The Ontario Co-operative Association

The Ontario Co-operative Association

October 11, 2013 10:39 ET

Harvey Cooper Wins Inaugural Co-Op Spirit Award for Advocacy

GUELPH, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 11, 2013) - The unique skills of government lobbyist Harvey Cooper to employ collaboration to promote co-operatives will be recognized at the Ontario Co-operative Association (On Co-op) Co-op Week congress at the Milton, Ont. Teatro Conference & Event Centre on Oct. 16.

He will receive the new Co-operative Spirit Award recognizing government relations and advocacy for co-operative organizations. The provincial association redesigned its award categories to highlight this key initiative and three others: co-operative development, education in co-operative organizations and engagement in co-operatives.

Cooper, who is government relations manager of the Ontario Region of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada, most recently advanced Bill 14 (2013) which has just received Royal Assent. This becomes the first non-budget bill to pass through the Ontario Legislature since October 2012. The law will allow housing co-ops the same tribunal system as rental housing to resolve tenure debates. Removing the need to use courts will save money and time of all stakeholders, said Cooper.

"The wonderful thing about this bill-and again I give kudos to Mr. Cooper and his team - is that it has support from virtually every member of provincial Parliament who's here in this Legislature," said Minister of Government Services John Milloy in April.

Cooper, himself, said that success in being heard at all levels of government depends on, "building long-term and lasting relationship with those in public life based on mutual respect, candor and finding co-operative solutions that work for all."

The housing association and Cooper have also built a network of co-op ambassadors to meet with government officials and provide a unified voice for co-op housing in Ontario.

Cooper has worked for co-operative and community organizations three decades. The Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada's Ontario Region represents 555 non profit housing co-ops.

He will be honoured alongside organizer Hannah Renglich of the Local Organic Food Co-ops Network, southwestern Ontario's Libro Financial Group and the Ottawa Co-op Network, a joint venture of co-op organizations.

The "On Co-op Conference and Celebration: Sharing our Co-op Stories" is an evolution of an annual provincial meeting that started in 1999 in Toronto. This year's day-long program includes discussing a common brand for co-operative enterprises, effective advocacy and laws affecting co-ops, and youth engagement. The provincial co-op awards will be presented at noon.

WHAT IS ON CO-OP?

The Ontario Co-operative Association believes that co-operatives build a better world. We are the trade association that develops, engages, educates and advocates for Ontario's 1,300 co-operative businesses. On Co-op is an information and resources network with a mission to lead, cultivate and connect co-operatives.

WHAT WE DO FOR - AND WITH - OUR MEMBERS

The Ontario Co-operative Association provides its member-owners with programs, resources and networks that support their organizations and facilitate growth and opportunity. From the strong foundation provided by our membership, On Co-op builds co-op awareness and vitality, and unites the co-operative movement in Ontario.

WHAT IS A CO-OP?

Co-operatives are community-focussed businesses that balance people, planet and profit. Co-ops are democratic and value-based, formed to seize local opportunities and meet the needs of their member-owners. As a trusted place to do business, co-operatives are chosen by more than one in seven people worldwide. Twice as many co-ops remain in operation after ten years as other types of business enterprise.

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