The Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) are asking co-operators to put forward their nominations for the annual Co-operative Awards before 31 March.
There are four categories: the Canadian Co-operative Achievement Award, the Global Co-operator Award, the Co-operative Governance Award and Pioneer Inductees in the Canadian Co-operative Hall of Fame.
The Canadian Co-operative Achievement Award was set up in 2001, followed by the Global Co-operator Award in 2005 and the governance awards in 2008.
Donna Balkan, the Communications Manager for CCA, said: “We think it is very important to present awards as a way of honouring excellence within the Canadian co-operative movement. The individual award recipients are often unsung heroes: people who have made an enormous impact on Canadian co-operatives and Canadian society, but are not well-known outside the co-operative sector.
“For example, Ed Gebert, a longtime credit union leader from Saskatchewan who was the 2012 winner of the Canadian Co-operative Achievement Award, was largely responsible for bringing the first-ever Automated Teller Machine (bank machine) to Canada. And many of the winners of the Global Co-operator Award have been volunteers who have devoted countless hours to CCA's international development projects.”
She explained the governance award was created because of the “enormous importance CCA places on effective co-operative governance.”
The Canadian Co-operative Hall of Fame was set up to celebrate the CCA’s 100th anniversary in 2009, the Pioneer Inductees are deceased individuals who were fundamental in shaping co-operation in Canada.
Donna added: “When we created the Hall of Fame, we felt this category was very important, because the stories of legendary co-operators like Alphonse Desjardins, founder of North America’s first financial services co-operative and Father Moses Coady, a leader of the Antigonish Movement, which spearheaded the development of co-operatives in the Atlantic provinces during the Great Depression, are not often found in high school or university history books, and we wanted these people to be recognised.”
Co-operators do not need to be a direct member of CCA to nominate someone for an award. After the nominations close, the award winners are chosen by separate selection committees for each award, which usually consist of members of CCA board.
These are not the only awards given to Canadian co-ops, Canada’s French-language national co-op association, the Conseil canadien de la cooperation et de la mutualité (CCCM), has its own awards programme, and Credit Union Central of Canada also give out awards each year.
To find out more and to apply for individual categories, visit the Awards website here.