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

BRAV-C PARTNERS WITH NOVAGREEN ON NEW ALBERTA BIOMASS REFINERY

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

The Battle River Agriventures Co-operative (BRAV-C) is partnering with an Alberta renewable energy company to build a straw-based biomass refinery in Killam, Alberta, 200 kilometres southeast of Edmonton.

The new plant aims to produce fuel grade ethanol, xylitol (a diabetic-safe sugar substitute) and sulphur-free lignin, a chemical compound used in a variety of industrial applications.

BRAV-C will provide NovaGreen with straw feedstock for the refining and combined heat and power portions of the project. BRAV-C has also been granted exclusive access to NovaGreen shares for a defined time period as part of this partnership arrangement.

BRAV-C has received support for the project from the Agricultural Co-operative Development Initiative (Ag-CDI) to hire advisors to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed enterprise. Ag-CDI aims to create sustainable livelihoods for Canadian farmers by helping develop biofuel and other value-added agricultural co-operatives. The program is financially supported by Agriculture and Agri-food Canada and co-managed by the Canadian Co-operative Association and le Conseil canadien de la coopération et de la mutualité, in partnership with the federal government's Co-operatives Secretariat.

Categories: Cooperatives

SERVUS CREDIT UNION MEMBERS BENEFIT FROM STRONG PERFORMANCE

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

Members of Servus Credit Union Ltd. are receiving 33.1 million good reasons for banking with Alberta's province-wide credit union.

Servus Credit Union is paying eligible member-owners a total of $33.1 million in cash and dividends during November, December and January. The amount represents the combined total of profit sharing paid to member-owners for the 2008 financial year by Community Savings, Common Wealth Credit Union and Servus Credit Union. These three credit unions amalgamated to form Servus Credit Union Ltd. on November 1, 2008.

While final audited financial figures for the 2008 year are not yet available, Servus indicated that the three credit unions which amalgamated to form one organization each performed well.

Servus Credit Union is a full-service member-owned financial institution serving more than 400,000 members through a network of 100 locations in 64 Alberta communities.

Categories: Cooperatives

NEW CREDIT UNION TO SERVE ARTS COMMUNITY

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

Canada's newest credit union -- Creative Arts Savings and Credit Union -- opens its doors this month.

Designed to serve the needs of artists in the film, radio and television industry, the Toronto-based credit union was created by the leaders of ACTRA, the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists. Members of ACTRA, as well as members of several other unions and associations in the arts and entertainment sector, are eligible to join.

For more information on the Creative Arts Savings and Credit Union, visit their web site at www.creativeartscu.com.

Categories: Cooperatives

VICTORIA MORRIS, JEREMY OSBORNE WIN LYSTER LEADERSHIP BURSARIES

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

Victoria Morris, Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Co-operative Association and Jeremy Osborne, an environmental consultant and former employee of the Credit Union Central of British Columbia and VanCity Credit Union, are the winners of the 2008 Dennis Lyster Leadership Bursary.

The Bursary, established in 2004 and administered by Concentra Financial, provides a maximum of $5,000 annually to promote the development of leadership within co-operatives and credit unions. While the bursary is normally awarded to one candidate each year, two winners were selected because of the high quality of the applications.

Ms. Morris and Mr. Osborne were selected by a committee consisting of Carol Hunter, Executive Director of the Canadian Co-operative Association, Lou Hammond Ketilson, Director of the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives at the University of Saskatchewan and Tom Webb, Program Manager at the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary's University in Halifax.

Categories: Cooperatives

NS COMMUNITY COLLEGE LAUNCHES CO-OP CURRICULUM

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

Business students at Nova Scotia Community College's Truro campus will have an opportunity to learn about co-operatives starting this semester.

The College is launching its Co-op Curriculum this month as part of its Business Progam. A total of 14 students are enrolled in this term's course, which will be taught by Leroy Lowe. The college also has plans for rolling out the course at other campuses in the future.

The Nova Scotia Co-operative Council has worked with NSCC on the development of the course.

Categories: Cooperatives

CREDIT UNION PROFESSIONALS RETURN TO GHANA

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

Ten Canadian and two Irish credit union professionals will soon be back in Ghana as return participants in the Canadian Co-operative Association's credit union coaching program.

The seven men and five women arrive in Accra on January 25 to offer technical advice and assistance to local credit unions and to assess progress made since their inaugural mission last year. The credit unions they are working with were selected by the Credit Union Association of Ghana (CUA) which co-sponsors the program.

