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Past CCSC Public Talks

2021 Public Talks

Do Credit Union Mergers Accelerate Growth? Findings From an Empirical Study

The pace of credit union mergers shows no sign of abating. But do mergers lead to accelerated growth, as one might expect? In his presentation, Dr. Mamun Abdullah from the Edwards School of Business and a fellow at the Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives shares some surprising findings from his study of 75 mergers over 12 years among Canadian credit unions.

Presented by: Dr. Abdullah Mamun (PhD), Associate Professor and Graduate Chair in Finance, Edwards School of Business

Dr. Abdullah Mamun is an Associate Professor and Graduate Chair in Finance at the Edwards School of Business and a Research Fellow at the Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives. Dr. Mamun has been involved in teaching and research interest in financial institutions for over a decade. His current projects involve financial economics, risk management, earning management, and mergers and acquisitions among banks and credit unions.

When: Time: 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. (SK Time)
Location: Delivered by Zoom. 

NorthernNations Co-operative and the Mission to Build True Economic Equality for Canada’s Indigenous Peoples 

There continues to exist a serious economic gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. Through a wholly-owned subsidiary, NorthernNations Co-operative wants to help bridge this divide by pooling capital from investors and using the funds to invest in existing Indigenous-owned businesses and to make investments in new projects. With control of the co-operative resting squarely with Indigenous communities as the member-owners, NorthernNations is looking to achieve its goal by using a blend of traditional values and modern leadership. In his presentation, Matt Vickers shared the story of how he and a handful of other Indigenous leaders created NorthernNations Co-operative, why they chose the co-operative form as their business model, and how that connects to their mission to generate economic prosperity for Canada’s Indigenous peoples.

Presented by: Matt Vickers, Director and Chief Executive Officer of NorthernNations Co-operative

Matt is the director and Chief Executive Officer of NorthernNations Co-operative. Matt has over 44 years of experience in consulting and Aboriginal business. Throughout his career, Matt has worked on a wide range of assignments across Canada’s First Nations communities, helping Aboriginal entrepreneurs with their business and banking needs.

When: Time: 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. (SK Time)
Location: Delivered by Zoom. 

Coordinated Co-operative Development & Capacity Building in British Columbia

The cooperative development process can be long and challenging. With too many communities lacking a good understanding of the model and expending too much time and energy figuring it out, too few initiatives get to market. Working with community partners, Vancity supports a co-op development “infrastructure”, including educational programming, a coordinated professional services referral process, and access to start-up financing. In this presentation, Elvy Del Bianco looked at the origins of this system, the positive results produced to date, and its ongoing evolution.

Presented by: Elvy Del Bianco, Vancity Cooperative Portfolio Manager

As Vancity’s Cooperative Portfolio Manager, Elvezio (“Elvy”) Del Bianco is a cooperative enterprise educator, developer, financier and advocate He coordinates Vancity’s support for new and established cooperatives, founded and organizes the Cooperate Now co-op business boot camp, and co-authored the “Seven Ways to Grow BC’s Co-op Sector” policy document. 

When: Time: 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. (CST)
Location: Delivered by Zoom. 

Creating a Supportive Policy Environment and Network for Renewable Energy Co-operatives in Canada Panel

Renewable energy co-operatives provide opportunities for local investment, advance sustainability, and enhance community connection, yet there is often little policy support for their activities. This panel discussed the policy landscape for renewable energy cooperatives in Canada and opportunities for social innovation hubs and other approaches that can serve as a network of support for renewable energy co-ops.

Panelists will include representatives from:

  • SES Solar Co-operative
  • Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-operative
  • Wascana Solar Co-operative
  • Solar Power Investment Co-operative of Edmonton

When: Time: 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM (CST)
Location: Delivered by Zoom 

An Introduction and Exchange with FUNDEPOS University 

In 2020, the Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives and Universidad FUNDEPOS de Costa Rica entered into the process of establishing a memorandum of understanding to foster academic, research, and scholarly collaborations focused on co-operatives, public policy, and sustainability. In this presentation, Professor Jorge Arturo Campo provides an introduction to FUNDEPOS University and the strong co-operative presence at the university and in Costa Rica at large. This presence includes ongoing research that studies the social and economic impact of the co-operative sector in Costa Rica and the educational programming of the Center for Cooperative Studies and Training (CENECOOP) at University FUNDEPOS. 

Presented by: Professor Jorge Arturo Campos manages international programs, research and sustainable development initiatives at Universidad FUNDEPOS de Costa Rica. Jorge was previously a professor at the University of Costa Rica and an associate professor at Veritas University.

