The Ontario Co-operative Association

The Ontario Co-operative Association

October 17, 2006 17:23 ET

The Ontario Co-operative Association: 2006 Co-operative Spirit Recognition Awards

GUELPH, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 17, 2006) - On Wednesday, October 18 - in the midst of National Co-operative Week - members of co-operatives and credit union representatives from across Ontario will honour not only their roots but also those individuals who have contributed significantly to the ongoing growth and development of this increasingly powerful business sector.

Under the theme of Share, Learn, Grow, the Co-op Gala presents a day of meetings, workshops and networking opportunities, and culminates in the annual Co-operative Spirit Recognition Awards dinner. For 2006, 10 outstanding co-operators will be recognized for their contributions to the Ontario co-operative sector. The Gala takes place at the Royal Botanical Gardens, (680 Plains Road West), Burlington.

Lifetime Achievement Spirit Awards will be presented to Denis Bourdeau of Embrun, Ontario and John Tregunna of Mount Forest. Bourdeau receives his award for a life long commitment to promoting awareness of the value of co-operatives and working on behalf of Prescott-Russell area co-operatives and community organizations. While John Tregunna is being recognized for outstanding innovation and commitment to strengthening the co-operative movement in North Wellington. In the words of his nominator, the former fulltime farmer has "lived his beliefs, and as a co-operative representative, supported it 100 per cent. He shows a great passion for his co-op, concern for issues facing it and is an advisor to other elected leaders..."

Distinguished Co-operator Spirit Awards will be presented to Raymond Savage of Verner Ontario and to the Ontario Natural Food Co-op. Savage is credited with taking the Co-operative Regionale de Nipissing-Sudbury from difficulties to a position of financial strength. Not only has Raymond been a motivating force in sustaining the co-operative way of life, he also has promoted the importance of doing business in Northern Ontario. With a vision of new opportunities, Savage led the expansion of the co-operative to include a thriving grain elevator and agricultural complex and retail co-operatives thereby ensuring that the co-operative way of doing business and local employment flourished in the Algoma and Temiskaming districts. The Ontario Natural Food Co-op, based in Etobicoke began in 1976 when the members of 11 retail food co-ops and buying clubs merged to form the groundbreaking alternative organization The ONFC will be recognized for its success in providing a co-operative structure to help people access high quality food at affordable prices.

Two youth Spirit Awards will be given out, the Youth Leadership Spirit Award awarded to Krista Duynisveld and the Youth Mentorship Spirit Award given to Craig Steven. Duynisveld, a native of Ilderton Ontario and a student at the University of Waterloo, has been involved in the Ontario Co-operative Association's Co-operative Young Leaders program since 2001, when she first participated in and then graduated from the unique leadership program for teenagers. Since then, Duynisveld has volunteered as a facilitator of the program, and has worked to promote awareness of the value of co-operatives in communities. Craig Steven of Toronto, a young man who has mentored youth in the co-operative sector is being recognized for his dedication to developing young leaders. In nominating Steven, Michael Barrett of Gay Lea Foods Co-operative says, "By imparting his leadership skills and abilities to young co-operative leaders over the years, Craig provides invaluable contributions toward building and improving the interest and talent of young co-operative members and potential employees".

Sheena Lucas, of Kingston, and chair of Credit Union Central of Ontario is being honoured for her Outstanding Contribution to the Ontario Co-operative Association. She championed developments in the Ontario credit union and co-operative movements and is deeply committed to promoting awareness of the value of credit unions and co-operatives in communities.

Robert Fairbairn, senior loans officer at Espanola and District Credit Union is being recognized for his outstanding innovation and commitment and will be awarded the Co-operative Innovator Spirit Award. Nominated by a credit union co-worker, Fairbairn received praise for promoting public awareness of credit unions and working as a community volunteer. In particular, he is recognized for developing the pewter pin in honour of his late sister, to raise funds for cancer research. According to a Fairbairn supporter, the pin has been sold at Espanola and other Ontario credit unions, "not only increasing the Co-operative Spirit in his own community but across the province..."

Positive Power Co-operative, (PPC), a Hamilton-Halton-Haldimand based renewable energy co-operative will receive the New Co-operative of Distinction Award for its success in the area of renewable wind energy and leadership in the community power sector.

John Harper, of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, (FSCO) and former Director of Credit Unions is being honoured with a Special Recognition award. Harper is credited with the ongoing development of many of the regulations that govern the Ontario credit union system. He received high praise for his work, which includes the creation of the Credit Union and Caisses Populaires Act (1994) and, most recently, ongoing amendments to that Act. Throughout, Harper consulted with Ontario credit unions to ensure that the legislative and regulatory framework balanced the business needs of credit unions with the objectives of provincial public policy.

The Gala and Spirit Awards are presented by the Ontario Co-operative Association. On Co-op is the primary resource in Ontario for the development and enhancement of co-operatives and credit unions across the province.

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