Two of this year's coaches hail from the Irish League of Credit Unions Foundation as part of the Foundation's new partnership arrangement with the Canadian Co-operative Association. All participants contribute financially toward the cost of their two-week mission. The coaches are:

  • Detlef Beck - Director, Community Enterprises, Vancity Enterprises, BC.
  • Damien Brady - Credit Union Manager, Larkhill & District Credit Union, Dublin, Ireland
  • Vivian Campbell - Senior Credit Union Consultant, Credit Union Central of Nova Scotia, NS.
  • David Domes - General Manager of Sanford Credit Union, MB.
  • Joan Gallagher - Credit Union Manager, Derry Credit Union Ltd., Derry, Ireland.
  • Robin Goetz, - Assistant Branch Manager of Envision Credit Union, BC.
  • Mel Gosse - Vice-President Operations of League Savings & Mortgage and Project Leader to develop and implement Youth Strategy, NS
  • Lareina Grosse - Branch Manager of Northern Savings and Credit Union, BC.
  • Gary Seveny - Former CEO of Alterna Credit Union, ON.
  • Shirley Steiger - Relationship Banking Manager with Affinity Credit Union, SK.
  • Brian Thorne - Branch Manager for Bayview Credit Union, NB.
  • Susan Tustin - Operations Manager at Member Savings Credit Union, ON.

Two groups of first-time coaches will travel to Uganda and Malawi in February to share their experience and problem-solve with local credit union managers, staff and board members. Watch Co-operative News Briefs for further details. 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

CANADIAN CO-OPERATIVE ASSOCIATION SEEKS LEADERS IN CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE

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

The Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) launched a call for entries for the second annual Co-operative Governance Awards. These awards will recognize excellence in co-operative governance and leadership of Canadian co-operatives and credit unions. The Awards criteria are based on three factors: overall governance excellence; effective co-operative governance practices; and leadership in governance. Applicants will be required to complete a questionnaire on their co-op's/credit union's governance practices. The questionnaire responses are used by the judges to benchmark selected indicators of co-operative governance as part of the evaluation process.

The closing date for applications is March 31, 2009. The winners will be announced and showcased at CCA's 100th Anniversary Congress and Annual General Meeting in Ottawa, June 2009. For further details on how to apply and the Awards Guidance Notes please visit CCA's dedicated governance website, www.governance.coop.

Categories: Cooperatives

FINANCIAL CRISIS PROMPTS UK CONSUMERS TO SWITCH TO CO-OPERATIVE BANK

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

Britain's Co-operative Bank said it has seen a two-thirds increase in the number of people switching their current accounts to it following the recent financial turmoil.

The group said it had seen a 65 per cent rise in people from other banks opening a current account during the four months to the end of November, compared with the first four months of 2008. It said the uplift began in September, around the same time as investment bank Lehman Brothers collapsed and people began to worry about the financial strength of UK banks.

John Barker, head of current accounts at The Co-operative Bank, said: "It was often said that people were more likely to get divorced then change bank accounts, but it appears this consumer apathy is a thing of the past thanks to the financial crisis."

Categories: Cooperatives

THE MEETING PLACE

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

January 21-22: Alberta Community and Co-operative Association workshop on Co-operative Basics, Leduc AB. For more information, go to www.acca.coop and click on Events Calendar

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

CASE STUDIES OF HEALTH CO-OPS AROUND THE WORLD NOW AVAILABLE

Thu, 2008/12/11 - 10:04am
How do health co-operatives in Canada differ from those in the United States?  Or from those in Benin, Uganda or Mali?  A series of case studies profiling health co-ops in those five countries has been published under a mandate of the International Health Co-Operative Organisation and can be downloaded free of charge from the University of Sherbrooke's web site.
 
Each publication includes a snapshot of the national health system, information on the presence of health co-operatives, some short case studies and practical references. The series is based on a survey conducted in 2007 in collaboration with many people involved in health co-ops and other relevant organizations in the five countries.  
Categories: Cooperatives

THE MEETING PLACE

Thu, 2008/12/11 - 10:04am

February 1 - 3: 2009 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, as they become available, will be posted to http://www.CoopsCanada.coop/meetings/instituteofcoopstudies. May 27 - 29: Canadian Association for Studies in Co-operation (CASC) conference, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON. For more information, go to http://www.coopresearch.coop.  
Categories: Cooperatives

HAVE A CO-OPERATIVE HOLIDAY SEASON!

Thu, 2008/12/11 - 10:04am

Co-operative News Briefs  will not be published on Thursday, December 25; the next issue will appear on Thursday, January 8. CCA wishes all its members and friends a happy - and co-operative - holiday season.

