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(en) Freedom 6323 Nov 30 2002 - Workers' cooperatives in Canada

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 13 Dec 2002 03:30:11 -0500 (EST)


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A workers' cooperative movement here might provide a
small positive note in an otherwise dreary capitalist world.
The Canadian Worker Cooperative Federation was
founded in 1992 as a non-profit organisation, seeking to
encourage and help finance worker-owned and operated
enterprises.
One cooperative founded with its help was Wild Island
Foods on Malcolm Island, British Columbia, which runs a
local bakery, cafe and multi-purpose food-processing
facility.
There are more than 350 worker-cooperatives in Canada,
reporting nearly a billion Canadian dollars in business
every year, besides holding assets of more than C$500
million. They engage in a variety of activities, including
the production of shitake mushrooms, providing an
ambulance service, arranging artificial insemination,
aquaculture, restaurant equipment sales, forestry,
computer consulting and graphic design.
Many of these are buy-outs of existing businesses by
employees. Presumably they're all operated on democratic
principles, involving full and equal participation by all
workers and the sharing of any income. But they're not
always fully a product of local initiative. The federation has
a C$1.5 million fund from the Canadian government's
Department of Human Resources Development, which it
uses to assist workers in making these buy-outs, in their
business planning and development.
Harold Barclay


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