Ontario Co-operative Association

Ontario Co-operative Association

October 26, 2015 13:50 ET

Lawyer Who Helps Clarify Co-Op Needs to Government Officials Wins Provincial Recognition

GUELPH, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 26, 2015) - A London lawyer who has helped many co-operatives through their incorporations is this year's Co-operative Spirit Award winner for advocacy and government relations. Ian Shewan will be honoured at the Co-op Conference and Celebration at the Teatro Conference and Event Centre on Oct. 28 in Milton.

Shewan is a partner with Lerners LLP. Since 2006 he has been a member of legislative-review working groups of the Ontario Co-operative Association (On Co-op) and since 2011, its Regulatory Affairs Committee chair.

"Supported by approximately 20 years of co-op-related law practice, Ian advocates for policy and legislative changes that enable a sustainable, diverse, well-governed and growing co-op movement in Ontario," notes On Co-op Executive Director Mark Ventry.

He explains that among his many contributions, Shewan has helped push for changes to the Ontario Co-operative Corporations Act that requires co-ops to conduct a majority of their business with members even when their doors are open to any customer. He and his committee have also asked that the incorporation process for co-operatives be streamlined and made more financially equitable.

This past summer, Shewan was one of the presenters to an expert panel reviewing the mandate of the Ontario Government's Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) that oversees co-operatives. He was able to make a case for moving the responsibility for co-operatives to another ministry and taking the opportunity to update the legislation that guides them. "Ian was able to bring clarity to bear with the presentation to the FSCO mandate panel and argued effectively for better regulation for the Ontario co-operatives sector," notes David Robertson who has served with Shewan on government relations committees.

Ventry adds that Shewan's unique gift is to demonstrate finesse and patience when working with government officials and the co-operative sector: "He does this through dialogue and presentations -- and by utilizing his in-the-trenches co-op knowledge to demonstrate issues and propose solutions."

Three other Co-operative Spirit Awards will be presented at the Co-op Conference and Celebration. Ontario's largest dairy co-operative Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Ltd. is recognized for its commitment to continuous co-operative education; social co-operative pioneer TeamWerks Co-operative of northwestern Ontario earns the Co-operative Spirit Award in the category of co-operative engagement, and Peggy Baillie of Eat Local Sudbury Co-operative Inc. is acknowledged for her exceptional work in food co-op development.

Principle Six, or "Co-operation among Co-operatives" is the key theme of this year's conference. The event, organized and hosted by the Ontario Co-operative Association, brings together leaders, stakeholders, staff and members from new, emerging and established co-ops for a full day of learning, networking and celebration. Students, interns, and others new to the co-op sector and/or considering starting a co-op also find value in this conference. For more information, visit: www.ontario.coop.

The Ontario Co-operative Association believes that co-operatives build a better world. We are the trade association and capacity-building organization 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.

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