CMC #Congress2018 Review

25 June 2018. Victoria, B.C.

Michele Aasgard (Executive Director), represented the ACCA at last week’s Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC) annual Congress in Victoria, British Columbia. Alongside networking with co-operatives from across Canada such as Yellowknife Direct Charge Co-operative, it was great to see several Alberta Co-operatives in attendance including the Alberta Federation of REAs.

Each speaker and session had a variety of focuses, with common themes exploring how the co-op sector can have huge impact by collectively working together; and how a Co-ops strength in collaboration is a unique value proposition that can be central to Canada’s Agenda 2030 commitments.

Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK explored the importance of embedding values and principles in the DNA of co-ops. Kristina Groves, Olympic long-track speed skating medalist and Alberta Solar Co-op ambassador; shared how failure is an important part of development and how Alberta Solar Co-op is “not trying to win the energy market but trying to change it”.

One of the standout highlights from the 2018 Congress included a panel of Canadian co-op CEO’s, moderated by the excellent Scott Banda (CEO of Federated Co-operatives Ltd.). The panel divulged important lessons around “teaching skills, not attitudes”, alluding to the omnipresent need for co-ops to not only raise awareness of Co-operatives, but instill the skills in their organizations which can create a co-operative attitude throughout society. There were also key messages around sustainability and how “chasing the flavor of the day is not sustainable”, with Modo Car Co-op CEO expanding upon this message by highlighting the important role Co-ops who put “purpose before strategy, and strategy before structure” can play in the wider economy.

As well as participating in a tour of rural Co-ops in Victoria and being an active member in a nationwide Co-op association executive committee, it was fantastic to see the future of the Co-operative workforce in attendance, with a strong contingent of Under 35’s all working on exciting projects at each of their Co-ops.

Ultimately, it was one of the best congresses CMC have held, and I am excited to welcome delegates to ACCA’s Gathering of Alberta Co-operatives  taking place on October 17 & 18 in Stony Plain, AB. 

Will McGlynn