The Ontario Co-operative Association

The Ontario Co-operative Association

October 08, 2009 08:00 ET

Facilitating Social Development for a Quarter Century: CAIC Honoured by Co-op Community

GUELPH, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 8, 2009) - Quietly working to fund co-operatives and other organizations for 25 years, CAIC (Canadian Alternative Investment Co-operative) is now to be celebrated by the Ontario co-operative and credit union community at the annual Co-op Conference and Gala on Wed. Oct. 14 at the Burlington, Ont. Royal Botanical Gardens.

CAIC, whose members are faith communities, provides access to capital for groups working in the charitable, non-profit, co-operative and social justice sectors that lack access to traditional financing. Even so it offers rates at or below market, and has a very low loan loss rate. It provided financial support to more than 20 housing, worker, daycare, food, and Fair Trade co-operatives.

CAIC's financial support allowed La Siembra Co-operative of Ottawa to purchase its first shipment of Fair Trade and organic Cocoa Camino chocolate bars that launched its business. That support helped pave the way for other partners, says Jennifer Williams, co-executive director of La Siembra: CAIC's "investment in La Siembra played a huge role in the development of a leading socially minded, co-operative-owned business that leads the Canadian market and supports just international trade."

Help isn't just financial says Byron Cunningham, CEO of Planet Bean Coffee, owned by Sumac Community Worker Co-operative. CAIC "also gave excellent (advice) for our growth plans," he says.

Ontario co-operators will also recognize the accomplishments of eight other co-operators and co-operative organizations during Co-op Week (Oct 11-17). The late Bernie Daly will be acknowledged for his dedication to Ontario's agricultural co-operatives. La Siembra Co-operative is recognized in the category of Co-op Social Responsibility, introduced last year. Toronto professor Jack Quarter receives an award for 25 years of promoting education and research of co-operatives and like-minded organizations. Retired Huron County dairy farmer Stuart Steckle becomes 2009 Distinguished Co-operator, and Diane Kocet, CEO of Toronto Electrical Utilities Credit Union, is 2009 Co-operative Innovator. Local food pioneer Ottawa Valley Food Co-operative wins the New Co-operative of Distinction award. Carlene Frimer of United Communities Credit Union in Southwestern Ontario is receiving a Co-operative Youth Mentor Award for her advocacy of young co-operators and Tanya Gracie of the Canadian Co-operative Association receives recognition as a youth co-operator.

The 11th annual Co-op Spirit Recognition Awards Gala is part of a day-long conference that draws up to 250 co-operative and credit union directors, employees, and supporters from across the province. Its theme is "Co-ops Work: Exceptional Solutions for Exceptional Times."

The Ontario Co-operative Association (On Co-op), based in Guelph, Ont., develops, unites and promotes co-operatives throughout the province of Ontario. Its mission is to lead, cultivate and connect co-operatives. Visit: for more information on the Association, co-op conference and gala.

Contact Information

  • Ontario Co-operative Association
    Mark Ventry
    Membership and Communications Manager
    1-888-745-5521/519.763.8271 x30