When: Time: 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM (CST)
Location: Delivered by Zoom 

2020 Public Talks

The Sixth Annual MacPherson Talk 

Beyond Co-operation: The Power of Business as a Force for Good

Co-operatives are guided by their principles and values to balance purpose and profits, while serving their members and communities. Our future requires significant action on climate resilience, meaningful engagement in reconciliation, eliminating racism and discrimination, and ending poverty and homelessness. Will the co-operative principles achieve those outcomes, or do co-operatives need to do more? Using Assiniboine Credit Union as an example, Brendan’s talk looks at how the Benefit Corporation (B Corp) designation can strengthen co-operatives and advance a vision of a sustainable future of belonging and dignity for all.

Presented by: Brendan Reimer Strategic Partner of Valuebased Banking, Assiniboine Credit Union 

Brendan Reimer is Assiniboine Credit Union’s Strategic Partner of Values-Based Banking. Brendan is also the co-chair of the Canadian Credit Union Association’s Community Impact Committee, and volunteers as a board member with both SEED Winnipeg and the Manitoba Real Estate Foundation Shelter Foundation. Brendan is a passionate educator and organizer dedicated to creating inclusive, fairer, and more sustainable economies and communities and has worked effectively with academia, governments, private sector, and community organizations in advancing that vision.

About The MacPherson Talks

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. 

When: Time: 12:30 PM - 01:30 PM CST
Location: This talk was delivered by Zoom.

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.

COVID-19 and Co-ops: Strategic Foresight

The Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives is proud to announce that we have partnered
with the Co-operative Intelligence Unit (CIU), a group of co-operative practitioners, policy makers, and
scholars, that aims to provide insight on the future of co-operatives.

As part of Co-op Week 2020, the CIU is hosting COVID-19 and Co-ops: Strategic Foresight Session.

This session explores the factors that will impact the co-operative sector over the next 18 months. Breakout sessions include:

  • Modern Monetary Theory and Economic Growth with CCSC director, Marc-André Pigeon, and Ian Glassford
  • Platform Co-operatives with Stephanie Guico
  • The Co-operative Advantage in Repairing Supply Chains caused by COVID-19 with CCSC Research Fellow, Bill Oemichen

The Fifth Annual MacPherson Talk

The Role of Cooperation in the Evolution of Co-operatives

It seems obvious that co-operatives rely on cooperation, and manage it daily. However, co-operative research and management have yet to truly take advantage of the behavioral science of human cooperation and the findings of evolutionary biology and the social sciences. In this presentation, Dr. Waring gives a guided tour of the factors that drive cooperation and describes a research program to leverage the science of cooperation for the benefit of co-operatives anywhere.

Presented by: Dr. Tim Waring

Dr. Tim Waring is associate professor of social-ecological systems modeling in the Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions and the School of Economics at the University of Maine. Dr. Waring studies how cooperation and culture determine social and environmental outcomes. Using economic experiments and agent-based simulations, he builds and tests evolutionary models of social and economic change to learn how sustainable behaviors and durable institutions arise and persist. He has led national working groups to develop and refine an evolutionary theory of sustainability and apply it to case studies around the world. Waring is also the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER grant on the evolution of cooperation in local food organizations, and he leads an international working group on evolutionary approaches to sustainability. His current work also explores the evolution of co-operative organizations. 

About The MacPherson Talks

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.

2019 Public Talks

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.

All for One and One for All? The Future of Cooperation in Co-op Federations

Co-operation among co-ops is a nice idea in theory but hard to do in practice. Earlier this year, Calgary Co-op—the largest member-owner of Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL)—announced it would stop buying its groceries from FCL and instead purchase from rival Save-On Foods. Credit unions for their part are increasingly thinking about going it alone without their central entities. In this panel, long-time observers of the sector take a critical lens to questions like: What is the responsibility of membership? Is it take what you want and leave the rest to carry the burden? Or are there higher principles in play? 

