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About Coopzone

Mission

To be a catalyst for co-operative developers and professional service providers to foster the social economy through the development of co-operatives.

Vision

CoopZone - a leader in the development of co-operatives in Canada

Values

CoopZone adheres to and champions the co-operative values and principles

Purpose

The CoopZone Developers’ Network Co-operative a bilingual network that brings together, supports, and unifies the voice of professional co-operative developers and professional service providers (e.g., lawyers, accountants) across Canada. As of our newly approved strategic plan (2017 - 2022), our mission is :to be a catalyst for co-operative developers and professional service providers to foster the social economy through the development of co-operatives.

CoopZone was incorporated in 2009, after the successful completion of a business case, financially supported by The Co-operators. Since then, though autonomous in terms of governance, our administration and management has been supported first by the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation (CWCF), followed by the Cooperation Council of Ontario.

We work closely with co-op organizations across Canada, especially the CWCF, as our members are deeply engrained in the Canadian co-operative community. We have been supported by a number of institutional co-operatives and mutuals since our inception, including The Co-operators, VanCity, the Assiniboine Credit Union.

As for our governance structure, CoopZone is supported by one part-time administrator and one program director with a Training Program and Marketing committee to support the delivery of CoopZone's Mission. Our governance structure is made up of 8 seats, including 5 regional directors (BC, Prairies, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic), one Professional Service Provider seat (for the CZ Legal Network), and two at-large directors.

  1. Services for the professional development of members:
    • Facilitates information and resource sharing among co-operative developers across the country
    • Topical and timely webinars
  2. Online Training Program, including our introductory and advanced programs for co-operative developers
  3. Maintaining this website to centralize information pertaining to co-operative development in Canada
  4. A unified and representative voice for co-operative developers across Canada

We have approximately 80 members, including co-operative developers, lawyers within the co-op sector, and other professional service providers. The way in which they have invested in the co-op is through annual member dues, and also freely sharing their time and expertise through providing webinars without charge (by both co-op developer and lawyer members) and by responding to questions on the very active listserv of members.

Board of Directors

Seth Leon
Chair

Seth works with and communities across Alberta to understand and apply co-operative solutions. Seth has devoted ten years to working with local investors and promoting community ownership of renewable energy projects. He is a frequent guest lecturer at the Bissett School of Business at Mount Royal University, and has a Masters of Development Economics from Dalhousie.

Russ Christianson
Treasurer, Training Committee Member

For thirty-five years, Russ has been working with communities and co-operative enterprises to meet their strategic goals. He has helped launch over two hundred co-operatives, with a seventy percent success rate. Russ is the creator of the Co-operative Sustainability Scorecard, and in 2003, he received the Co-operative Spirit Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Ontario Co-operative Association (OCA).

Réjean Laflamme
Director

Réjean is an economist by profession. He Started his career at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and subsequently worked for 15 years at the Conseil canadien de la coopération et de la mutualité. Since August 2009, he has consulted on behalf of Tango RJ Consultants. Very involved in the cooperative movement, he is president of the Fédération des coopératives funéraires du Québec and director of SOCODEVI.

Daniel Brunette
Director

Daniel is currently the Director, Strategic Alliances and Initiatives at Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC), the apex association that unites, engages, and leads the co-operative sector nationally by building bridges, breaking down barriers and creating durable opportunities. Daniel has more than 20 years of philanthropic management and stakeholder relations experience with non-profit organizations, as both an employee and volunteer. He has, and continues to serve, on numerous charitable and non-profit boards and committees. These include being the current Chair of Outaouais Philanthropy, one of Canada’s newest community foundations, and as a member of the board for both the Centre of Excellence in Accounting and Reporting for Co-operatives (CEARC) and the CoopZone Developers’ Network Co-operative. Daniel was awarded the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award in 1996 and a United Way Ottawa Community Builder Award in 2015. He is a proud husband and father of two.

Marc Henrie
Director

Marc Henrie was Executive Director of CDR-Acadie until 2022. He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from the Université de Moncton and a master's degree in cooperative management and community development from the Université de Sherbrooke. Marc specializes in governance structures, financial plans and co-operative education. He has helped the growth of more than thirty organizations and co-operatives.

Jill Kelly
Director

Jill has served as Chair of CoopZone from 2020 to 2022. She was recognized for her achievements in the world of credit unions (especially as a pioneer at CCEC), childcare, co-op housing, LGBTQ rights, worker co-ops, and community healthcare. Jill currently sits on the board of the Reach Community Health Clinic. She is now working at The Agency for Co-operative Housing.

Staff

Meg Ronson
Executive Director

Meg Ronson has been CoopZone's Executive Director since 2022 and was previously the Training Program Director for the 2021-2022 academic year. She is a social economy researcher, junior co-operative developer, and economic development professional. She specializes in community and stakeholder engagement and small business education. Meg splits her time between CoopZone and her role as Innovation Lab Manager at the University of Waterloo's Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience (WISIR).

Adele Rosanova
Administrator

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Michael Norris

416-364-4545 poste 125

info@coopzone.coop