Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC) announced the winners of the CMC Awards for 2023 at its recent national congress in Ottawa.
The awards – chosen by the CMC Awards Committee from nominations submitted by the organisation’s member co-ops – include two new categories which CMC says reflect “ongoing shifts within the sector”, highlighting its commitment to JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) and environmental priorities.
The winners are:
CO-OPERATOR OF THE YEAR: STÉPHANE TROTTIER
Stéphane Trottier was the first chair of the Caisse Desjardins Ontario and the architect of the Desjardins movement’s largest merger project, which aimed to bring together the 11 Ontario caisses populaires and its federation in 2020.
He set up liaison committees made up of members and former directors of the 11 caisses to ensure that the voice of members and customers was heard. He was the first president of Caisse Desjardins Ontario and has held a number of other key positions, including vice president of the Desjardins Group Retirement Plan, director of Desjardins Group, Desjardins Group representative to CMC, member of the Risk Management Commission and president of Caisse populaire Trillium.
In 2021, he received the Business Leader of the Year Award from the Capital Region Business Association, and in 2022, he received the Long-Term Service Award from the Director’s Forum.
YOUNG CO-OPERATOR OF THE YEAR: KRISTEN MURRAY
Kristen Murray is a community leader and social entrepreneur from St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador (NL). She is currently project specialist at the NL Federation of Co-operatives (NLFC), leading the development of a new co-operative incubator programme and is also enrolled in CoopZone’s Co-operative Developer Training Program.
She was the 2022 recipient of the Lemaire Co-operative Studies Award from the Canadian Association for Studies in Co-operation and a 2023 Co-operators Young Leaders Award recipient. Murray was recently appointed to Canada’s Emerging Co-operators advisory committee and sits on the Inspiring Communities Atlantic Changemakers Council and the NL Social Innovation Coalition.
SMALL CO-OPERATIVE OF THE YEAR: RADISH CO-OPERATIVE
Radish is a restaurant food delivery and technology co-operative that is owned and operated by its restaurant, employee, and consumer members. Founded in 2020 in Montreal, it boasts over 140 merchants on its platform, and employs over 20 people. Its mission is to mutualise the technical needs of the restaurant industry.
LARGE CO-OPERATIVE OF THE YEAR: CO-OPERATIVE HOUSING FEDERATION OF CANADA
CHF Canada is the national voice of co-operative housing, representing 2,200 housing co-operatives, home to a quarter of a million people in every province and territory.
CMC said: “Co-operative housing is a well-documented success story. For over 50 years, co-ops have provided good-quality, affordable housing owned and managed by the community members who live there.”
ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR: SUSTAINABILITY SOLUTIONS GROUP (SSG)
Worker co-op SSG is an award-winning climate action business, which creates state-of-art climate mitigation and adaptation plans for municipalities, governments, organisations, and campuses “to create decarbonised, healthy, equitable communities”.
Since 2001 it has modelled low-carbon futures for more than 40% of Canada’s population and now works in the US, Latin America, and beyond. It has helped over 100 municipalities and organisations respond to climate change through a combination of equitable community engagement and evidence-based energy, emissions, land-use, and financial modelling.
JEDI (JUSTICE, EQUITY, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION) INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR: CANADIAN WORKER CO-OPERATIVE FEDERATION
The Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation (CWCF), incorporated in 1992, is a national, bilingual grassroots membership organization of and for worker co-operatives, related types of co-operatives (multi-stakeholder co-ops with substantial worker control, and worker-shareholder co-ops), and organisations that support the growth and development of worker co-operatives.
Its vision is to be a growing, cohesive network of democratically controlled worker co-ops that provide a high quality of work-life balance, and support the development of healthy, just and sustainable local economies, based on co-operative values and principles.
CWCF works for the development and expansion of businesses organised according to the co-op principles and the principles of worker ownership and control, and to promote the ideals of democracy in the workplace. It seeks to provide leadership and a voice for worker co-ops throughout Canada by creating and developing resources, supports and represents the interests of worker co-ops to the co-op sector, governments, other organisations, and the public.
“It has truly been an incredible year for our sector and these winners are some of the amazing individuals leading the way,” said CMC president John Kay. “As we move towards a more inclusive, just, equitable, diverse, and sustainable sector, it is important to highlight the work that has already been done while recognising that this is just the beginning.
“Let us celebrate the hard work, dedication and acknowledge the ongoing success of the Canadian co-operatives and mutuals from coast to coast.”