-income residents of Saskatoon, it will be using bolts, screws, door hinges and cabinet hardware donated by Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL).  

FCL donated $750,000 worth of hardware items to the non-profit organization, which "works towards a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live."

The donation is the largest received to date by Habitat for Humanity Saskatoon and the largest one-time gift made by FCL on behalf of retail co-ops across western Canada.  Some of the hardware will be used to build homes, and the rest will be sold at Habitat's ReStore, which finances the construction of new homes as well as Habitat's administrative costs. 

In addition to the Habitat donation, FCL recently won a Campaign Chair's Choice Award from Saskatoon's United Way for its contribution to its 2011 workplace charitable campaign.  FCL raised more than $106,000 for the campaign last year.
 
BIG CARROT, ORGANIC MEADOW RECOGNIZED BY ORGANIC COUNCIL

Two co-operatives involved in organic food have received awards from the Organic Council of Ontario, an organization that advocates on behalf of organic food. 

The Big Carrot, a Toronto worker co-op that sells organic food, was given the "outstanding retailer" award at the Organic Council's recent awards ceremony.  In addition, The Big Carrot's nutritionist, Julie Daniluk, received an award for education. 

Organic Meadow, an organic dairy co-operative, received the award for "outstanding marketing campaign."
 
SUMMIT SEEKS FUTURE CO-OP LEADERS

Young co-operators from around the world are invited to apply to be one of 230 Future Co-operative Leaders who will play a special role at the International Summit of Cooperatives in Quebec City this October.

The program is open to both employees and directors of co-ops, aged 20 to 35. Participants will have the opportunity to attend the main Summit program as well as participate in special programming. 

Co-operative organizations are asked to nominate up to two candidates to participate in the program.  The organization will be expected to pay the participant's registration fee, expenses, travel costs and accommodations for their nominated representatives. 

The deadline for submitting nominations is April 30.  For more information, go to http://s.coop/futurecoopleaders or contact Stephanie Guico at stephanie.guico@2012intlsummit.coop

In other Summit news, the Summit has launched a call for papers from co-operative researchers. The papers must relate to the Summit theme -- The Amazing Power of Co-operatives -- and to one of the following sub-themes: 
  • The role of co-operatives and mutuals in the global economy
  • The performance of the co-operative and mutualist business model
  • The evolution of the co-operative and mutualist business model
  • The global sociopolitical influence of co-operatives and mutuals
 The deadline for proposals is March 26.  For more information, go to  http://s.coop/summitresearch.
 
UK GOVERNMENT TO INTRODUCE NEW CO-OP LEGISLATION

British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced plans for new legislation governing co-operatives in the United Kingdom. 

The Co-operatives Bill will be made up out of 17 separate pieces of legislation that govern co-operatives across the UK, dating back to 1965.

"There are over 12 million co-op members in the UK. That's more people than there are shareholders in the economy," Mr. Cameron told a co-op audience in London. "But right now there are too many barriers in the way...so today I can announce they will all be brought together and simplified in a new Co-operatives Bill that will be put before parliament." 

Ed Mayo, secretary general of Co-operatives UK, said he was delighted to see the government taking action to put co-operatives on an equal footing with other businesses. 

"The new act is intended to make it as easy and natural to form a co-operative as any other form of business," he said.  
 
LEADING UK ECONOMIST PREDICTS ERA OF "CO-OP CAPITALISM"

A leading UK economist who more than two decades has made accurate predictions about economic trends, has named 'Co-op Capitalism' as the next economic era.

In a paper published by Co-operatives UK, Professor Noreen Hertz writes that "the model of capitalism that was dominant for the past 30 years has clearly failed. It's time to embrace a new model of capitalism, Co-op Capitalism, for reasons of social justice but also enlightened self-interest.'

Professor Hertz' paper highlights how other countries, with a more co-operative mindset, are growing because of a more collaborative relationship between the state, market, individual and society. It also highlights how businesses that embrace the co-op ethic are weathering the economic downturn better than traditional ones.
 
A CREDIT UNION SAINT?

A pioneer of Poland's credit union movement could become the world's first credit union saint.

Franciszek Stefczyk, a former country school teacher and political organizer, is credited with starting Poland's first credit unions in the early 20th century. SKOK, the Polish credit union system, celebrated the 150th anniversary of Dr. Stefczyk's birth last year and recently nominated him to Poland's Catholic Church for beatification, the first step on the path to sainthood.

Most Rev. Mieczys?aw Mokrzycki, archbishop of Lvov, accepted the request, expressed his support and pledged to take further action based on the church's canonization laws.
 
EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

The Saskatchewan Co-operative Association is seeking an Events and Administrative Coordinator. The position is part-time (about 20 hours per week) with the option of some full-time work in 2012.  Deadline for applications is February 21.  CLICK HERE to see the posting. 

Eat Local Sudbury Co-operative is seeking a Managing Director. Deadline for applications is March 9.  CLICK HERE to see the posting.
 
CO-OP CONNECTIONS

In each issue of Co-operative News Briefs, we offer a selection of web links, including articles, websites, blogs, reports and videos, of particular interest to the co-op sector. If you have any interesting Co-op Connections to suggest, please send them to Donna Balkan at communications@coopscanada.coop.

2012 Matters - Read the latest issue of the Canadian Co-operative Association's monthly newsletter about what's happening around the International Year of Co-operatives in Canada and around the world.

Making a Difference - How are credit unions making a difference around the world?  Read this blog by Brian Branch, president and CEO of the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU).

Co-ops are Big: Charles Gould on the International Year of the Co-op - The director general of the International Co-operative Alliance says co-ops are poised to be the fastest growing business model by 2020.  Find out more in this interview with him on shareable.net.

Poem for IYC - Edmonton poet  Mary Pinkoski created this poem for the Alberta launch of the International Year of Co-operatives on January 12. 

The Rochdale Pioneers' Message to the Future - Can today's co-operatives learn anything from the experience of the Rochdale Pioneers' in the 1840s?  David Thompson, author of a book about the Rochdale Pioneers, thinks they can. Find out more from this interview with him. 

co-oppundit.org - Veteran U.K. co-operator Edgar Parnell has created this new website to provide information and resources aimed at improving the effectiveness of co-ops and mutuals.

CDF in Peru blog - Mara Berzins, senior fundraising officer for the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada, recently returned from CDF's study tour to Peru. Find out about her experiences in that country in this lively blog.
 
THE MEETING PLACE

February 20-23: Co-operatives in Canada: 11th Conference on Canadian StudiesHavana, Cuba 

February 29-March 2: Managing the Co-operative Difference, a conference organized by the Université de Moncton and Mount Saint Vincent University, Moncton, NB

March 14, 2 p.m. EST: Webinar on People-Power-Profits: The Emergence of Renewable Energy Co-operatives in Canada, organized by the Measuring the Co-operative Difference Research Network. For more details and to register, visit https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/843927648

March 16-17: Promoting the understanding of cooperatives for a better world - international conference organized by the European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises, Venice, Italy.

Having an upcoming event?  Let News Briefs know! Send your events to communications@coopscanada.coop.