CCA News Briefs

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Co-operative News Briefs, an electronic newsletter of the Canadian Co-operative Association, is published every two weeks and distributed by e-mail. It is available free of charge to anyone with an e-mail address and an interest in co-operative developments in Canada and around the world.
Updated: 7 years 43 weeks ago

CITIZENS BANK, CDF JOIN FORCES TO COMBAT GLOBAL POVERTY

Thu, 2009/01/22 - 9:38am

Citizens Bank and the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada(CDF) have concluded an innovative agreement that will provide new resources in the struggle against poverty in the developing world.

Citizens Bank has agreed to donate $10 to CDF for every $1,000 RSP contribution made between January 13 and February 29, 2009, up to a maximum of $6,000. Since 2005, Citizens Bank has contributed $458,000 to the CDF for international development work.

The Co-operative Development Foundation is the fundraising arm of the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA). It raises money to support the development of co-operatives and credit unions in Africa, Asia, The Americas, and Eastern Europe.  The money raised by CDF is primarily used by CCAin its international development work in some 20 countries around the world.

Citizens Bank was formed by Vancity in 1997 as an online, national bank that would take Canada's largest credit union  beyond the borders of British Columbia.  

Categories: Cooperatives

MANITOBA CREDIT UNIONS POST 30 PER CENT INCREASE IN DONATIONS TO CDF

Thu, 2009/01/22 - 9:38am

Credit Union Central of Manitoba corporate secretary Dale Ward has reported that Manitoba credit unions donated $62, 844 to the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada during its 2008 pledge drive.

The figure represents a 30 per cent increase ($14,500) over last year's donations. CDF is the fundraising arm of the Canadian Co-operative Association, which helps credit unions and co-operatives in developing countries turn poverty into prosperity.

"What a great way to start a new year!" Mr. Ward said. 

Categories: Cooperatives

RAYANNE BRENNAN APPOINTED EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF THE ATLANTIC CO-OPERATOR

Thu, 2009/01/22 - 9:38am

Veteran New Brunswick journalist Rayanne Brennan is the new editor of The Atlantic Co-operator and its French-language counterpart, Le Coopérateur. The Moncton-based newspaper is published nine times a year and is Atlantic Canada's best-known publication dealing with the co-operative sector.

Ms. Brennan succeeds Mark Higgins, who has accepted a full-time position as communications specialist with Co-op Atlantic.

She brings to her new position more than 25 years experience in print journalism, government relations and corporate communications. A former press sectretary to New Brunswick government leaders, she was managing editor of three weekly newspapers in New Brunswick and oversaw media and public relations for several forest product manufacturers.

Categories: Cooperatives

NATIONAL CAREER WEB SITE LAUNCHED FOR CREDIT UNIONS

Thu, 2009/01/22 - 9:38am

The initial phase of CareerFocus, a new national career website for credit unions, has just been launched. Its mission -- to connect Canadian credit union employers with job-seekers interested in a financial services career in the credit union system.

Over the coming months, CareerFocus will evolve into a comprehensive website with improved functionality for both job seekers and employers. This new website will replace the existing job opportunities pages hosted on the Central 1 websites in Ontario and B.C. Visitors to the Central 1 job opportunities/careers pages will be redirected to CareerFocus at www.creditunioncareers.ca.

If you require information on job posting services or want to post a job, e-mail careerfocus@creditunioncareers.ca or contact Tiffany Sek in People Solutions, Central 1 Credit Union, at 604-737-5928 or 1-800-661-6813, ext. 5928.

Categories: Cooperatives

MEC EMPLOYEE CO-AUTHORS BOOK ON GENDER INTELLIGENT RETAILING

Thu, 2009/01/22 - 9:38am

A 10-year veteran of Mountain Equipment Co-op is the co-author of a new book on how retail stores can more effectively reach women consumers.

