Alberta Celebrates International Year of Co-operatives Launch

Alberta Celebrates International Year of Co-operatives Launch

Increased awareness, highlighting sector’s strengths among hopes for 2012

CALGARY – Ten sites in Alberta are hosting launch events Jan. 12 to celebrate the Canadian launch of the International Year of Co-operatives.

Alberta’s national launch site is at the Calgary Farmers' Market, hosted by the Alberta Community and Co-operative Association, The Co-operators and the Conseil de Développement Économique de L’Alberta.

The Calgary launch starts at 10:15 a.m. MST and includes programming from Ottawa, followed by an Alberta program.

At 7 p.m. a gala features refreshments from Calgary Farmers' Market vendors, music by Co-opupy and Clea Roddick, speeches from The Co-operators CEO Kathy Bardswick, a video greeting from Mayor Naheed Nenshi and comments from other leadership.

Additional launch site events in the province are being held in Red Deer, Stony Plain, St. Isidore, Lloydminster, Strathcona County, High River, Priddis, and two locations in Edmonton.

Servus Credit Union is hosting the launch in Lloydminster. Public relations manager Sandra Pysklywyc says attendees will take in the live webcasts from Ottawa and Calgary, hear from speakers and take part in a simultaneous cake cutting happening across the province.

“At Servus, we are excited to celebrate this year and share the event with our fellow co-ops. Bringing everyone together to celebrate this commemorative year is very special,” says Sandra.

She says their greatest hope for the co-operatives during 2012 is awareness and highlighting the sector’s strengths.

Paul Kelly, president and CEO of First Calgary Financial, says this week’s launch is being met with positive vibes as people are getting involved in the events and wanting to get the word out.

He echoes that the best outcome from the year is increased awareness of co-operatives and credit unions.

“(If) in 12 months from now we look back and say awareness has increased, people in Canada generally and hopefully in Calgary understand more of what we are, who we are, then I think that would be a successful conclusion to the year of co-operatives,” he tells Axiom News.

Sarah Arthurs, who works at the Alberta Community and Co-operative Association and is the Alberta co-ordinator for the International Year of Co-operatives, says during a call earlier this week with launch sites across Canada several people expressed having more RSVPs than anticipated.

“There was a sense that people are getting this,” she says.

The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution declaring 2012 the UN International Year of Co-operatives on Dec. 18, 2009.  The resolution recognizes the co-operative movement’s diversity and urges governments to create a supportive environment for co-operative development.

For anyone who can’t make an event in person, visit to watch the Ottawa and Alberta launches online.

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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.

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