The Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives' (CCSC) Co-op Conversations is a monthly online gathering for co-operative sector professionals to learn from others in the field and exchange information in a casual setting. Each Co-op Conversation will be held during lunch hours (Saskatchewan time) on the first Wednesday of the month.

The CCSC believes that the best learning is peer-to-peer, and casual conversations across different organizations are what break old thinking patterns, make new connections, and generate fresh perspectives. Each monthly Co-op Conversation will start with a 15-minute presentation by an invited speaker who is working on or thinking about something new, challenging, or inspiring. Following the presentation, the CCSC will facilitate a broad conversation. Sometimes participants will be broken into small groups to discuss ideas, or the moderator will open the virtual floor up for questions, comments, and dialogue. 

Upcoming Conversations

Cooperation: A Political, Economic, and Social Theory featuring Dr. Bernard E. Harcourt

Co-op Conversation featuring Dr. Bernard Harcourt poster

Canadian co-operative practitioners have led the way with different forms of cooperation (worker, consumer, and producer co-ops, mutuals, credit unions, mutual aid) for centuries now. But the times have changed, and the justifications and motivations as well--and it may be time to rethink the political, economic, and social grounds for cooperation. In this Co-op Conversation, Dr. Bernard Harcourt will exchange ideas about how to rethink cooperation in our interdependent world marked by global climate change. 

About our speaker

Dr. Bernard E. Harcourt, is the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science at Columbia University. Harcourt is a distinguished critical theorist, legal advocate, and prolific author and editor. He is the author/editor of more than a dozen books. His most recent book, Cooperation: A Political, Economic, and Social Theory, offers the blueprint for a society based on cooperation.

Event Information

Date: Wednesday, February 7, 2024
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm (Saskatchewan time or Central Standard Time)
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Past Conversations

Nordic Bildung and Lessons for Co-operatives featuring Lene Rachel Andersen

Surveys have shown that Nordic countries have strong democracies and economies and are among the happiest and most prosperous countries in the world. The Danish philosopher Lene Rachel Andersen has written the book The Nordic Secret. Here she explores how Scandinavia went from feudal agricultural societies to where they are today. Central is the concept “Nordic bildung”, which is a unique approach to education and pedagogy that simultaneously cultivates personal knowledge and growth with understanding of one’s responsibility in relation to others and the broader society.

In this Co-op Conversation, Lene Rachel Andersen will introduce the Nordic Secret and Nordic bildung, the similarities between co-operative values and principles with the concept of Nordic bildung, and what can Canada and the co-operative sector learn from this concept. 

About our speaker

Lene Rachel Andersen is a full member of the Club of Rome, she is an economist, futurist, and author, and she runs the Copenhagen based think tank Nordic Bildung. Among her books are: The Nordic Secret (2017), Bildung: Keep growing (2020), What is Bildung? (2021), Libertism (2022), and Polymodernity: Meaning and Hope in a Complex World (2023).

Event Information

Date: Wednesday, January 3, 2024
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm (Saskatchewan time or Central Standard Time)
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ACT now: Accounting for Co-operative Transformation (coming to your co-op soon) featuring Drs. Daphne Rixon and Fiona Duguid

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are in the minds of members and the strategic practices of co-operative boards and management. Hot on the heels of this year’s Co-op Week theme, “Co-operating on Climate Change”, this Co-op Conversation will feature a new online tool, called, “ACT: Accounting for Co-operative Transformation”. Designed through an action research project, ACT is a tool made by co-operatives to help co-operatives shift from conceptualizing their contribution to SDGs to implementation, measurement, and reporting. ACT builds on the complementary nature of the Co-operative Principles and the SDGs to support co-operatives to record impact, measure results, and broadcast their story. This Co-op Conversation features the research leads of this project, Drs. Daphne Rixon and Fiona Duguid. They will present the research that led to the development of the tool and provide a demonstration of the tool.  

About our Speakers

Dr. Daphne Rixon is an Associate Professor of Accounting, Saint Mary’s University. She has a PhD from the University of Warwick, United Kingdom and is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA). She has over 20 years’ experience in the private and public sectors as a Controller and Director of Finance. She is also currently the the Executive Director of the Centre of Excellence in Accounting and Reporting for Co-operatives (CEARC) and Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Co-operative Accounting and Management.