Sean McSweeney, currently assistant manager of MEC's Toronto store, joined forces with consultant Joanne Thomas Yaccato to write The Gender Intelligent Retailer, published in December by international publisher J.W. Wiley.  Mr. McSweeney spearheaded MEC's first gender-based store redesign in Toronto and has been instrumental in helping MEC win a number of environmental awards.

According to the book, women are discerning consumers who control 80 per cent of the consumer dollar spent in the industrialized world. But the retail sector ranks poorly in its ability to serve and satisfy this major market.  The way to reach women effectively is to put women's consumer needs at the epicenter of a retailer's business strategy, and the book provides advice on how to do it.

Categories: Cooperatives

NCBA WRITES TO PRESIDENT OBAMA

Thu, 2009/01/22 - 9:38am

The National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA), the major national membership association for American co-operatives, has written to President Barack Obama congratulating him on his election victory and highlighting issues of interest to the co-operative sector.

In a letter written in December, NCBA told the then-president-elect that  "the co-op sector is big and prepared to be a valuable player on the change team."

"Democratically controlled and owned cooperatives can shift the focus away from maximizing short-term profits to creating long-term sustainable solutions that enhance ecnoomic opportunities for all our communities," NCBA said in its letter. "You and your team recognize the role co-ops can play by including them in some of your proposed solutions..."

Issues highlighted in the NCBA letter included renewable energy, health care, financial services, rural America, assisting local, independent businesses, housing, job creation, community assistance, international development and education.

Categories: Cooperatives

SANASA RATED THIRD BEST MICROFINANCE INSTITUTION IN THE WORLD

Thu, 2009/01/22 - 9:38am

The SANASA Development Bank (SDBL), a bank owned by and for the co-operative sector in Sri Lanka, has been ranked third among the world's top 100 performing microfinance institutions by Microfinance Information Exchange, Inc. (MIX). 
 
Registered in 1997 as a licensed specialized bank by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, the SANASA Development Bank functions as the lead financial institution serving the members of the century-old SANASA credit and thrift movement and is committed to uplifting the standards of living for low-income Sri Lankan families through a range of microfinance activities. Powered by a community-based approach and a professional staff, the SDBL serves farmers, fisherman, vendors and labourers and small business owners across Sri Lanka through 31 branches and seven extension centers. The SDBL is a longstanding co-operative development partner of the Canadian Co-operative Association.  
 
The annual MIX Global 100 Composite Ranking highlights institutions that achieve high outreach and low transaction costs while being both profitable and transparent. SANASA's third-place showing is a dramatic improvement for SANASA, which was rated 50th in the 2007 MIX survey. 

Categories: Cooperatives

NEW COACHES REACH OUT TO CREDIT UNIONS IN MALAWI AND UGANDA

Thu, 2009/01/22 - 9:38am

Twelve Canadian credit union professionals are about to get their first taste of credit union coaching in Africa as they prepare for their upcoming mission to Malawi and Uganda. They are all new participants in the Canadian Co-operative Association's credit union coaching program.

The seven men and five women, who hail from credit unions in seven Canadian provinces, will meet in Toronto for a two-day training session before flying to Africa on February 20. They return to Canada March 7. 
 
The coaches will offer technical advice and assistance to local credit unions selected for their mission by program co-sponsors the Malawi Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives (MUSCCO) and the Uganda Co-operative Alliance. All participants contribute financially toward the cost of their two-week mission. The coaches are:

  • Brad Hopfauf - Vice President Branch Services, Wainwright Credit Union Ltd. (Wainwright, Alberta)
  • Bruce Anderson - General Manager, Lafleche Credit Union (Lafleche, Saskatchewan)
  • Dennis Matthies - General Manager, Lowe Farm Credit Union (Lowe Farm, Manitoba)
  • Jeannette Holmden - CEO, PSE Credit Union (Riverview, New Brunswick)
  • Charlie Collura - CEO, Healthcare and Municipal Employees' Credit Union (Hamilton, Ontario)
  • Gary Forsey - General Manager, Steel Centre Credit Union (Sydney, Nova Scotia)
  • Joan Ellis - Senior Manager Special Projects, CUSOURCE (Ottawa, Ontario)
  • Ruth Maccan - Branch Manager, Envision Financial (Chilliwack, British Columbia)
  • Tammy Christopher - Chief Financial Officer, OMISTA Credit Union (Salem, New Brunswick)
  • Paul Innes - Branch Manager, OMISTA Credit Union (Riverview, New Brunswick)
  • Robert Christiansen - Branch Manager, Servus Credit Union (Lethbridge, Alberta)
  • Nichola Anderton - Insurance Compliance Officer, Credential Financial Inc. (Vancouver, British Columbia)

