The Ontario Co-operative Association

The Ontario Co-operative Association

October 25, 2006 11:32 ET

Significant Support for the Co-operative Sector From MPP Ted McMeekin

BURLINGTON, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 25, 2006) - Ted McMeekin, M.P.P. for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Aldershot, announced that he would be introducing a private members' bill supporting the establishment of a provincial Co-operatives Secretariat. McMeekin made the surprise announcement during the Co-operative Gala on October 18th. Linda Jeffrey, M.P.P. for Brampton Centre, and also in attendance at the Gala, lent her full support. This is a significant development for the Co-operative sector, which has been lobbying government to formally recognize the role, size and economic impact of the co-operative sector through a dedicated Secretariat. This announcement caps another successful year for the Co-op Gala, a day-long event for the co-operative sector featuring educational sessions, networking opportunities and culminating in an awards ceremony and dinner.

Over 270 people attended this year's Co-operative Gala, which annually profiles and celebrates the Ontario co-operative sector. Participants throughout the province - and beyond - attended workshops that explored succession planning, member engagement and using the co-op principles to expand the co-operative economy.

The Plenary session was led by Chad Park, senior sustainability advisor with the Natural Step Canada, an international non-profit research, education and advisory organization. Mr. Park outlined how sustainable development is key to growth and success of 21st century co-operative organizations. His keynote presentation resonated throughout the day as many in the co-operative sector already practice and understand how the economy relates to the health of a community and the state of the environment.

Ten outstanding co-operative leaders from areas of the Ontario economy as diverse as the renewable energy sector, agricultural co-ops and financial services were showcased during the 8th Annual Co-operative Spirit Recognition Awards.

This is the sixth year that the Co-operative Gala has celebrated the successes of the co-op sector. Presented by the Ontario Co-operative Association (On Co-op) the Gala presents a forum for co-operative members, leaders and supporters to share, inform and network. Sponsors of the event include: The Co-operators Group, Credit Union Central of Ontario, Gay Lea Foods Co-operative and GROWMARK, Inc.

On Co-op is a primary resource and common voice for the development and enhancement of co-ops and credit unions in Ontario. Through membership in On Co-op, co-operatives and credit unions access programs and services in Lifelong Co-operative Learning; Government Relations, Communications and Member Relations, and Co-operative Development.

For additional information on the sixth annual Co-operative Gala, or the socio-economic impact of Ontario co-operatives, contact Mark Ventry, Member Services and Marketing Officer, On Co-op. mventry@ontario.coop 519.763.8271 or 1.888.745.5571. www.Ontario.coop

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