Fiona Duguid (PhD) is a researcher and educator based out of Chelsea, Quebec. She is a Research Fellow with the Centre of Excellence on Accounting and Reporting of Co-operatives, Saint Mary’s University (SMU) and an instructor in the SMU Co-operative Business Management program, and an instructor in the Shannon School of Business, MBA program (CED) at Cape Breton University. She conducts research focussing on co-operatives, social economy, sustainability, and community economic development.

Event Information

Date: Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm (Saskatchewan time or Central Standard Time)
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Social Finance and the Co-operative Sector featuring Dr. Sean Geobey

The Canadian Social Finance Fund is a $755 million investment from the Federal Government which leverages private sector funding to catalyze a revitalization of social purpose organizations across Canada. This talk will speak to underlying challenges faced by the social sector that social financing is intended to solve and where the co-operative movement fits within the Canadian context. Central to this talk will be the historical role of the co-operative movement in Canadian social finance and surfacing longstanding tensions between mutual aid, philanthropy, and commerce as competing principles underpinning social finance.

About our speaker

Sean Geobey is the Director of the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation (WICI), an Associate Professor in Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development (SEED), and Co-Director of the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience (WISIR) at the University of Waterloo. He currently leads a research team working in partnership with the Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet) to support the Canadian Social Finance Fund’s Investment Readiness Program through a system mapping and principles-focused evaluation of the Canadian social finance sector.

Event Information

Date: Wednesday, November 1, 2023
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm (Saskatchewan time or Central Standard Time)
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The State of Co-operative Governance Practices in Canada featuring Marc-André Pigeon and Stan Yu

What do co-operative governance practices look like? Theory predicts they should be different from investor-owned firms but are they? Using data gathered from the second (2022) wave of the Canadian Co-operative Governance Survey, Marc-André Pigeon, Director and Strategic Research Fellow at the Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives (CCSC), and Stan Yu, CCSC Research and Communications Coordinator, will share some comparative results from their 2023 study, Co-operatives & Credit Unions: 2023 Report from the Boardroom, providing a snapshot on key co-operative governance topics such as board diversity, succession planning, and democratic decision-making.

Event Information

Date: Wednesday, October 4, 2023
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm (Saskatchewan time or Central Standard Time)
File: Download Event Poster

Business Conversions to Social Purpose Organizations: The Need, History, and Legacy of Social Purpose for Equity Denied Groups featuring Janielle Maxwell and Juliet ‘Kego Ume-Onyido

This Co-op Conversation provides an overview of the Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation’s (CWCF) Justice, Equity, Diversity, Decolonization, and Inclusion (JEDDI) Business Conversion Project. This project focuses on conducting outreach, generating awareness, and providing support for business conversions to Social Purpose Organizations (SPOs) amongst members of Equity Denied Groups (EDGs).

Janielle Maxwell, JEDDI Business Conversation Project Coordinator, and Juliet ‘Kego Ume-Onyido, Black Women Professional Co-op (BWP) & Whole Woman Network Co-Founder, will discuss why a JEDDI-centered approach to Social Purpose Organizations (SPOs) and the Canadian employment realm is needed for true transformational change. The session will also highlight how co-operative and mutual aid practices have been embedded into the economic modus operandi of Indigenous (African and Canadian) groups since time immemorial. Themes such as the cultural affinity of racialized EDGs to SPOs, challenges faced by EDGs in business conversions, and how business conversions from traditional organizations to SPOs can benefit marginalized groups will also be discussed. 

Event Information

Date: Wednesday, September 6, 2023
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm (Saskatchewan time or Central Standard Time)
File:  Download Event Poster

Moving Beyond Crises: Converting Workplaces and Community Spaces to Co-operatives in Canada and Beyond Featuring Marcelo Vieta and Fiona Duguid

Most of Canada’s 1.2 million small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have been affected by the pandemic. This has compounded the already-existing business succession crisis due to the so-called “silver tsunami” and the large numbers of retirement-aged business owners without succession plans. One underutilized option in Canada for saving these businesses, their jobs, and the communities they serve is to sell SMEs to employees or community members and convert them to co-operatives. Since 2018, The Conversion to Co-operatives Project (www.coopconvert.ca), working together with Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (www.canada.coop), has set out to better understand business conversion to cooperatives (BCCs) by: mapping how many currently exist in Canada, where, and in what sectors; documenting their conversion stories; comparing them to international best practices; assisting the country’s co-op movement build BCC capacity; and contributing to policy change. Marcelo Vieta and Fiona Duguid’s talk will highlight key findings from The Co-opConvert Project, drawing attention to the advantages and challenges of BCCs for business succession and sustainable community and cooperative development.

