The Ontario Co-operative Association

The Ontario Co-operative Association

September 26, 2007 14:55 ET

Distinguished Co-operator Still Part of the Co-op Action

GUELPH, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 26, 2007) - A retirement party held for Charles "Chuck" Desmarais of Stoney Point Ontario, over two years ago, did not stop him from remaining active and dedicating more than 40 years of his life to the success of the co-operative sector in Ontario. His achievements will be recognized on Oct. 17 when he is presented with the Ontario Co-operative Association's Distinguished Co-operator Award at the Associations ninth Annual Spirit Awards at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington.

In 2006, Desmarais officially retired from AGRIS Co-operative Ltd., (formerly La Co-operative de Pointe-aux-Roches) after 33 years of service. In that time, the co-op grew from a single branch to an organization which serves four counties through 15 FS Co-operative locations. He still works with AGRIS Co-operative as its new business development officer, and is mainly focused on developing new markets for grain to create more environmentally friendlier alternative fuels.

The AGRIS Co-operative Board of Directors nominated Desmarais for this award and referred to him as having a reputation of being a critical thinker with an eclectic mind. "It's hard to pigeon-hole Chuck because his thinking is so broad," said one of his nominators. "His extraordinary vision helped to create and develop new markets in the Far East, purchase neighbouring businesses and conceive new companies to expand the reach of his co-operative.

Chuck often represented the co-operative movement to Francophone Ontario and was a favourite of Radio-Canada reporters when they needed a comment in French about co-operatives, says Bernie Daly, GROWMARK Ontario Region Manager.

Over the years Desmarais has worked towards updating the Co-op Act, and has helped shape future co-op leaders through a series of Young Co-operator Conferences. Chuck sits on the board of La Caisse Populaire de Pointe-aux-Roches, serving his second term as president. In spite of his co-op commitments, Chuck finds time to serve on a variety of community based boards and committees. He resides in Pointe-aux-Roches with his wife Bernadette and has two grown boys.

The Co-operative Conference and Gala, now in its 7th year, is a two-day event that brings together co-op sector supporters, champions and friends from across Ontario and beyond for professional development, meetings and networking. The conference includes tours of Hamilton-area co-ops and more than a dozen workshops and sessions. This October, the Spirit Recognition Award banquet, a tradition in the Ontario co-operative sector for almost 10 years, will celebrate the successes of 10 of Ontario's most distinguished co-operators - including Charles "Chuck" Desmarais.

The Ontario Co-operative Association (On Co-op), host of the Co-op Conference and Gala, and the Co-operative Spirit Recognition Awards ceremony, is a resource and common voice for Ontario credit unions and co-operatives in the areas of co-operative development, government relations, membership and communications, and lifelong co-operative learning.

Contact Information