Co-op Conversations

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. 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 Co-op Conversation will be held during lunch hours (Saskatchewan time) on the first Wednesday of the month.

Upcoming Co-op Conversation: Understanding Rural-Urban Polarization in Canada featuring Dr. Dionne Pohler

Co-op Conversation featuring Dr. Dionne Pohler event poster

Rural-urban polarization has received much attention in the United States and elsewhere, but what does it mean, and is it a problem in Canada? How can we study rural-urban polarization and its consequences without further contributing to the polarization? And do co-ops have a unique role to play in maintaining social cohesion between rural and urban folks and their communities? 

In this Co-op Conversation, Dr. Dionne Pohler shares some early insights from her ongoing ethnographic research in rural Canadian communities as well as future research on rural-urban polarization in collaboration with colleagues from the Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives, the Alberta Centre for Sustainable Rural Communities, and the Canadian Centre for Rural and Agricultural Health.

About our Speaker

Dr. Dionne Pohler is an associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan Edwards School of Business and the Co-operative Retailing System Chair in Co-operative Governance at the Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives. Her previous and ongoing research covers topics on rural issues, work and employment, unions and labour relations, organizational governance, labour and social policy, and co-operative development.

Event Information

Date: Wednesday, March 6, 2024
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm (Saskatchewan time or Central Standard Time)
File: Download Event Poster

Our most recent Co-op Conversation - Cooperation: A Political, Economic, and Social Theory featuring Dr. Bernard E. Harcourt

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)
File: Download Event Poster

Past talks can be found here: Past Co-op Conversations.

MacPherson Talk

The MacPherson Talks honour the late Dr. Ian MacPherson, one of the leading lights of the international cooperative movement. Historian, educator, author, and passionate co-operator, Ian personified the relationship between Canadian co-operative academics and co-op practitioners. The MacPherson Talks are held annually by the Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.

The 9th Annual MacPherson Talk featuring Morris Altman

Democratic Organizations as the Engine of Equitable Economic Growth featuring Dr. Morris Altman

Conventional theory argues that organizations that embed democratic decision-making – such as co-operatives – are inefficient relative to other corporate forms because of associated governance costs such as slow and cumbersome decision-making. In this year’s MacPherson Talk, Dr. Morris Altman challenges this conventional view by arguing that democratic governance actually increase productivity through improved working conditions and wellbeing. Dr. Morris Altman will present recent research to support his argument and provide examples of the importance of embedding democratic principles within an organization.   

About our Speaker

Morris Altman is the Dean of the University of Dundee School of Business and Chair Professor of Behavioral and Institutional Economics and Co-operatives at the University of Dundee. He is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Saskatchewan and a research fellow at the Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives. 

Past talks can be found here: Annual MacPherson Talk

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.

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.

Past lectures can be found here: Past Fredeen Lecture.

Special Talks

The Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives hosts additional periodical public lectures featuring topical research and visiting scholars. Below you can find our most recent special talk and an archive of special talks we have hosted in the past.

Co-operative Development Possibilities in Rural Settler and Indigenous Communities: Lessons from the Co-operative Innovation Project and Co-operatives First featuring Dionne Pohler

As part of Co-op Week 2023, join Dr. Dionne Pohler for the launch of her new co-edited volume, “Building Inclusive Communities in Rural Canada”. This collection challenges misconceptions that rural Canada is a bastion of intolerance. While examining the extent and nature of contemporary cultural and religious discrimination in rural Canadian communities, the editors and contributors explore the many efforts by rural citizens, community groups, and municipalities to counter intolerance, build inclusive communities, and become better neighbours. Throughout, scholars and community leaders focus on building new understandings, language, and ways of thinking about diversity and inclusion that will resonate with rural people. 

About our speaker

Dr. Dionne Pohler is an associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan Edwards School of Business. She also holds the Co-operative Retailing System Chair in Co-operative Governance with the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy and the Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives and is a faculty research fellow with the Rotman Institute for Gender and the Economy. Dionne was one of the co-investigators on the Co-operative Innovation Project. This led to the creation of Co-operatives First, which is dedicated to working with rural communities to address the needs identified by community members. Her previous and ongoing research covers topics on rural issues, work and employment, unions and labour relations, organizational governance, labour and social policy, and co-operative development.

Dr. Pohler’s new co-edited volume, “Building Inclusive Communities in Rural Canada” can be purchased via the following link: https://shop.usask.ca/Item?item=9781772126334

A digital copy of the book can be accessed at no cost via the following link: https://www.uap.ualberta.ca/book-images/Open%20Access/9781772126693_WEB.pdf

Past talks can be found here: Past Special Talks.

Co-operatives in a Time of Crisis

In 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Centre for the Study Co-operatives launched the "Co-operatives in Times of Crisis Conversation Series", which asked leaders in co-operatives, big and small, how they were making use of their co-operative structure to address the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis.

Jen Budney, Professional Research Associate, the Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives and former Chair, the Spadina Early Learning and Childcare Co-operative

 

Past talks can be found here: Full Series Conversation.