About our speakers

Marcelo Vieta is an Associate Professor in Adult Education and Community Development, and Director of the Centre for Learning, Social Economy & Work at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. He is the co-author of the book Cooperatives at Work (Emerald, 2023) and author of Workers’ Self-Management in Argentina: Contesting Neo-liberalism by Occupying Companies, Creating Cooperatives, and Recuperating Autogestión (Brill and Haymarket, 2020) and the lead researcher of The Co-opConvert Project

Fiona Duguid holds a PhD from University of Toronto in Adult Education and Community Development and is the research co-lead of the The Co-opConvert Project. Fiona is currently an Assistant Professor in the Shannon School of Business, MBA program at Cape Breton University, and Adjunct Professor in the Saint Mary’s University Co-operative Business Management program. 

Event Information

Date: Wednesday, May 3, 2023
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm (Saskatchewan time or Central Standard Time)
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The Top Issues Facing Canadian Co-operatives Featuring Stan Yu

Since 2016, the Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives has conducted an annual survey that asks co-operative and credit union leaders across Canada what they view are the most pressing concerns facing co-operatives today. In this Co-op Conversation, Stan Yu, Research and Communications Coordinator at the Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives, will share our findings from the 2022 survey, how they compare with past iterations of the survey, and start a conversation about what the co-operative sector can do to start addressing these issues.

About our speaker

Stan Yu is the Research and Communications Coordinator at the Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives. Prior to joining the CCSC, Stan held numerous research and program evaluation positions at the University of Saskatchewan and beyond. Stan has a keen interest in how research and data can inform decision-making for co-operatives and the non-profit sector. He also currently serves on the board of the Saskatchewan Co-operatives Association, and volunteers for and serves on the board of the Bridge City Bicycle Co-operative.

Event Information

Date: Wednesday, April 5, 2023
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm (Saskatchewan time or Central Standard Time)
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Black American Women: Moving and Shaking U.S. Co-ops featuring Dr. Jessica Gordon-Nembhard

Black American women have been an integral part of the Black co-operative movement in the USA—similar to their pivotal roles in the Black Church, mutual aid societies, and the Civil Rights Movement. They are often the ones organizing and managing in the background, doing much of the scut work, without the glory or formal recognition. At the same time, African American women have been not just members but also the founders, managers, and directors of co-operative enterprises and co-operative activity. In these roles, they asserted leadership and promoted cohesiveness that often secured long-term success for their co-ops. In this Co-op Conversation, Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives fellow and Professor of Community Justice and Social Economic Development at City University of New York Dr. Jessica Gordon-Nembhard highlights the history and contributions of black women in the US co-operative sector and the achievements of Black American co-op heroes such as Ella Jo Baker, Nannie Helen Burroughs, Halena Wilson, and Fannie Lou Hamer.

About our speaker

Dr. Jessica Gordon-Nembhard is a Professor of Community Justice and Social Economic Development in the Department of Africana Studies, and Director of the McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program at John Jay College of the City University of New York (CUNY), as well as a Research Fellow at the Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.

Event Information

Date: Wednesday, March 1, 2023
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm (Saskatchewan time or Central Standard Time)
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The Co-op Difference: Comparing Co-op and Market Rents in Five Canadian Cities

In this Co-op Conversation, Greg Suttor, Nick Falvo, and Courtney Lockhart will share findings from their recent report that compares housing charges in non-profit co-operatives to similar private sector marketing units in Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, and Ottawa. Based on their findings that co-op housing units were consistently more affordable than market apartments, and this gap has widened over the period of 2006 – 2021, they will discuss the implications of this finding on the future of the co-operative housing sector.

About our Speakers:

Nick Falvo is a Calgary-based research consultant with a PhD in Public Policy. He has developed and taught one of Canada’s only university-level courses on affordable housing.

