Reflection

Top 5 / Hot 5: Cooperative Capital

On February 28 we asked, What Would It Take for Ottawa to become the Cooperative Capital of Canada.? Our participants responded.

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22 March 2017

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Doesn’t it feel sometimes like you don’t want to turn on the news anymore? Anyone can get discouraged at times. We can’t always find places and spaces to be hopeful, to be visionary or to be creative. Synapcity wants to be sure that residents of Ottawa always have an opportunity to work their imaginations and contribute together to issues that matter to them. Only through exercising our democratic muscles do we preserve cross-pollination of ideas and perspectives.

On February 28, we launched our What Would It Take conversations series as an opportunity to meet in a safe space and discuss civic issues that are near and dear to our hearts. Bringing together individuals and organizations from across the city, we are exploring “What Will It Take” to enhance and amplify the parts of our city that we are already proud of, and how to create more space for happier, healthier, smarter and safer qualities of life for our citizens.

We were thrilled to welcome Celine Carriere, the Executive Director of the Cooperative Housing Association of Eastern Ontario, to ask the question “What Would It Take for Ottawa to be the Cooperative Capital of Canada?” We were excited to see a mix of people interested in the broader cooperative values in our society, as well as those who work and hold membership in a variety of formal coops in the city.

For every conversation, Synapcity will generate a top5/ hot5 What Would It Take to answer the question of the morning and make it public. If there is an appropriate partner to take on the recommendations, we will be sure to connect them. In this case, the Ottawa Coop Network shares many of the same interests and we will be offering the raw data and the top5 to their next meeting.

Top 5/ Hot 5: What Would It Take for Ottawa to become the Co-operative Capital of Canada?

If I am a local lawmaker, I can simplify and make more supportive legal and regulatory frameworks so that coops are easier to build. More coops create more jobs, and money stays longer in the local economy.

If I am an individual, I can be creative in how I can bring cooperative principles into other structures I belong to, while acting as an informed consumer by seeking out businesses and organizations that support those principles.

If I am an investor, I can find unique opportunities to combine resources with others to further economic participation, like Nova Scotia has done with Community Economic-Development Investment Funds. I can select investment opportunities that create both social and economic returns. I can leverage and advocate for cooperative government programs and pursue current market gaps.

If I am a business person, I can use the cooperative model as a viable and profitable alternative to existing structures. I can advocate for the integration of cooperative models into business education and supporting organizations. I can encourage and promote cooperative worker buyouts from sole proprietors.

If I am an existing coop, I can use my experience to incubate or mentor new coops. I can create new opportunities to educate and promote cooperative benefits while reducing stigma. I can provide ongoing opportunities for my members to practice cooperative and collaborative participation. I can seek to partner with other coops and non-coops.

Please join us at Bar Robo for our next two events in the WWIT series:

Tuesday, March 28: What Would It Take for Ottawa to be a Human Rights City?

Our guest speaker will be John Packer, Director of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre at the University of Ottawa.

Tuesday, April 18: What Would It Take for Coach Houses to have an Impact on Housing in Ottawa?

Our guest speaker will be Alain Miguelez, Program Manager with the City of Ottawa.