October 2010

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Profile: Manitoba Green Retrofit


For many lower income Winnipeggers, the barriers to employment in the formal labour market can often seem insurmountable. Fortunately, Manitoba Green Retrofit has identified and helped eliminate these barriers through an innovative business model. “We find the people who want the work, who want to develop skills and improve their circumstances, and then we go and find the work together,” says General Manager, Lucas Stewart.

With an entrepreneurial spirit and a socially responsible mandate to reduce poverty, improve employment opportunities, and enhance environmental sustainability, Manitoba Green Retrofit is a triple-threat leader in CED principles. This non-profit social enterprise takes on small construction projects, environmental retrofits, rental apartment turnovers, and basic renovations in some of Winnipeg’s lower income housing stock. The construction work, however, is seen as a means towards a greater end. MGR seeks to improve low-income communities by providing training, creating opportunities, and building sustainable community development.

Having recently won a competitive bid for a construction contract, MGR will soon become busier than ever. This water retrofit contract, awarded by the Province of Manitoba in conjunction with Manitoba Hydro, will involve the installation of over 300 dual flush toilets in low income households. For MGR, the contract means a full year of employment for one or more individuals who may have otherwise been considered unemployable in traditional labour companies. According to Lucas, the contract also signifies that “jobs can get done while achieving more than one goal.” He claims that by hiring and purchasing locally, MGR “drives dollars directly into the local economy and creates a compounding social value effect.”

In terms of finding employees, Lucas is not concerned. He recalls the spring of 2010 when MGR was awarded a sub-contract to do interior work on the new Neechi Commons Building on Main Street. MGR held interviews in the community to fill the 15 positions needed to complete the job. “Over twice that many members of the community showed up, demonstrating a willingness to work,” says Lucas. After 35 days of hard manual labour, the crew completed the job on time and on budget. Although MGR prides itself on customer satisfaction, the employee’s satisfaction of a job well done is equally important. Whether constructing a space for a client, or providing employment for community members, MGR seeks to create a sense of place and belonging. “There is a place for everyone,” Lucas concludes, “whether you are just starting out, or straightening out.”


Contact Manitoba Green Retrofit

Saskatchewan CED News

Saskatchewan Provincial Social Economy Workshop

This final installment of the Linking, Learning, Leveraging series is being held at Wanuskewin Heritage Park on Friday, November 19. The workshop will take place from 10:00am to 4:00pm.

If you are interested in attending, contact cuisr.liaison@usask.ca for a registration form. The deadline for registration is November 8, 2010.

CED Tool

HR Council - Complete Self Diagnostic for the NonProfit Sector

Is your nonprofit's HR Health in danger of flatlining?

Take the HR CheckUp now and find out. This self-diagnostic will allow you to evaluate your nonprofit's current performance in a number of functional HR areas. You can also register for upcoming E-Clinics or check out the HR Advisor's blog for information, tips and answers to nonprofit HR questions.


National CED News


Government Funding for Innovative Coops to Continue

The Co-operative Development Initiative (CDI) has renewed its Innovative Co-op Project (ICP) funding plan for 2011.

ICP provides funding to projects that demonstrate innovative uses of the co-op model. This year’s funding campaign has identified agriculture, rural/northern community development, and capacity building and sustainability as three priority sectors. The available funds range between $5,000 and $75,000 per project per year. Deadline for funding proposals is October 31st, 2010.

New, updated guidelines and forms are now available here.

Read more about the CCA’s ICP program.

Community Research Fellowship: U of Vic

The University of Victoria’s Centre for Co-operative and Community Based Economy is currently accepting applications for a Community Research Fellowship from interested members of the non-academic community, or scholars with no formal university affiliation.

The deadline for applications is October 31, 2010.

Read more about the CCCBE and Fellowship application process.

Co-ops and Fair Trade Teaming Up

Canada's two national co-operative associations, and two Fair Trade organizations have collectively launched a campaign aimed at engaging more co-ops and credit unions in Fair Trade. The Co-operating for Fair Trade campaign was created by the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) and TransFair Canada in partnership with the Conseil canadien de la coopération et de la mutualité (CCCM) and Équiterre.

The campaign was borne out of a resolution in support of Fair Trade, which was adopted unanimously at the CCA's 2010 AGM. The primary goal of the campaign is to encourage at least 100 co-ops, credit unions and co-operative apex organizations to adopt similar resolutions before the International Year of Co-operatives begins on January 1, 2012.

More information about the campaign, including a downloadable Action Guide, is available at www.transfair.ca/coop.

Job Postings

For the latest CED postings visit the National and Regional job pages on CCEDNet's website

National | AB | SK | MB | North

Positions to post? Send them to breimer@ccednet-rcdec.ca

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