Greg Suttor is a semi-retired housing policy and research consultant. He has 30 years’ experience as a research and policy advisor, at municipal and provincial government, Wellesley Institute, and as an independent consultant.

Courtney Lockhart works at the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada developing policy to support the growth of the non-profit co-operative housing sector. Most recently she was a part of a team that saw $1.5 billion announced in Budget 2022 to develop a new Co-op Housing Development Program – the first in 30 years.

Event Information

Date: Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm (Saskatchewan time or Central Standard Time)
File: Download Event Poster

Climate Change and Risk Management within Credit Unions featuring Ritu Linfoot

Managing the risks associated with climate change has become an escalating priority for financial institutions globally. As the financial services industry engages in financial activities that span all sectors of the economy, it is particularly vulnerable to climate related risks. The changes in weather and climate are increasing the frequency and volatility of weather events and amplifying financial institutions’ exposure to climate-related losses across their portfolios. To mitigate these risks and stabilize the health of the banking system, financial institutions must develop and implement long-term climate strategies and manage the financial risks associated with climate change. In this Co-op Conversation, Ritu Linfoot, Director of Risk Operations and Enterprise Risk Management at Vancity, will share Vancity’s approach to climate change, which includes goals to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040, and assessing and mitigating climate risks the organization faces, as well as share some lessons learned.

About our speaker

Ritu Linfoot is the Director of Risk Operations and Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) at Vancity Credit Union. Over her 30-year cooperative career at Vancity, Ritu has held multiple leadership roles including in branches, in information technology, on projects that focus on large scale change management and business readiness activities, and now currently in Enterprise Risk.

Event Information

Date: Wednesday, January 4, 2023
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm (Saskatchewan time or Central Standard Time)
File: Download Event Poster

Making Financial Services Accessible for Underserved Communities featuring Susan Henry

For more than 20 years, the Alterna Savings Community Microfinance Program has focused on making its small-dollar loans available to women, BIPOC, new and racialized Canadians, and low-income individuals. In this Co-op Conversation, Susan Henry, Alterna Savings’ Director of Community Impact & Financial Inclusion, talks about how Alterna Savings is realizing on the co-operative values of equity, equality and solidarity by making available opportunities for financial independence by reducing barriers to banking for those often excluded from mainstream financial institutions. As part of her talk, Susan will dig into the impact of Alterna’s Community Microfinance Program at the individual, corporate, and broader societal levels and share how lessons learned from the program are helping shape the development of new lending programs for underserved communities.

About our speaker

Susan Henry, Director of Community Impact & Financial Inclusion at Alterna Savings, has over 25 years of experience working with underserved, under-represented individuals and communities. Susan was instrumental in leading the launch of Alterna Savings’ award-winning Community Microfinance Program and the Community Loan Funds Partnership Programs.

Event Information

Date: Wednesday, December 7, 2022
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm (Saskatchewan time or Central Standard Time)
File: Download Event Poster

International Development – A Co-operative Approach featuring Qian Wan

Over the last 30 years, international development agencies have gradually abandoned the top-down approach to economic development that recipients have long criticized as paternalistic, inefficient, and insensitive to local realities. Increasingly, these agencies couch their work as “community-based ”, “community-led ”, “community-driven ”, or “locally-led” development. Rarely, however, do these development efforts structurally embed community voice in the form of a democratic voting mechanism. As member-owned and democratically controlled organizations serving the community’s mutual needs and aspirations, co-operatives by contrast have long understood the benefits of hard-wiring local voices into economic development. Please join us on November 2 as Qian Wan, the Co-operative Development Specialist at CDF Canada and a PhD student at the University of Saskatchewan, introduces the concept of the Integrated Co-operative Approach CDF Canada uses in its international development work.   

About our speaker

Qian Wan is Cooperative Development Specialist at CDF Canada. He supports the design and implementation of projects to use the cooperative model as a vehicle for local economic development and social resilience. Mr. Wan has experience designing cooperative development strategies to facilitate technology adoption, access to financial services, agricultural value chain, women empowerment, climate-smart agriculture, childcare service provision, etc. He also provides technical support to the program team regarding cooperative governance, cooperative assessment, cooperative start-up, etc.

