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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Home Care Workers' Co-operative & Federated Care Co-op

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June 20, 2022
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cross-posted from Each For All

Most seniors would like live at home as long as possible with support. Sadly, many end up in long-term care, a system plagued by short-staffing, low levels of funding and other problems that the COVID-19 pandemic only made worse.

For those working with seniors, the nurses and personal support workers, (largely women and often racialized), there’s increasing burnout as they are being asked to do more in less time, rarely have a voice in decision-making and earn wages far below the demands they face daily.

One personal support worker in Peterborough, Danielle Turpin, decided there had to be a better way for both seniors and staff. So she left her job in long-term care and joined with two colleagues to create the Home Care Workers Co-operative, a worker co-op for PSWs. That story is leads our program. 

Amy Firlotte, Danielle Turpin, Denise Armstrong – co-founders of the Home Care Workers Co-op.

Check out their website:

Then we speak with Dr. Simon Berge who co-wrote a discussion paper with Danielle Turpin and others titled “Federated Care Co-operative” in January 2022. The paper outlines the need for, and two possible funding models to develop, a federation structure for care sector businesses such as daycare, eldercare, disability care and others.

We have covered extensively the success of similar federations like the Co-operative Housing Federation of BC on Each For All. These umbrella organizations offer their members shared services to provide support, reduce their costs and risk. This attracts and helps retain people and build the sector. In our interview Dr. Berge shares how this federation model could change the face of the care economy in Ontario and beyond.

Dr. Berge is an Associate Professor and Director of the newly established Research Centre on Co-operative Enterprises at the University of Winnipeg. The RCCE is increasing the awareness of the co-operative business model encouraging students to interact with co-operative businesses through internships. 

Link to the discussion paper Federated Care Co-operative – Structure.pdf

Federated Care Co-op – Discussion Paper

About the Author: Sandy Goldman

I love radio and pursue stories about people and communities working together to solve challenges creatively and often, with a lot of heart. It's the human side of the co-op model that intrigues me. That and any chance to travel, especially to smaller locales, where folks seem to know that co-operating just makes good sense!


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