BCCA Founding to Boost Co-op
BC’s cooperative movement will get a real
shot in the arm, if the
founding convention of the BC Cooperative Association is any indication.
the next two years, our priorities
will be to build a cooperative support infrastructure for economic
building stronger links with credit unions and training and education,”
BCCA Regional Manager John Restakis. “We formed the BCCA because we
local organization that is more responsive to the needs of local co-ops
The new organization is an inheritor from the
BC section of the
Canadian Cooperative Association, the national central that represents
cooperative enterprises across the country. Restakis says the BC
merely an extension of the CCA and did not have the autonomy it needed
effectively deal with local and provincial issues facing co-ops today.
However, the new provincial organization will
remain as an affiliate to
the national body, he says, with all of the existing development and
educational programs intact. “But now they will be administered here by
BCCA,” Restakis said.
The BCCA, like the national organization, is
funded primarily via
membership dues from affiliated cooperatives, as well as various
educational grants from governments, educational foundations and
co-ops and credit unions.
But Restakis also sees opportunities to work
with BC’s labour and First
Nations movements on co-op and community economic development projects.
recent years, there has been renewed interest among many unions in
democracy and similar developments.
The BCCA has helped put together two
community health service co-ops in
the Interior, which have been working with both Hospital Employees
These are community-based initiatives to deal
with the massive health
care cuts and privatization measures by the provincial government.
says co-op models can be used by communities and unions to challenge
often oppressive and austere measures.
“(The Liberal government’s) policies create a
he said. “It’s devastating from a service point of view as the loss of
services are a huge problem for communities. On the other hand, it
opportunities for communities to organize co-ops and take control of