Event Information


Date: Wednesday, November 2, 2022
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm (Saskatchewan time or Central Standard Time)
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Do Co-operative Employees Shop at Co-operatives? Featuring Stan Yu

Over the past year, the Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives has been working on a study exploring the shopping behaviour of co-operative employees. The study tries to answer three questions: 1) do people who work at co-operatives buy the goods and services they help to produce; 2) do they demonstrate an affinity for consuming the goods and services of other co-operatives, to the benefit of the larger co-operative sector; and 3) what attitudinal motivators and/or demographics are associated with shopping at a co-operative? To answer these questions, we administered a survey to three co-operatives in an urban Saskatchewan centre. The survey generated 359 employee responses. In this presentation, Stan Yu will be sharing some findings from this study and facilitating a conversation about their implications for the co-operative sector. 

Event Information
Date: Wednesday, October 5, 2022
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm (Saskatchewan time)
File: Download Event Poster

Called to Act: Implementing Reconciliation in Co-operatives featuring Tanya Tourangeau

We have all—including the co-operative sector—been called to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Tanya Tourangeau sees this moment as an invitation to action for us all to “live into our treaties.” In our first Brown Bag session of the fall, Tanya will discuss her work bringing Reconciliation to organizations through joint economic development, policy development, strategic planning, stakeholder relations, and organizational change. She will also provide insight on how co-operatives can build reconciliation strategies aligned with the needs and strengths of local Indigenous communities and their businesses. Reconciliation can’t be achieved without being partners, allies, and friends.

Speaker Biography: Tanya Tourangeau is a proud Dene from the Northwest Territories, currently living on Treaty 6 territory in Edmonton, Alberta. Her work focuses on bridging partnerships and relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous governments and organizations so we can build this nation better together. Tanya’s consulting firm, Tanya T Consulting, supports governments, not-for-profits, co-operatives, and for-profit companies in implementing Reconciliation through strategy, policy, and stakeholder relations.

Event Information


Date: Wednesday, September 7, 2022
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm (CST)
File: Download Event Poster

Cooperatives and cooperation: Is it so straightforward? featuring Dr. Bina Agarwal

While the two terms are often seen as synonymous, what do we understand by “cooperatives” and “cooperation”? Focusing on agricultural cooperatives, Dr. Bina Agarwal, Professor of Development Economics and Environment at the University of Manchester and visiting scholar at the Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives, will examine the nature of cooperatives and cooperation, how they have varied in relation to each other throughout history and contextually, and ask: “is there scope for cooperation in farming today? And, if so, in what circumstances?”

Event Information


Date: Wednesday, June 1, 2022
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm (CST)
File: Download Event Poster

Big Agricultural Data: Are Co-operatives a Solution? featuring Bill Oemichen

Primary production agriculture is changing rapidly due to major developments in digital “smart” technologies, or what is known as big ag data. While big ag data provides value, it also creates a set of problems and challenges, including concerns around privacy, security, data ownership, competition and market power. Informed by his recently published report, "Digital Technologies and the Big Data Revolution in the Canadian Agricultural Sector: Opportunities, Challenges, and Alternatives", in this Brown Bag, Bill Oemichen reviews what we know about the issues surrounding big ag data and explores whether co-operatives provide a solution.

Event Information

Date: Wednesday, May 4, 2022
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm (CST, or Saskatchewan time)
File: Download Event Poster

The Future of Co-operative Associations: A Conversation with Paul Cabaj

Anyone who has been around the co-operative sector knows that it can be difficult for second or third tier co-operative associations to satisfy the differing needs of a membership often divided by culture, rural/urban geographies, size, capacity, and business philosophy. In this talk, Paul Cabaj, Executive Director of the Alberta Community and Co-operative Association and the BC Co-operative Association, will share with us what he has learned from the successes and failures of second and third tier co-operative associations. Drawing on his experience as a long-time participant in, and observer, of these associations, Paul will challenge the audience to consider strategies that can strengthen member value and advance the co-op sector as a whole – provincially, nationally and internationally.

Event Information

Date: Wednesday, April 6, 2022
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm (CST, or Saskatchewan time)
Where: On Zoom
File: Download Event Poster

What's Fair in an Insolvency Process? Lessons from the Sale of Mountain Equipment Cooperative featuring Anna Lund

In September 2020, Mountain Equipment Cooperative’s (MEC) business was sold using the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act, a federal law designed to help big businesses facing financial difficulties. MEC’s directors negotiated and concluded the sale without input from MEC’s members. This result was inconsistent with the centrality of democratic decision-making to co-operative governance and struck many members as unfair. This presentation will highlight some of the ways in which insolvency law could have responded to the members’ concerns about unfairness and given them a voice in the insolvency proceedings. 

