Canada is celebrating Co-op Week

Celebrations begin with a flag-raising in Saskatchewan and lead up to an awards dinner for outstanding contributions

Canadian co-operatives and credit unions are celebrating Co-op Week, which takes place on 15-21 October, and will see the movement promote its work at home and abroad.

Co-op Week dates back to 1958 when it was first celebrated by Canadian francophones. In 1981, anglophone co-ops in the Maritimes and Saskatchewan also began celebrating it. A year later the event was marked across the whole country with the support of the Co-operative Union of Canada, a predecessor of sector body Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada.

To mark the week, a flag raising ceremony is held at the Saskatchewan Legislative Building, and two Co-op Week Luncheons will be hosted in Regina and Saskatoon.

The first lunch includes a presentation from Andrew Hiltz, an explorer and the 2017 Saskatchewanderer for Tourism Saskatchewan, who will talk about his travels across the province.

The Saskatoon lunch features a presentation by Paul Thompson, research officer at the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives, who will talk about the online course soon to be launched by the centre, which will look at co-op governance.

The Saskatchewan Co-operative Association has also released a Co-op Week Toolkit, which includes information on what Co-op Week is, why it is celebrated, ideas for community involvement, building membership, educating youth, or advertising events.

The week’s celebrations ends with the Saskatchewan Co-operative Merit Awards, which honour individuals and organisations that have made an outstanding contribution to co-operatives and credit unions in Saskatchewan. The awards are sponsored by the Ministry of the Economy.

The 2017 Saskatchewan Co-operative Merit Award recipients are Betty Bauhuis, Dean Walde, Jordan Lemire, Pieter McNair, and Wayne Kabatoff.

Co-op Week falls on the same week as the International Credit Union Day, held on the third Thursday in October. In the USA, October is Co-op Month.

• Download some promotional posters from Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada.

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