New Worker Co-op Business Transfer Websites in Canada

The first major result from the agreement between the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation (CWCF) and la Confédération générale des SCOPs in France, the world leaders in worker co-op business succession, is the new website,

By Hazel Corcoran, CWCF

The site on business transfers to worker co-operatives, based on the CGSCOP site, was launched earlier this year by the Quebec Worker Co-operation Network / Réseau, a member of CWCF. The Réseau web site includes basic worker co-op definitions, the steps in the buy-out process, links to sources of capital for co-op business transfer, and a useful documents section. The documents include case studies, the trade union-worker co-op brochure developed for the Quebec union movement, “the Advantages of Co-operation: Worker Buy-out Project” of CQCM and MCE Conseils; and guides on governance, human resources management, and financial management in a worker co-op. It also includes links back to the CGSCOP website including, among other things, the 30-second commercial aimed at soon-to-retire owners, here.

I think of it as the business transfer “Goldilocks” video, as the business owner finds one potential buyer too serious, one not serious enough, and one too keen to move the jobs away; the employees seem to be “just right.” Lastly, the site has separate sections aimed at retiring owners and employees, plus a listing of where help is available in Quebec. It is visually appealing, and is a great addition to the available resources on worker co-op business succession. Congratulations to the Réseau on a job well done!

CWCF has recently received a grant from Vancity Credit Union to enable it to adapt this Quebec-based web site to the rest of Canada. The first goal is to create an English version of the Quebec site which would be useable by anglophones in Quebec. Next, the bilingual site will be adapted to the context in Canada outside Quebec. CWCF continues to seek, in partnership with Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada, government resources for promotion and support of worker co-op business succession. In the meantime, CWCF will promote the option through this website. CWCF has developed and partnered in developing many documents over the years on this topic, and it will be important to have them all in one place. CWCF greatly appreciates the contributions of CG-SCOP and Vancity in making this planned web site possible.