The new year will also bring some additional changes to News Briefs. Beginning with the next issue, Donna Balkan, CCA's new Communication Manager, takes over as Editor. It has been a pleasure bringing you this bi-weekly roundup of co-operative news and events for the past seven years.

All the best, Brenda Heald
Categories: Cooperatives

HELP CHOOSE THE GREATEST CANADIAN CO-OPERATOR!

Thu, 2008/12/11 - 10:04am

Hockey players, rock stars and even scientists have a Hall of Fame: why not co-operators?
 
In celebration of the Canadian Co-operative Association's 100th anniversary, the CCA is creating a virtual Canadian Co-operative Hall of Fame, which will honour co-operators past, present, and future for their contribution to Canada's co-operative movement. 
 
The Hall of Fame, which will be housed on the CCA website, will be launched at the 2009 Congress in June, and will feature the induction of the Greatest Canadian Co-operator. This honour will be bestowed upon a deceased individual who was fundamental in shaping co-operation in Canada. Members of the Canadian co-operative community and the general public will be able to visit the CCA web site in the New Year to nominate an individual who has made a significant historical contribution to the Canadian co-operative movement. All nominations must be received by Monday, February 16; once nominations have closed, the CCA Anniversary Committee will identify up to 10 candidates who meet the nomination criteria. On March 6,the list of the top nominees will be posted on the CCA web site, and you will have an opportunity to vote for the Greatest Canadian Co-operator until the end of April.
 
In addition to the winner and nominees for Greatest Canadian Co-operator, the Hall of Fame will also become home to all past and future recipients of the CCA's two awards for living co-operators, the Canadian Co-operative Achievement Award and the Global Co-operator Award. Nominations for the 2009 awards close on January 31.
 
For additional information about the Greatest Canadian Co-operator and the Canadian Co-operative Achievement Award, contact Tanya Gracie , 613-238-6711 ext. 243.  For information about the Global Co-operator Award, contact Heather Staffa, at 613-238-6711, ext. 246.
Categories: Cooperatives

CDI RENEWAL CAMPAIGN CONTINUES DURING PARLIAMENTARY BREAK

Thu, 2008/12/11 - 10:04am
Canada's national co-op associations are taking advantage of the suspension of Parliament to step up their lobbying campaign to renew the Co-operative Development Initiative (CDI).   The Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) and the Conseil canadien de la cooperation et de la mutualité (CCCM) have asked provincial co-op associations to continue the campaign in their provinces by undertaking activities such as meeting face-to-face with Members of Parliament while they are in their ridings in December and January. CCA and CCCM have also suggested that co-ops that have received funding from Advisory Services, Innovation and Research or the value-added agricultural co-op program (Ag-CDI) contact their local MP and explain how the CDI program has helped them.
CDI is a federal government program that provides support for new and emerging co-ops. The program, which has been funded by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for the past six years, is scheduled to expire in March 2009.
CCA and CCCM are continuing to encourage all co-op members and supporters to write to Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, as well as to their Members of Parliament, to encourage the renewal of CDI.  The next session of Parliament is expected to begin on January 26, 2009 with the introduction of a new federal budget. For more information about CDI, as well as tools to  allow you to look up and e-mail your MP,  Agriculture Minister Ritz or Finance Minister Flaherty,  visit the CCA's CDI web site at www.coopscanada.coop/cdi.
Categories: Cooperatives

NEW ETHANOL PLANT OPENS, LARGEST CO-OP START-UP IN CANADIAN HISTORY

Thu, 2008/12/11 - 10:04am
Canada's first ethanol co-operative will officially open its doors in Aylmer, Ontario on December 17, marking a day of great pride for residents of the region. It has taken Integrated Grain Processors Co-operative (IGPC) six years to complete the many stages of planning and fundraising required for the 150-million-litre per year plant, which has created 35 new jobs in the heart of what was once Ontario's tobacco belt.  IGPC was profiled in a case study as part of the Agricultural Co-operative Development Initiatiave. The program, financially supported by Agriculture and Agri-food Canada and co-managed by the Canadian Co-operative Association and le Conseil Canadien de la Coopération, in partnership with the Co-operatives Secretariat, aims to create sustainable livelihoods for Canadian farmers by helping develop biofuel and other value-added agricultural co-operatives.
Categories: Cooperatives

ESTABLISHED CO-OPS SHARE KNOWLEDGE AT THE SECOND ANNUAL AG-CDI CONFERENCE

Thu, 2008/12/11 - 10:04am
Nearly 60 farmer members of new value-added agricultural co-ops were educated and inspired at the 2nd annual conference of the Agricultural Co-op Development Initiative (Ag-CDI), held in Montreal on November 27-28. 
 
