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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Quebec’s Worker Co-op Sector Offers Lessons for the Rest of Canada

Quebec’s worker co-ops are much more closely integrated through government support provided to them (and indeed, non-governmental organizations which deliver the programming funded by the Province) than in the rest of Canada. Futher, there is  the Chantier de l’ économie sociale, an independent, non-partisan organization whose main mandate is the promotion and development of the social and solidarity economy in Quebec. As Jason Spicer and Michelle Zhong note, “Le Chantier de l’économie sociale unifies the voices of government, community actors, and diverse social movements advocating for women, labour, and co-operatives to push for alternative economic development strategies with ‘deliberate democratic decision-making’ as the guiding principle.”

While co-operation with government has happened elsewhere in Canada, Quebec’s worker co-op movement has succeeded at least in part because of the more deliberate nature of this co-operation in the form of co-creation, something co-ops in the rest of Canada would do well to adopt over their more frequent method of co–production.

As Elston further observes, “Co-production is, yes, we get to be partners with government after they’ve decided what the policy is gonna be and who’s going to get funding for it and how much and where and so forth. Co-creation is much more of an explicit engagement in the actual policy itself. You’re actually co-creating with politicians and policy makers the policy so the implications of what a public policy might look like in the communities is both recognized and examined right from the outset.”

Read the rest at the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation


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