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Freedom Dreaming: Creating Co-ops that Empower & Enliven Community

Brown background with graphics of curved lines and triangles, as well as Freedom Dreams logo. Text says "Episode #4 December 8, 2021 6pm-7:30pm ET. Workshop: Freedom Dreaming. Creating Co-ops that empower and enliven community. Christine Clark, founder, Freedom Dreams Co-operative Education. Josephine Grey, Co-founder, St James Town Community Co-op." Headshots of Christine Clarke and Josephine Grey. Community-led solutions lead to transformative social change and co-ops put the power to shape our realities and decide our own futures back into people's hands. Community organizer and human rights advocate Josephine Grey of St. James Town Community Co-op joins us to explore impact co-op models that meet community needs.

The workshop will be a participatory, question-and-answer session and we encourage attendees to come with their questions for Josephine on how to create impactful co-op models that truly meet community needs.

Freedom Dreams Co-operative Education Program is an online and place-based workshop series that shares knowledge about co-operatives and the solidarity economy from a Black, Indigenous and Person of Colour (BIPOC) perspective. The "Transformation on Our Own Terms" series explores the complex histories of co-operatives often left out of the examples and conversations in the mainstream co-operative rhetoric here in Canada, with cultural significance in South and Central America, Asia and Southeast Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and throughout the Black Diaspora.

As we ‘build back better’ in a post-COVID world, this webinar series demonstrates not only what’s possible but what’s necessary in order for BIPOC communities to take their power into their own hands regarding food sovereignty, social justice, economic self-determination and more. 


54 Kensington Market, Neighbourhood Organizing and Community Land Trust

Urban building painted with mural of Mona Lisa, with a handmade banner in front that says "Community Owned Kensington." Image text says "Affordable Housing Challenge Project Seminar Series. 54 Kensington Ave, Neighbourhood Organizing, and Community Land Trust. Monday Nov 29, 2021, 7:30pm EST Zoom. Dominique Russel, Co-Chair, KMCLT. Chiyi Tam, Development Manager, KMCLT. Other KMCLT residents and board members. Moderated by Sinead Petrasek, PhD student, Human Geography." Logos of Kensington Market Community Land Trust and Affordable Housing Challenge Project.On June 1st 2021, a self-organized neighborhood group called the Kensington Market Community Land Trust (KMCLT) successfully bought their first building - 54 Kensington Avenue and took it off the private real estate market. For three years prior, the residents of the building, along with their neighbours and local political representatives protested and fought against the illegal eviction of 20+ tenants from this building. Now the building is owned by the community, through this democratically controlled community land trust. Come to our free online webinar to hear how Toronto's locals are fighting for affordable housing, despite seeing neighborhood changes rapidly displacing low-income tenants and those most marginalized. Hear the story of how this was possible, and bring your questions.

Learn more and register

Director of Policy and Research

The Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet) is seeking a Director of Policy and Research. This is a leadership position that will report to the Executive Director, leading CCEDNet’s advocacy and research strategies.   

$62,218 - $83,278 annually, adjusted for regional cost of living variances, plus extended benefits
6 Dec 2021

Campaign: Take Action for Community Economies

A new cohort of MPs is headed to Ottawa on November 22nd.  We want to make sure they take action for community economies! 

Supporting community economies is Canada’s best path forward for post-COVID economic recovery that works for everyone.  The best way for the federal government to support community economies is by implementing the 12 recommendations of the Social Innovation and Social Finance Co-creation Steering Group.  These recommendations address social enterprise skill development, social procurement, unlocking private capital, increasing market access, and regulatory changes. 

Call to Action

Please help by contacting your MP about this!  You have a few contact options:

  1. Give them a call, drop in at their office, or ask them for an appointment.  Feel free to use these speaking notes when you talk to them or their staff. 
  2. Send them an email – we’ve prepared a template for you
  3. Contact them via social media.  Here is a sample tweet and a sample Facebook post – adapt them as you see fit!

Don’t know your MP?  Find them and their contact information here.

Don’t forget to let us know what you did (email r.marks@ccednet-rcdec.ca), and we’ll recognize you and your MP on social media! 

A bit of background

In 2018, the Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy Co-Creation Steering Group released its report, Inclusive Innovation: New Ideas and New Partnerships for Stronger Communities.  Following the release of the report, the federal government established the Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy and, in 2018, announced a $755M Social Finance Fund and $50M Investment Readiness Program; the 2021-22 federal budget re-affirmed commitments to launch the $755M Social Finance Fund with up to $220M deployed over its first two years, and renewed the Investment Readiness Program for another $50M over two years.  But there has been little action on the remaining recommendations!

Webinar: Community Investment Organizations

10:00-11:00 am Pacific
11:00 am - 12:00 pm Mountain
12:00-1:00 pm Central
1:00-2:00 pm Eastern
2:00-3:00 pm Atlantic
2:30-3:30 pm Newfoundland

Community Investment Organizations create pools of capital raised through the sale of shares, which are then reinvested into local businesses.  Many CIOs pay dividends to investors and are RRSP/TFSA eligible.  

In recent years, there has been increasing interest in strategies such as CIOs that redirect investments for community benefit.  Based on the proven success of Nova Scotia’s Community Economic Development Investment Funds (CEDIFs), other provinces have launched CED investment and tax credit programs, and communities across the country are organizing to redirect capital to local needs.  

Join us on December 2 to learn about the success of Nova Scotia’s CEDIF program, the long and eventually successful advocacy journey towards their establishment in New Brunswick, and the challenges and opportunities for CIOs in Ontario.  Plus, some concrete examples of CIOs (aka investment opportunities!) and time for networking and exchanges with peers. 


  • Courtney Mo, Manager - Public Policy, Research & Evaluation, Momentum
  • Édouard Sylvestre, Impact Officer, Co-operative Council of Ontario
  • Wendy Keats, Retiree, Former Executive Director, Co-operative Enterprise Council of New Brunswick 
  • Kristin Van Hattem, RRSP Program Manager, Canadian Worker Co-op Federation
  • Facilitator: Raissa Marks, Policy & Research Director, Canadian Community Economic Development Network

Please join us on December 2!

Register for Webinar: Community Investment Organizations

This is the third session in this year's Strengthening Community Economies: POLICY & ADVOCACY Series that is designed to build skills, provide support, and strengthen a culture of political action among CCEDNet members. To join CCEDNet or to find out more about our barrier-free membership policy, click here.


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