Speakers:

  • Marc-André Pigeon, Director, Centre for the Study of Co-operatives, and Assistant Professor, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan campus 
  • Murray Fulton, Fellow in Co-operatives and Public Policy, and Director, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan campus
  • Dionne Pohler, Fellow in Co-operative Strategy and Governance, and Associate Professor, Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources and Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
  • Brett Fairbairn, Fellow in Co-operative History and Governance, and President, Thompson Rivers University

Date: October 16, 2019

The Future of Co-operatives in North America

Keynote speaker: Melissa Hoover, founding Executive Director, Democracy at Work Institute, USA

Melissa Hoover is the founding Executive Director of the Democracy at Work Institute, the think-and-do-tank that expands worker cooperatives as a strategy to address economic and racial inequality. A leader in the worker ownership movement for over fifteen years, Melissa helped start and grow the United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives, the national grassroots membership organization for worker-owned businesses. She was a cooperative business developer for many years with the Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives in Oakland, doing business and capital planning for two startups, training cooperative members, and serving as CFO in the first year of each startup's operations. In 2018, Melissa was named an Executive Fellow of the Rutgers Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing. She currently sits on the Board of Directors of The ICA Group/Local Enterprise Assistance Fund, The Working World, and Safe Passages of Oakland, and serves as a strategic advisor to foundations, investors, nonprofits, local governments and other organizations that want to incorporate worker ownership into their economic development and community wealth-building programs. Originally from Kansas City, Melissa attended Stanford University on a full scholarship, earning a BA in History with a research focus on immigrant women's role building cooperative movements in the U.S.

Date: October 16, 2019

Celebrating 35 years of the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives

Thank you to all those who joined us in Saskatoon on October 16, 2019, to commemorate the centre's 35th year anniversary and to celebrate its relaunch as the Canadian Centre for the Study of C-operatives.

Servus Prepay Patronage Program and Sweepstakes: Old Wine in New Bottles or Something Else? 

Do credit union members care about patronage returns (co-op principle number 3)? And what if a credit union changed the way it paid them out? Would they care more? In 2018, the country’s fourth-largest credit union, Servus, adopted a policy of prepaying patronage for its members that sheds some light on these questions. Instead of paying a member $200 (for example) each year over a five-year mortgage term, Servus offered to pay some of its members a lump-sum ($1,000 in this example) when they signed on for the mortgage. Later, Servus introduced a “Big Share” lottery where the winner would receive a $1 million patronage payment. How did members react to these changes to Servus’ until-then traditional patronage program? And what do the results of this experiment tell us about co-operative values and the co-op business model in a fiercely competitive market?

Join us on June 5 at 4:30 p.m. as the dynamic and ever-engaging Ian Glassford, former chief financial officer and current special projects advisor at Servus, tells us about Servus’ efforts to innovate its patronage program.

Ian Glassford, Special Projects Advisor, Servus

Ian spent 25 years working with Servus Credit Union, retiring recently as the Chief Financial Officer. Over the course of his career with the credit union he had the opportunity to work with the areas of Strategy, Human Resources, Marketing, Centralized Services, Treasury, Accounting and Wealth Management. Prior to joining the credit union Ian worked as a Money Market and Foreign Exchange trader. He has served on the Board of Alberta Central and Credential Securities. Ian has a Bcomm, an MBA and has held the CPA, Institute of Corporate Directors, and Partners Directors and Officers designations as well as the Harvard program on negotiation. Ian has a tendency to think with his mouth and talk with his hands, not necessarily an ideal situation in a Board room.

Date: Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Time: 4:30-6:00 p.m. (CST)
Location:
Prairie Room, Diefenbaker Building, 101 Diefenbaker Place, University of Saskatchewan

The Canadian Dream: A home for everyone. Co-operative Enterprise in the Canadian Housing Market 

The Canadian dream of a place to call home is a difficult policy question for decision makers and a deeply personal issue for 1.7 million Canadian households who struggle with housing affordability. As Canadians head to the polls for the 2019 federal election, public opinion suggests that politicians who ignore this issue do so at their own peril.

Co-operative enterprise has proven to be an effective answer to the lack of supply and affordability of housing across the country. Today, Canada’s housing co-ops are home to a quarter of a million people, and recent federal policies are opening the door to a renaissance of new co-operative development not seen in decades.

Join Tim Ross for a dialogue on the current policy landscape and the potential resurgence of co-operative housing as the answer to Canada’s affordable housing crisis.

Tim Ross, Executive Director
Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada (CHF)

With extensive leadership experience in housing and homelessness focused membership organizations, Tim Ross was appointed as the Executive Director of CHF Canada in 2018. Before moving to Ottawa, he was the Executive Director of the New Brunswick Non-Profit Housing Association, and worked at regional and national levels as a leading voice in the “housing for all” campaign in support of non-profit and cooperative housing. Tim believes that co-operative enterprise builds a better world.

Date: Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Time: 4:00-5:30 p.m.
Location:
Prairie Room, Diefenbaker Building, 101 Diefenbaker Place, University of Saskatchewan