International Year of Co-operatives Launching Across Canada

International Year of Co-operatives Launching Across Canada

National and regional events taking place Jan. 12

Co-operative and credit union members across Canada are holding events to officially launch the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives Thursday, Jan. 12.

The national event is happening at Ottawa’s National Arts centre from 11:30 to 1:30 p.m. EST, with a live webcast starting at 12:30 p.m.

The webcast will feature remarks live from The Co-operators president and CEO Kathy Bardswick in Calgary and Desjardins CEO Monique Leroux in Lévis, Que., as well as an Ottawa performance premiere of co-operative musical work by Montreal-based group Samajam.

There are 13 regional launch events happening across Canada in the following cities: Yellowknife; Iqaluit, Nunavut; Vancouver; Calgary; Regina; Winnipeg; Guelph, Ont.; Lévis, Que.; Fredericton; Halifax; Cheticamp, N.S.; Charlottetown and St. John's.

“Co-operatives are about people, so we wanted to launch the year with events in which many people across the country could participate,” Claude Gauthier, president of the Canadian Co-operative Association, says in a news release.

“This year offers an important opportunity to educate the public — and our own co-op members — about the enormous role co-operatives play in building communities, revitalizing economies and creating jobs here in Canada and around the world.”

Sarah Arthurs of the Alberta Community and Co-operative Association is the Alberta co-ordinator for the International Year of Co-operatives. She says it has been exciting to hear about the different launch plans across Canada, which though specific to each site are all part of the same celebration.

In addition to Calgary, Alberta’s national launch site, nine other sites in the province are holding launch events. The Alberta sites will all take part in a simultaneous cake cutting.

Sarah says she’s enjoyed connecting with people across the province and learning about what’s happening in their co-op communities.

“It’s been exciting to see how people have picked it up and run with it and taken the initiative,” she tells Axiom News.

The Calgary launch includes the national launch webcast and a panel discussion on the International Year of Co-operatives and Why it is Good for Alberta. An evening gala includes a keynote presentation, music and informal speaking opportunities.

“I’m interested to hear how people start to talk together about co-ops and about this year and what kind of themes start to come out,” says Sarah.

She says she hopes 2012 will be an opportunity for people to talk and connect cross organizational boundaries and develop a common vision for co-ops moving forward.

For more information about the launch events and the International Year of Co-operatives, visit

The webcast can be viewed at and participants can follow events on Twitter using the hashtag #coop12jan.

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Jennifer Neutel's picture
Jennifer Neutel

Jennifer Neutel is a Story Advocate and Generative Journalist at Axiom News. She completed her Bachelor of Journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa in 2006, and joined Axiom News in 2007. She has taken on a variety of roles at Axiom including new social media intiatives and has a passion for creating strengths-based questions that can lead to positive change.

Contact Jennifer:, or 705-741-4421 ext. 26.

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