The Ontario Co-operative Association

The Ontario Co-operative Association

October 08, 2009 08:00 ET

Stu Steckle Earns Top Recognition at Ontario Co-op Gala

GUELPH, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 8, 2009) - A former dairy farmer in Huron County will receive one of the highest commendations for Ontario co-operators at the 9th Annual Co-op Conference and Gala organized by the Ontario Co-operative Association (On Co-op) to be held on Oct. 14 at the Burlington, Ont. Royal Botanical Gardens.

Stuart Steckle of Huron County, former board chair of Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Limited and a director of the Tuckersmith Communication Co-operative Ltd., Kippen, Ont., will be named 2009 Distinguished Co-operator. The award honours those who have made notable contribution to the success and evolution of co-operative organizations in Ontario.

Nominator Gay Lea Foods Co-operative states that Steckle is known beyond the co-op he actively served for more than 20 years, and became a respected member of the provincial and Canadian movement. He was also instrumental in an important project to redefine the governance of the co-operative to make it, "a strong, member-centric model," says President and CEO Andrew MacGillivray. "Gay Lea is seen as a leader within the co-operative and dairy sectors and Stu's leadership was instrumental in that success."

Another common characteristic of Distinguished Co-operators is their willingness to share their expertise with other co-operatives as Steckle has done with a telecommunications co-operative, notes MacGillivray.

Eight other co-operators, and co-operative organizations, will be recognized at the Spirit Awards Gala during Co-op Week (Oct. 11-17). The late Bernie Daly will be acknowledged for his dedication to Ontario's agricultural co-operatives. Diane Kocet, CEO of The 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, and CAIC (Canadian Alternative Investment Co-operative) receives special recognition as a financial supporter of many co-op projects over its 25-year history. Tanya Gracie of the Canadian Co-operative Association receives recognition as a youth co-operator and 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. Toronto professor Jack Quarter receives an award for 25 years of promoting education and research of co-operatives and like-minded organizations. La Siembra Co-operative, based in Ottawa, is recognized in the category of Co-op Social Responsibility, introduced last year.

The 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."

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