The Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation conference will explore how changes such as growing income inequality, climate change, and automation are affecting the world of work and how worker co-ops can help people address these extreme forms of disruption.
“I’m excited by worker co-op sector potential at this critical time,” says Hazel Corcoran, the Federation’s executive director. “With growing inequality and other profound economic challenges, people are clearly looking for an alternative economic model. Worker co-ops, which are proven solidarity-based enterprises, are uniquely positioned to fill this role. The Conference will offer a chance to learn how we can maximize available opportunities in the years ahead”.
The three-day Conference, which brings together many of the Federation’s 50 member organizations and 100+ indirect members from across the country, aims to strengthen Canada’s growing worker co-operative sector. It features a number of workshops, networking sessions, and guest speakers. This year’s keynote speakers are Rob Wesseling, President and CEO of The Co-operators, and Molly McCracken, Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – Manitoba Office.
A worker co-op, for the uninitiated, is a form of business where a company’s employees own and democratically manage the business. They share in both the business’ decision-making and its profit. Currently, there are an estimated 350 worker co-ops across Canada. Winnipeg is home to a number of worker cooperatives including Natural Cycleworks, Organic Planet Worker Co-op, and ParIT.
While Conference sessions will key in on the theme, there will also be workshops on financial management in a worker co-operative, as well as social enterprises, co-operatives in indigenous communities, and more.
This Conference is open to non-members as well.