To follow the progress of this year's coaches visit the Coaching Corner in the international development section of the CCA web site, www.coopscanada.coop.

Categories: Cooperatives

THERE'S STILL TIME TO NOMINATE THE GREATEST CANADIAN CO-OPERATOR!

Thu, 2009/01/22 - 9:38am

Who is the Greatest Canadian Co-operator of all time?  You still have until February 16 to have your say.

The Canadian Co-operative Association is creating the Canadian Co-operative Hall of Fame as part of its 100th anniversary celebrations, and needs your nominations.  The top 10 nominees, led by the Greatest Canadian Co-operator, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at CCA's National Congress in June.

For more information and an on-line nomination form, visit www.coopscanada.coop/100th/fame.

Categories: Cooperatives

GENEVA TO HOST 2009 ICA GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Thu, 2009/01/22 - 9:38am

The 2009 International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) General Assembly and related events will be held in Geneva at the International Convention Centre from November 16-20, instead of Glasgow, Scotland, as previously planned.

The Assembly will be convened to discuss issues relating to sustainability and responsibility and will address how co-operatives are coping and addressing today's challenges whether it be the financial or food crisis, climate change and economic security issues showing the relevance of the cooperative model of enterprise. For more information contact visit the calendar on the ICA web site.
 

Categories: Cooperatives

THE MEETING PLACE

Thu, 2009/01/22 - 9:38am

February 1-3: Institute for Co-operative Studies, Banff, AB. Presented by the Canadian Co-operative Association, the Institute of Co-operative Studies is the only national co-operative event that contributes to the development of leadership across organizations and sectors within a co-operative and credit union context. Details are available at

www.coopscanada.coop/meetings/instituteofcoopstudies .

May 27-29: Canadian Association for Studies in Co-operation (CASC) conference, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON 

June 16-19: Celebrating a Century of Co-operation: Honouring the Past, Building the Future -- CCA National Congress, Westin Hotel, Ottawa, ON.

Categories: Cooperatives

CCA CELEBRATES A CENTURY OF CO-OPERATION

Thu, 2009/01/08 - 9:06am

The Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and is planning a variety of activities aimed at highlighting the role co-operatives and credit unions - past and present - have played in the lives of Canadians and their communities.

CCA's predecessor, the Co-operative Union of Canada (CUC), was formed in Hamilton, Ontario on March 6, 1909 to encourage sharing of information, mutual self-help and concerted action among Canadian co-operative organizations. In 1987, CUC merged with the co-operative movement's educational arm, the Co-operative College of Canada to create CCA.

"We're not just celebrating the anniversary of CCA, we're also celebrating 100 years of the co-operative movement as a whole," said CCA President Dave Sitaram. "Co-ops are one of Canada's greatest success stories; many of them were created during tough economic times, and they are now as relevant as ever before."

Activities aimed at celebrating CCA's 100th anniversary include:

  • The creation of a virtual Canadian Co-operative Hall of Fame, which will honour
    individuals who have made a significant contribution to Canada's co-operative movement.
    To submit your nomination for the Greatest Canadian Co-operator, visit http://www.coopscanada.coop/100th/fame.cfm
    The deadline for nominations is February 16.
  • The publication of A Century of Co-operation, a commemorative book on the history
    of the CCA and co-operatives in Canada by Ian MacPherson, Professor Emeritus in
    History and founding director of the British Columbia Institute for Co-operative
    Studies at the University of Victoria.
  • The 2009 CCA Congress, which will take place in Ottawa from June 16-19 and highlight
    the anniversary year The Congress will feature high-profile speakers on co-operatives
    and the economy, as well as panels, workshops and other activities.
  • A Youth Action Strategy for young Canadian co-operators, to engage Canadian youth
    in employment, leadership and education in the co-operative sector.

