October 11-17 is Co-op Week!

Ottawa, October 5, 2009 — Members of co-operatives and credit unions across Canada will be celebrating Co-op Week from October 11-17, a time to reflect on the contribution the co-operative sector has made to the lives of Canadians and their communities.

Co-op Week has been proclaimed across Canada every October since 1982.  International Credit Union Day, which will take place on Thursday, October 15, has been celebrated worldwide on the third Thursday of October since 1948.  

This year, Co-op Week will celebrate the advantages of co-operatives in an uncertain economic environment.   Co-op Week 2009 is focusing on three main themes:

Co-operatives are…putting people first
Co-operatives are…creating sustainable jobs
Co-operatives are…investing in communities

"We know that Canadians are increasingly interested in supporting organizations that are open, democratic and put people before profits, and that’s what co-operatives and credit unions are about," said Carol Hunter, executive director of the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA).

For more information about Co-op Week 2009, visit http://www.coopscanada.coop/en/orphan/Co-op-Week-2009.  Other Co-op Week activities include an online fundraising auction organized by the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada.   A preview of the auction, which will accept bids as of October 8, can be viewed by clicking the online auction link at http://www.cdfcanada.coop/.

Did you know?

  • There are close to 9,000 co-ops and credit unions across Canada, with more than 17 million members.
  • Some of Canada’s best-known businesses, including Mountain Equipment Co-op, Federated Co-operatives Limited, UFA Co-operative Limited, Co-op Atlantic, Gay Lea Foods, The Co-operators (insurance), Vancity (credit union) and Desjardins Group are co-operatives.
  • The co-operative sector controls over $275 billion in assets.
  • The world’s 300 largest co-operatives, nine of which are Canadian, have an aggregate turnover of $US 1.1 trillion
  • More than 150,000 Canadians are employed by co-ops. Around the world, co-operatives employ more people than all multinational corporations put together.
  • There are more than 2,200 housing co-operatives in Canada with some 92,000 units providing homes to over a quarter of a million residents.
  • Canada’s co-operative sector is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, marking the founding of the Co-operative Union of Canada in Hamilton, Ontario in 1909.


Story ideas for Co-op Week

  • Cover a Co-op Week event happening in your city or province.  A list of events can be found at http://www.coopscanada.coop/enhttp://www.coopscanada.coop/en/orphan/CoopWeekEvents.
  • Profile one or more co-operatives or credit unions in your community.   What makes them different from other types of enterprises?  What motivates people to choose a co-op over other business models?
  • Write about what it’s like to be a member of a worker co-op in your area, where the employees are also the owners of the business they work for.
  • Talk to co-op and credit union leaders about how their organizations have fared during the past year’s economic turndown.
  • Report on the efforts of Canadian co-ops and credit unions to reduce poverty in developing countries through the Canadian Co-operative Association’s International Development program.  For more information, visit http://www.coopscanada.coop/en/international_dev/Welcome-to-International-Development.
  • Interview Ingrid Fischer, who was a witness to history as the manager of CCA’s rebuilding efforts in Sri Lanka following the 2004 tsunami.  A native of Fort St. John, BC, Ms. Fischer will be in Ottawa during Co-op Week before taking on her new post in Uganda as CCA’s regional director for Africa.
  • Review Ian MacPherson’s book, A Century of Co-operation, which was published in June 2009.  Through text and dozens of historical and contemporary images, the book chronicles the history of Canada’s co-operative movement and the people and places that made it what it is today.  Review copies of the book are available from Tanya Gracie at tanya.gracie@coopscanada.coop.