Date: March 2, 2022
Time: 12:00 - 1:00 PM (Saskatchewan time)
File: Download Event Poster

A Passport to Success: How Credit Unions Can Adapt to the Urgent Challenges They Face featuring David Losier

Join us for our next Monthly Brown Bag featuring David Losier, independent consultant and former Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer for UNI Financial Corporation. In his recent paper, “A Passport to Success: How Credit Unions Can Adapt to the Urgent Challenges They Face”, David makes the case that despite the critically important role credit unions play in the Canadian economy, the current regulatory system for credit unions in Canada has each of them locked into a provincial silo. Although the Federal option is out there, the case is made that this has simply introduced an 11th silo and just doesn’t fit most credit unions. With more and more credit unions recognizing the need to increase scale in order to face the challenges of a digital future, there needs to be a better way. David suggests that a passport system that would allow credit unions to operate across provincial boundries without getting a federal charter could be a better way. We’ll learn about how this passport system would work for credit unions and its potential benefits for the co-operative sector.

Date: January 5, 2022
Time: 12:00 - 1:00 PM (Saskatchewan time)
File: Download Event Poster

Coops, Credit Unions, and Public Financial Institutions: What Prospects in Canada? featuring Thomas Marois

What prospects are there in Canada to connect public financial institutions (PFIs) with the needs and aspirations of coops and credit unions? The question is not rhetorical. The Canada Infrastructure Bank, formed in 2017, is approaching its five-year review. It has been criticized for promoting privatization of public water services and there is little sense that the CIB is strategically interested in supporting coops or credit unions. Should it be? In 2020, the Government of British Columbia established a new $500 million public investment fund, the InBC Investment Corporation. It has a triple bottom line mandate and is tasked with supporting SMEs, green transitions, and an inclusive economy. Yet here too there is as yet no strategic orientation towards coops or credit unions. This Monthly Brown Bag featuring Thomas Marois, PhD, will ask: In what ways can and should PFIs support coops and credit unions to help create more inclusive and green social economies?

Date: February 2, 2022
Time: 12:00 - 1:00 PM (Saskatchewan time)
File: Download Event Poster

Making Co-operatives First: How We Started, What We Do, and Lessons Learned

Join us for our second Monthly Brown Bag to talk about Co-operatives First, a nonprofit organization funded by Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) and the Co-operative Retailing System (CRS). Our speakers are Audra Krueger, Executive Director of Co-operatives First, and Sheldon Stener Q.C., GeneralCounsel and Corporate Secretary, FCL, and Chair of the Board at Co-operatives First. Founded in 2015, Co-operatives First provides co-op start-up resources, such as feasibility studies, business plans, and incorporation support to rural and Indigenous co-op entrepreneurs across western Canada. Their goal is to help leaders in these communities build new businesses, grow local economies, and support community development. Audra and Sheldon will share the story of Co-operatives First, which began with a research project called the Co-operative Innovation Project (CIP) at the University ofSaskatchewan’s Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives. We’ll learn why FCL and the CRS invested in this project, and what the Co-operatives First team has learned in its six years of operationsin rural and Indigenous communities across western Canada.

Date: December 1, 2021
Time: 12:00 - 1:00 PM (Saskatchewan time)
File: Download Event Poster

 

Community-Based Innovation: The Story of the Conexus Incubator and Venture Capital Fund

In the inaugural CCSC Monthly Brown Bag, Conexus Credit Unions' Chief Executive Officer Eric Dillon and Chief Member Experience Officer Mary Weimer shared the story of how Conexus leveraged its co-operative and community connections to build a small business incubator (Conexus Cultivator) and venture capital fund (Conexus Venture Capital) to deliver technical advice, strategic guidance, and financial support for Saskatchewan’s start-up businesses. To date, 66 Saskatchewan start-up companies have taken part in the Conexus Cultivator and raised $19.4 million in capital and $11.1 million in revenue.

Date: November 3, 2021
Time: 12:00 - 1:00 p.m (SK Time)
File: Download Event Poster