More information on CCA's 100th anniversary is available on the CCA web site at http://www.coopscanada.coop/100th/

Categories: Cooperatives

NEW MANITOBA STRATEGY BOOSTS GOVERNMENT SUPPORT TO CO-OPS

Thu, 2009/01/08 - 9:06am

The government of Manitoba has announced a new Co-operative Development Strategy to help communities create and grow co-ops in the province.

The new strategy was developed in partnership with the Manitoba Cooperative Association (MCA) and other key stakeholders.

The recommendations of the new strategy include:

  • provincial funding of up to $80,000 for research to measure the social and economic impact of Manitoba's co-operative sector;
  • the creation of an interdepartmental working group to facilitate and support the use of the co-operative model in delivery of programs and services by government departments;
  • the development of a strategy steering committee, which will include MCA, to oversee the continued development and implementation of the strategy;
  • provincial funding totalling $125,000 over two years to develop a curriculum that will support the development of co-operatives in such areas as project planning, management training, board governance, business planning, equity drives and training and mentorship of boards, committees, management and staff. 
Categories: Cooperatives

A RECORD YEAR FOR FEDERATED CO-OPERATIVES

Thu, 2009/01/08 - 9:06am

Federated Co-operatives Limited -- which is made up of 270 retail co-ops throughout western Canada -- has posted a record year in both sales and earnings.

Federated achieved record sales of $8.4 billion and record earnings of $755.5 million over the past year. Sales increased by $3 billion and earnings increased by $96 million over the previous year. (These results include 100 per cent ownership of NewGrade Energy Inc. compared to 50 per cent ownership in FCL's 2007 fiscal year.) Of the $755.5 million in earnings, $533.7 million was returned to member retail co-ops across western Canada. The remainder of the earnings were retained in FCL for its operations.

Categories: Cooperatives

CCA URGES MORE SUPPORT FOR CO-OPS IN NEW FEDERAL BUDGET

Thu, 2009/01/08 - 9:06am

The Canadian Co-operative Association has submitted a brief to the federal government's pre-budget consultations calling on the government to increase support for co-ops as part of its efforts to stimulate the economy through job creation and the creation of new community enterprises.

The eight-page brief, entitled Revitalizing Canada's economy: Co-operatives are part of the solution, urges the government to renew and expand the Co-operative Development Initiative, which provides support to new and emerging co-ops, as well as create a national Co-operative Investment Plan, which would provide tax credits for investing in co-ops.

"Co-operatives, including many of our largest credit unions and retail co-operatives, were born and grew up in hard times," CCA said in its brief. "We think that the co-op model can again be an important vehicle in helping to get our economy moving again."

The CCA brief also calls for:

  • new government investments in co-operative housing
  • a Canada-wide povery reduction strategy
  • an increase in international development assistance
  • support for agricultural co-ops and local food initiatives
  • policies to promote commuity economic development
  • major investments in First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities
  • an increased role for child care co-ops as part of a federal child care strategy
  • a dedicated Community Environmental Fund to support projects in renewable energy
    and other activites aimed at protecting the environment

The full text of the brief is available on the CCA web site at http://www.coopscanada.coop/pdf/aboutcca/gapp/govsubmissions/CCApre-budgetconsultationbrief.pdf.

Categories: Cooperatives

THERE'S STILL TIME TO CAMPAIGN FOR CDI RENEWAL

Thu, 2009/01/08 - 9:06am

With the new federal budget scheduled for tabling later this month, there's still time to let our politicians know about the importance of renewing and expanding the Co-operative Development Initiative (CDI).

