The 2023 Fredeen Lecture (featuring Sarah Firby)
Community-Centered Funerary Care: The Growing Presence and Impact of Funeral Co-operatives in Canada featuring Sarah Firby
Over the last 50 years, the co-operative movement has gained traction in the Eastern Canadian funeral industry, providing vital services to communities under a governance structure focused on transparency and local ownership to a vulnerable customer base. The discussion will focus on how the co-operative model is presented in the “death care” sector and the benefits experienced through this business approach. In so doing, it will explore the remarkable growth and impact of funeral co-operatives in Quebec and Ontario, where the co-operative movement has the largest presence in the industry. The presentation will conclude with a discussion on the role provincial policy and culture can play in the adoption of the co-operative model in unique industries.
Presented by Sarah Firby, Recipient of the 2022 Hartley and Margaret Fredeen Scholarship in Co-operative Studies
Sarah Firby is a recent graduate of the Graduate Certificate in Social Economy, Co-operatives and Non-profit Sector (GSECN) program and Master of Public Administration (MPA) from the Johnson Shoyama School of Public Policy. Firby has worked, volunteered, and been a member of the Saskatchewan co-operative sector for 10 years with a passion for the unique benefits the model provides to communities.
The 2022 Fredeen Lecture (ft. Bill Oemichen)
The 2022 Fredeen Lecture
Evolution of Co-operative Law in the 21st Century
The 2022 Fredeen Lecture featured a presentation from the 2021 Fredeen Scholarship recipient, Bill Oemichen.
Over the last 30 years, there has been declining scholarly interest in the study of co-operative law. In this year’s Fredeen lecture, the recipient of the 2021 Hartley and Margaret Fredeen Scholarship in Co-operative Studies, Bill Oemichen - an experienced cooperative attorney in both Canada and the United States, will present some of his early research comparing recent efforts to modernize co-operative acts in Western Canada with existing legal provisions in the American Upper Midwest, an area known for its large and growing co-operative sector. The discussion will range widely, discussing how trends in co-operative law are shaping the evolution of the cooperative business model but also calling out possible future directions for legal scholars interested in the model.
About our speaker, Bill Oemichen
Bill Oemichen is a PhD candidate at the Johnson-Shoyama School of Public Policy. Oemichen is a member of the Law Society of Alberta, a partner in Community and Co-operative Counsel based in Calgary, and serves on the board of several co-operatives, including the education and insurance arm of the $440 Billion American Farm Credit System. Bill previously practiced co-operative law at a major Midwestern law firm in the United States.
The 2021 Fredeen Lecture (ft. Celeste Osses)
The 2021 Fredeen Lecture
The Challenges of Horizontal Governance: The Case of Workers Recovered Enterprises in Argentina
The 2021 Fredeen Lecture featured a presentation from the 2020 Fredeen Scholarship recipient, Celeste Osses.
Faced with the loss of their jobs as a result of recurring financial and economic crises during the 1990s and into the new millenium, Argentinian workers took matters into their own hands by experimenting with a new type of co-operative called Workers Recovered Enterprises (WRE). Under this model, workers take over bankrupt companies but instead of relying strictly on outside managers to run the business, the workers help manage and govern the business themselves through a horizontal or flat structure. The movement was further motivated by the principles of solidarity, shared returns, and providing an alternative to neoliberal economic policy. Thanks to changes in Argentina’s bankruptcy legislation, the WRE movement grew quickly and saw approximately 190 businesses reclaimed by over ten thousand workers. This research aims to explore the tension between collective decision-making and the market economy pressure for efficiency, to ultimately detect factors that impact horizontal governance sustainability.
About our speaker, Celeste Osses
Celeste Osses is currently enrolled in the Master of Public Administration program at the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Saskatchewan. She previously completed her undergraduate degree in business administration at Universidad Nacional del Comahue in Neuquen, Argentina. Celeste’s research focus is on Argentina’s Workers-Recovered Enterprise movement, where worker-owned co-operatives were created to reclaim failing or bankrupt businesses as a way to ensure employment and push for self-management.
About the Fredeen Lecture
The Fredeen Lecture is hosted annually and features the research of the most recent recipient of the Hartley and Margaret Fredeen Scholarship in Co-operative Studies. This scholarship is offered annually to a student who is conducting research on co-operatives, either entering or continuing studies in a master's or doctoral program at the University of Saskatchewan. Click here to learn more about the Hartley and Margaret Fredeen Scholarship in Co-operative Studies.
When: NovemberTime: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM (CST)
Location: Delivered by Zoom
The 2020 Fredeen Lecture (ft. Shylah Wolfe)
The 2020 Fredeen Lecture
Public Policy and Co-op Governance: Do Multi-Stakeholder Co-ops Need Special Attention?
The 2020 Fredeen Lecture featured a presentation from the 2019 Fredeen Scholarship recipient, Shylah Wolfe.
In a modern world confronted by rapid change, limited resources and a globalized economy, organizational governance is becoming increasingly complex. Organizations are beginning to integrate broader representation from relevant stakeholders to navigate this world, address the ‘triple bottom line’ (economy, society, environment), and garner legitimacy among diverse communities.
These same forces are playing out in the co-operative sector through the spread and growth of multi-stakeholder co-operatives, yet governments are only slowly and unevenly reflecting these shifts in public policy. In this talk, last year’s winner of the Fredeen scholarship, Shylah Wolfe, explores potential legislative barriers to multi-stakeholder co-operatives and how legislative changes could lend legitimacy and utility to this model and the broader cooperative sector.
About our speaker, Shylah Wolfe:
Shylah Wolfe is the Project Manager at Local Food and Farm Co-operative (LFFC) and a member of the Ontario Co-operative Association Board of Directors. She is completing the Graduate Certificate in Social Economy and Co-operatives at the University of Saskatchewan. As a practitioner, her work focuses on food system amelioration through participatory action research and community capacity building. Meanwhile, her research focus is on co-operative development and the legal framework centre on multi-stakeholder governance of collective organizations.
The 2019 Fredeen Lecture (ft. Qian Wan)
The 2019 Fredeen Lecture
To Co-op or Not? Lessons from Canada for Developing Countries
The 2019 Fredeen Talk featured a presentation from the 2018 Fredeen Scholarship recipient, Qian Wan.
There tends to be two divergent views about co-operatives. Co-op true believers say: “Co-ops are better than the profit-seeking firms.” Co-op skeptics say: “If co-ops are so good, why aren’t they the mainstream business model?” To the extent that these views influence policymakers, they can lead to either policy negligence or over-eager and inappropriate deployment of the co-operative model.
It is important therefore for Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), co-op developers and policymakers to understand why and when it makes sense to deploy the co-op business model. In this talk, last year’s winner of the Fredeen scholarship, Qian Wan, presented a simple theoretical model and drawed on his experience with the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF) to explore how and when it is appropriate to use the co-operative model in developing countries.
Presented by: Qian Wan
Qian Wan is the Co-operative Development Specialist at Co-operative Development Foundation Canada (CDF) and a PhD candidate in Agricultural Economics at the University of Saskatchewan. Before joining CDF Canada, Qian was also a term instructor of Microeconomics at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. His research focuses on cooperatives development in rural China, strategic business planning for co-operatives, food sharing networks in Aboriginal communities in Canada, and the co-op legal framework. Qian holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and a master’s degree in Assets Evaluation.