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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.

Our team

Jill Kelly
President

Jill has been the President of CoopZone since 2020. 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.

Réjean Laflamme
Vice-President, Marketing Committee Member

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.

Russ Christianson
Treasurer, Training & Marketing 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).

Pascal Billard
Secretary

Co-founder of Sol Air Consultants, Pascal Billard has a background in agricultural techniques and business management. Having worked in three continents (Africa, Europe, North America), he has participated in the design and management of numerous projects aimed at the development of agricultural and agri-food businesses. Pascal is a past president of CoopZone and now sits on the CMC Board.

Marc Henrie
Director

Marc Henrie is the Executive Director of CDR Acadie. 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.

Seth Leon, Director
Training Committee 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.

Meg Ronson
Program Director

Meg Ronson is a business succession researcher, junior co-operative developer, and economic development professional. She specializes in community and stakeholder engagement and small business education. Meg is currently the Business Manager at the University of Waterloo's Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience (WISIR), a role she took after the completion of WISIR's business conversion social innovation lab, Legacy Leadership Lab, for which she was the Project Manager.

Michael Norris
Administrator

Originally from Toronto, Michael quickly became involved in educational politics, being elected president of the Ontario Student Trustees’ Association. After sitting on the Premier’s steering committee for Major Capacity Expansion and the establishment of UOF, Michael completed his studies at the University of British Columbia in International Economics and Sustainable Development. His passion for economics and sustainable development is what brought him to the CCO, where he manages their Organizational Management & growth strategy.

Kaye Grant
Training Committee Member

Kaye Grant is an experienced business consultant and project manager. She combines her background in education with her business experience to assist co-ops and entrepreneurs acquire knowledge and enhance their skills. During her practice, she has managed consulting projects of varying size and scale. Her work includes outlining key activities, developing the project framework, and identifying, engaging and managing the various resources.

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Michael Norris

416-364-4545 poste 125

info@coopzone.coop