The Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives’ (CCSC) Monthly Brown Bag is an online gathering for co-operative sector professionals to learn from others in the field and exchange information in a casual setting.
On December 1, 2021, the second Monthly Brown Bag featured Co-operatives First, a nonprofit organization funded by Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) and the Co-operative Retailing System (CRS). Our speakers were Audra Krueger, Executive Director of Co-operatives First, and Sheldon Stener Q.C., General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, FCL, and Chair of the Board at Co-operatives First. Founded in 2015, Co-operatives First provides co-op start-up resources, such as feasibility studies, business plans, and incorporation support to rural and Indigenous co-op entrepreneurs across western Canada. Their goal is to help leaders in these communities build new businesses, grow local economies, and support community development. Audra and Sheldon shared the story of Co-operatives First, which began with a research project called the Co-operative Innovation Project (CIP) at the University of Saskatchewan’s Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.
The co-operative model has long been used to provide childcare services in Canada and other countries and may offer a solution to the long waiting lists and the high cost of childcare that have frustrated parents with young children and deterred them from returning to work. Continue reading →
Murray Fulton, director, Centre for the Study of Co-operatives
The Role of Co-operatives in the Economy
In a StarPhoenix/Leader Post op-ed piece published on 7 December 2016, Brett Fairbairn, Dionne Pohler, and I outlined why a mix of business types is required for a well-functioning market. As we said,
Achieving the correct balance of different types of business forms is critical.… Just as biological environments benefit from a rich mix of different organisms, so, too, do markets benefit from a diversity of business types. Consumer interests and a desire for local control can be met with co-operatives; niche markets can be served by entrepreneurs; and employment opportunities can be generated through employee ownership. Established chains have a role to play, given their brand identification and experience.
While we were commenting specifically on the privatization of liquor stores in Saskatchewan, the argument is a general one and applies to all markets in the economy. It is particularly relevant for co-operatives and credit unions. Continue reading →