More than 30 organizations, as well as numerous individuals, have already written letters to Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and local MPs calling for the renewal of the federal program, which provides assistance to new and emerging co-ops and is scheduled to expire on March 31.

For more information on CDI, as well as an electronic tool for e-mailing your MP, visit http://www.coopscanada.coop/cdi/

Categories: Cooperatives

THE CO-OPERATORS SCORES HAT TRICK ON 50 BEST EMPLOYERS IN CANADA LIST

Thu, 2009/01/08 - 9:06am


An international human resources firm has rated The Co-operators and two of its member companies among Canada's top 50 employers.

This is the sixth consecutive year that The Co-operators has made the best employers list, compiled annually by Hewitt Associates using results of confidential surveys completed by employees.

The Co-operators, based in Guelph, Ontario, was ranked the 12th best employer in Canada, while L'Union Canadienne of Quebec City and Co-operators Life Insurance Company of Regina were ranked 23rd and 41st respectively.

"Having three Co-operators listings on this list is a special accomplishment, because it is based primarily on confidential feedback from our employees," said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. "The results reflect the positive and supportive atmosphere we strive to create in workplaces across our group of companies."

In addition to The Co-operators, three credit unions also made the best employers list: Envision Financial (26th), Conexus (30th) and Mouvement Desjardins (46th).

Categories: Cooperatives

CEO OF COAST CAPITAL SAVINGS TO RETIRE

Thu, 2009/01/08 - 9:06am

Lloyd Craig will retire in mid-2009 from his position as President and CEO of Coast
Capital Savings
, after seven years at the helm of one of Canada's largest credit unions.

His career in the financial services industry spans 37 years, including 22 years in the credit union sector. Mr. Craig was appointed in 1986 as CEO of Surrey Credit Union (later Surrey Metro Savings), and held that position through to the 2002 merger with Coast Capital Savings, which had been formed two years earlier in a merger of Pacific Coast Savings and Richmond Savings credit unions.

"Lloyd's vision and leadership have been critical in melding what used to be three regional credit unions into an organization with a cohesive vision and mission," said Bill Wellburn, Chair of Coast Capital Savings, who noted that Lloyd "has been the leading advocate for a strong, competitive and nationally based credit union system.

Recruitment for a new CEO will begin in early 2009.

Categories: Cooperatives

NS GOVERNMENT, CO-OP SECTOR JOIN FORCES TO HELP IMMIGRANT BUSINESSES

Thu, 2009/01/08 - 9:06am

Immigrants who live in Nova Scotia can soon get down to business with the help of the Immigrant Small Business Financing Program.

Available solely through credit unions across the province, the program offers immigrants who have lived in Nova Scotia for less than five years loans of up to $150,000 to help start, expand or buy a small business.

Many immigrants - even those with stable banking practices in their home countries - often find it difficult to get business funding as banks and other lending institutions in Canada generally do not recognize international credit history.

The new program will be administered by the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council, and is a joint initiative of the council, the Credit Union Central of Nova Scotia, local credit unions, Nova Scotia Economic Development and the Office of Immigration. Credit unions will begin taking applications this month.

Categories: Cooperatives

CUMIS DONATES A MILLION AEROPLAN POINTS TO HELP ALLEVIATE HUNGER.

Thu, 2009/01/08 - 9:06am

The CUMIS Group Limited (CUMIS) has made two special donations to help alleviate hunger durng the holiday season. CUMIS donated a million Aeroplan points to Air Canada's Kids' Horizons program, as well as $13,000 to food banks in each of the regions in which CUMIS operates for the purchase of non-perishable food items and other basic necessities.

Air Canada's Kids' Horizons program works in partnership with charities and non-profit organizations to offer effective programs that make a difference in the lives of young Canadians. It is especially focused on the health of Canadian children, alleviating child poverty and answering the wishes of seriously ill children.

The CUMIS Group Limited (CUMIS) partners with credit unions to deliver competitive insurance and financial solutions.

Categories: Cooperatives