The conference was a key part of the Ag-CDI program, which provides new agricultural co-ops with technical assistance funding and educational support.  All speaker presentations from the conference will soon be available at www.coopzone.coop/Ag-CDI_Conference_2008.
Categories: Cooperatives

KELDERMAN NAMED TO NOVA SCOTIA PREMIER'S ECONOMIC ADVISORY PANEL

Thu, 2008/12/11 - 10:04am
Nova Scotia Co-operative Council Executive Director Dianne Kelderman has been appointed by Nova Scotia Premier Rodney MacDonald to his new Economic Advisory Panel. The 14-member group is made up of business leaders from across the province, and will meet quarterly for the next two years. The panel will provide feedback, information and advice on general economic conditions in Nova Scotia and around the world, including trends and opportunities. The first meeting will be held in January.
Categories: Cooperatives

NOVA SCOTIANS HAVE POSITIVE PERCEPTION OF CO-OPS: OPINION POLL

Thu, 2008/12/11 - 10:04am

A public opinion survey commissioned by the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council shows that the vast majority of Nova Scotians have a favourable opinion of co-ops and say the co-operative sector is important to the province's economy.

The survey, conducted in October, showed that 87% of those interviewed described their opinion of co-ops as "completely favourable" or "mostly favourable", while only 6% cent gave unfavourable responses. Similarly, 86% said they had a completely or mostly favourable perception of credit unions.

In addition, 20% of respondents described co-ops and credit unions as "critically important" to the Nova Scotia economy, with another 57 per cent saying they were "important but not critical".

When asked to compare co-operatives to retail organizations that are not co-ops, three-quarters of respondents said co-ops are better in terms of their "care and commitment to local communities"; 55% said customers service representatives had a better attitude in co-op organizations, and 56% cent said co-ops were more likely to provide "the feeling that you are a valued customer."

Approximately one quarter of the Nova Scotians surveyed said they were a member of a co-op or credit union.

Categories: Cooperatives

STATSCAN SURVEY SHOWS MORE INVESTMENT IN CO-OPS NEEDED

Thu, 2008/12/11 - 10:04am
The Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) has called on government and financial institutions to increase their investment in co-operatives in the wake of a Statistics Canada survey on co-op financing.
 
The Survey on Financing of Co-operatives, shows that one-fifth of the Canadian co-operatives surveyed indicated that trying to obtain loans, grants or other forms of financing was a serious obstacle to the growth of their organizations. At the same time, the survey indicated that the majority of co-operatives that applied specifically for new or additional loans, lines of credit and credit cards - particularly those in rural areas - received the full amount that they requested.
 
Co-operatives that had requested financing in the three years prior to the survey reported that their main reason for seeking financing was to acquire additional working or operating capital.  The second most common reason was to purchase additional machinery and equipment, followed by buying additional land and buildings.
 
John Anderson, CCA's Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy, said he was pleased to discover that the majority of co-ops who request external financing are receiving it, although he is concerned that financing remains a barrier for some co-op businesses.
Categories: Cooperatives

NEW "PRODUCT OF CANADA" FOOD LABELLING GUIDELINES TO TAKE EFFECT

Thu, 2008/12/11 - 10:04am

Canadians and retailers will soon see changes on the labels of their favourite foods. New Canadian food labelling guidelines announced by Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Gerry Ritz this summer will come into effect on December 31.
 
Under the new rules, the "Product of Canada" label can only be used if both that the contents and processing are Canadian. This means that 98% of the ingredients must come from Canada and that the processing of the food must take place in Canada. There can be very little or no foreign content, except for minor additives or spices that may not be sourced here in Canada.
 
Food manufactures have other alternatives, such as the "Made in Canada" label which can used when the food product is manufactured or processed in Canada regardless of whether the ingredients are imported, domestic or both. This labelling is voluntary and does not guarantee the origin of ingredients. 
 
Last April, the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) made a presentation on Product of Canada labelling to the House of Commons Agriculture Committee. As well as asking for clearer definition for Product of Canada, CCA also asked for the listing of country of origin of all major ingredients in processed food sold in Canada.
 
Background info on the new Canadian Food Labelling Initiative can be found at www.healthycanadians.ca/pr-rp/cfli-icepa_e.html.

Categories: Cooperatives