GUELPH, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 11, 2013) - What could Ontario co-operatives and credit unions accomplish if they participated in a common brand? Two hundred co-operators from across the province will discuss the possibilities at the Ontario Co-operative Association (On Co-op) Co-op Week congress at the Milton, Ont. Teatro Conference & Event Centre on Oct. 16.

The meeting, entitled "Sharing our Co-op Stories", will also inform conference attendees about changes in laws affecting co-operative enterprises, new strategies for engaging young members and other ways to build membership.

"Our conference will touch on all four priorities for growth--co-operative engagement, advocacy and government relations, education in co-operative organizations, and co-op development," says On Co-op Executive Director Mark Ventry.

These priorities are also echoed in the new categories for the Co-operative Spirit Awards, he adds.

Government lobbyist Harvey Cooper will receive the new award recognizing government relations and advocacy for co-operative organizations. Cooper, who is government relations manager of the Ontario Region of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada, most recently advanced Ontario Bill 14 (2013) which has just received Royal Assent. The law will allow housing co-ops the same tribunal system as rental housing to resolve tenure debates.

Southwestern Ontario's Libro Financial Group earned the inaugural Co-operative Education Award. Libro's celebrated work in education includes promoting financial literacy, youth empowerment and training more than 100 credit union volunteers.

Winning the prize for co-operative engagement is the Ottawa Co-op Network. Founded in preparation for the 2012 United Nations International Year of Co-operatives, it now encompasses more than 20 organizations that continue to plan projects together.

The new Co-operative Development Award to an Individual is to be presented to Hannah Renglich of Local Organic Food Co-ops Network. Renglich helps consumers, retailers and food producers within communities see the potential of working together.

The On Co-op conference will open at 8 a.m., with awards presented during a celebratory luncheon. Formal sessions will end after 4:30 p.m. and will be followed by a wine and cheese social.


The Ontario Co-operative Association believes that co-operatives build a better world. We are the trade association that develops, engages, educates and advocates for Ontario's 1,300 co-operative businesses. On Co-op is an information and resources network with a mission to lead, cultivate and connect co-operatives.


The Ontario Co-operative Association provides its member-owners with programs, resources and networks that support their organizations and facilitate growth and opportunity. From the strong foundation provided by our membership, On Co-op builds co-op awareness and vitality, and unites the co-operative movement in Ontario.


Co-operatives are community-focussed businesses that balance people, planet and profit. Co-ops are democratic and value-based, formed to seize local opportunities and meet the needs of their member-owners. As a trusted place to do business, co- operatives are chosen by more than one in seven people worldwide. Twice as many co- ops remain in operation after ten years as other types of business enterprise.

Contact Information:

On Co-op
Audrey Aczel
Communication and Events Manager
519.763.8271, Ext. 24