In the latest collaboration between Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives and the Saskatoon-based non-profit Co-operatives First, the two organizations have been awarded a contract to educate federal employees across Canada about co-operatives and the co-op business model.
Earlier this year, the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) sent out a Request for Proposal to several potential service providers across Canada requesting proposals related to educating federal employees about co-ops. Co-operatives First, together with the Centre, submitted a proposal and in September of this year were awarded the project.
Dr. Marc-André Pigeon, Executive Director of the Centre, noted the project’s significance. “I have spent a large part of my career in and around the federal public service and I have seen first-hand what happens when policymakers don’t understand the co-op model,” he said. “Policy decisions get made that either don’t consider co-operatives or hurt the interests of co-operatives” he added.
“This is an amazing opportunity for the co-op sector,” said Audra Krueger, Co-operatives First Executive Director. “Through this project, we have the chance to create a platform specifically designed to increase awareness and understanding of the co-operative model with a key bureaucratic stakeholder. The impact of this project for co-ops and Canada will be significant and ongoing.”
The educational platform is an online learning management system delivering educational content created by governance, co-op, and business development experts from the Centre and Co-operatives First. The platform will be hosted on Co-operatives First website, CooperativesFirst.com, and made accessible to both federal government employees and the public “in perpetuity.”
“This contract represents a perfect opportunity to draw on the Centre’s research, tie in the on-the-ground expertise of Co-ops First and lever the Centre’s new home in the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy,” Pigeon stated.
“Thanks to the first-of-its-kind investment Co-operative Retailing System and Federated Co-operatives Limited have made in our organization, we can ensure co-ops are considered and have a voice within the federal government, and their programs, now and into the future,” added Krueger. “To play a role in shifting how co-ops are viewed and understood across the country is an honour, and this project is a significant step forward.”