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.

Our next Co-op Conversation will be taking a break in the summer and will return on September 4, 2024. Stay tuned for updates!

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.

The Case for Universal Basic Income featuring Dr. Karl Widerquist

The Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives, Saskatoon Poverty Reduction Partnership, Community-University Institute for Social Researchand Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy cordially invites you to the upcoming public talk, “The Case for Universal Basic Income” featuring Dr. Karl Widerquist.

In this public talk, Dr. Widerquist will introduce the simple (yet radical) premise that a small cash income, sufficient for basic needs, ought to be provided regularly and unconditionally to every citizen. Dr. Widerquist discusses how Universal Basic Income (UBI) functions, showing how it differs from other redistributional approaches. He will summarize the common arguments for and against UBI and presents the reasons for believing it is a tremendously important reform.

About our speaker

Dr. Karl Widerquist is Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University-Qatar, specializing in distributive justice. The Atlantic calls him “a leader of the worldwide basic income movement. Dr. Widerquist just released his new book, Universal Basic Income: Essential Knowledge.

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.