The Ontario Co-operative Association

The Ontario Co-operative Association

October 08, 2009 08:00 ET

Ontario Co-operators Meet Oct. 14 in Burlington to Celebrate Heroes and Co-Op Solutions

GUELPH, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 8, 2009) - With more than a tenth of Ontario's population being members of credit unions and co-operatives, and the province's co-op sectors employing more than 15,500 people, it isn't surprising that Ontario co-operators are celebrating Co-op Week by taking part in the 9th annual Co-op Conference and Gala on Oct. 14 at the Burlington, Ont. Royal Botanical Gardens.

Organizers expect about 250 people to participate in the day-long conference, themed "Co-ops Work: Exceptional Solutions for Exceptional Times." Co-op sector staff, board members, developers and stakeholders from all parts of Ontario's diverse co-op movement will attend 12 educational forums ranging from 'Social Media 101' to 'Women in the Co-operative Movement.' Andrew MacGillivray, President and CEO of Gay Lea Foods Co-operative, begins the day by addressing the theme: 'Co-ops Working in Exceptional Times', and an afternoon panel will discuss 100 years of co-operation in Canada through the lens of its national co-operative association.

For the first time, participants will be asked to blog and tweet about their experiences, taking advantage of On Co-op's recent initiatives into social media such as Facebook, Twitter and a co-op blog. An interactive display will promote the Association's Co-op Management Certificate Program, developed with York University, and launching this month.

"As co-operators, we make a great difference in our communities and province and the Conference provides a forum to learn and hear about the many accomplishments," says the chair of the Ontario Co-operative Association (On Co-op), Donna Bailey.

The day culminates with the 11th Annual Co-operative Spirit Recognition Awards Gala, recognizing outstanding achievements of co-op and credit union leaders, staff and organizations.

Nine individuals and co-op organizations will be recognized at this year's dinner and awards banquets, bringing the number of awards presented to 90 since their launch in 1999.

Receiving recognition in 2009 are the late Bernie Daly who will be acknowledged for his dedication to Ontario's agricultural co-operatives; La Siembra Co-operative, based in Ottawa, is to be recognized in the category of Co-op Social Responsibility; Toronto professor Jack Quarter who has promoted education and research of co-operatives and like-minded organizations over 25 years receives the Outstanding Contribution to On Co-op award; retired Huron County dairy farmer Stuart Steckle becomes 2009 Distinguished Co-operator; 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; CAIC (Canadian Alternative Investment Co-operative) receives special recognition as a financial supporter of many co-op projects over its 25-year history; Carlene Frimer of Essex, Ontario-based United Communities Credit Union is receiving the Co-operative Youth Mentor Award for her advocacy of young co-operators; and Tanya Gracie of the Canadian Co-operative Association is named 2009 Co-operative Youth Leader.

National Co-op Week runs from October 11-17, 2009. Many of Ontario's 1300 co-operatives, credit unions and caisses populaires will be holding events to celebrate. To locate a co-op in your area, visit the e-directory of Ontario co-operatives at Co-ops may also be searched by sector or keyword, such as energy.

On Co-op, based in Guelph, Ont., develops, unites and promotes co-operatives throughout the province of Ontario. Host of the Conference and Gala, its mission is to lead, cultivate and connect co-operatives. In 2008 it published a census of co-operative activity in Ontario. Visit: for more information on the Association, census, co-op conference and gala.




ONTARIO CO-OP SECTOR INFORMATION. Ontario has more than 1,300 co-ops, credit unions and caisses populaires, with 1,900 locations in more than 400 Ontario communities. The sector has $30 billion in assets; 15,500 employees; 1.4 million members; and is governed by 10,000 volunteer board members. For other co-op sector facts, contact On Co-op.

Contact Information

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