Week of Dec. 6– Dec 12, 2009, Vol. 4, No. 44

Edited and Compiled for you, by the Rising Tide Collective*

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Openings  - Openings is a weekly feature of Co-op Circles. “The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” - Ralph Nichols www.leadershipnow.com/listeningquotes.html  Send your favourite quote about celebrating co-operatives, communities and a better world for all, to News1@nbnet.nb.ca  


This Week in Co-op Circles

§      Correction: Paul Innes and Tammy Christopher, OMISTA Credit Union, Gary Forsey, Steel Centre Credit Union and Jeanette Holmden, PSE Credit Union will be returning to Uganda and Malawi in early 2010 as part of the Canadian Co-operative Association’s Coaching Program in that country. The Canadian Co-operative Association is sending this group of credit union professionals to Africa  to mentor credit union personnel there as their systems develop.  In addition to those going to Ghana, Laurie Gallant, Malpeque Bay Credit Union, and Eric Smith, formerly with Carleton Pioneer Credit Union and now retired, will be going to Ghana again.  CCA’s Coaching Program offers opportunities for Canadian credit union professionals to share their skills and advice directly with individual credit unions in Africa. Working in teams of two, coaches spend two weeks sharing their knowledge and expertise with credit unions in Uganda, Malawi and Ghana. This hands-on approach enables coaches to get to know the credit union, its members and the community. This familiarity allowing them to work with the credit union staff to understand the issues and discuss concrete solutions. If you are interested in a coaching opportunity in the future, please keep checking the CCA’s Web site for future programs. www.coopsCanada.coop  

§      Friday, Dec. 11 is the day that 96 unionized workers and 14 supervisors and managers at ACA Co-operative’s plant in New Minas will loose their jobs. ACA Co-operative Ltd., which processes chicken and turkey under the Eden Valley brand, says, “These changes are painful but necessary if we hope to make the plant sustainable, protect the remaining jobs and become better able to compete in today's poultry processing industry.” CEO Ian Blenkharn made that comment. CAW Local 2216 spokesman Dean Tupper he believes the problem is that the New Minas plant is too old and not able to process chickens competitively. “We’re killing 8,000 birds an hour. A new facility would be capable of killing 12,000," he said. "Our packing room is severely inefficient." Poultry will continue to be killed and chilled at the plant, Tupper said, but it will be shipped to New Brunswick to be processed. For more on this story, go to http://www.cbc.ca/canada/new-brunswick/story/2009/12/01/ns-aca-new-minas-layoffs.html#socialcomments

§      Colchester Co-operative’s members will be voting on Dec 17 to make a decision on the future of their co-operative food business. The co-op has seven full-time and 20 part-time employees. The Co-op Country Store attached to the food store will continue to operate. Stephen Nielsen, a board member, said “in order to liquidate the assets and pay off creditors, we need to pass a resolution to close unless the membership can come up with several hundred thousands for us to carry on, and we don’t see that happening.” The store has been in operation for 53 years. For more information, go to http://www.trurodaily.com/index.cfm?sid=309114&sc=68

§      Is the board of your co-op or credit union doing a great job governing the organization’s affairs?   Does the board strive for excellence by adopting new practices to improve the way it works, fulfilling the co-operative principles, and sharing best practices with others?   For the past two years, the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA)’s Leadership in Co-operative Governance Award has recognized the best in co-operative board governance across the country.  CCA and Brown Governance Inc. have now added a second award, the Brown Governance Co-operative Award for Boardroom Culture, which recognizes that the unwritten norms underlying governance power structures are crucial in ensuring organizational success. Individual personalities, personal relationships, decision-making processes, and the use of benchmarks and performance measurements are all factors in boardroom culture. The 2010 awards will be presented at CCA’s National Congress in Vancouver on June 16.  For more information on how to apply, go to http://tinyurl.com/GovernanceAwards.

§      The Boards of OMISTA and York Credit Unions have announced the merger of their respective operations, effective January 1st, 2010. In keeping with the direction of credit unions throughout the Atlantic Provinces, the owners of OMISTA Credit Union and York Credit Union voted to approve this multi city merger at their respective meetings in Moncton and Fredericton on December 1st and 2nd.  The two entities will merge into one larger five-branch credit union under the name OMISTA Credit Union www.OMISTA.com . The new credit union will maintain all existing branches and employees and serve the Moncton, Fredericton, Oromocto, and surrounding areas.   “There have been a number of credit union amalgamations in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland over the past ten years, and results clearly show that individual credit unions are better positioned to meet competitive challenges by combining their operations,” says Credit Union Central of New Brunswick CEO Gerard Adams. “Amalgamation will better position us to focus resources on developing stronger owner relationships and increase service to small and medium-sized businesses.” Having begun his credit union career at OMISTA in 1973 and after 34 years of service, York Credit Union General Manager Dennis Williams will be retiring as GM on December 31st, 2009 and from the credit union system in 2010. Under the leadership of current OMISTA Credit Union CEO Richard Vaillancourt, the combined organization will represent approximately 12,000 owners, while managing assets of $230 million, with an employee base of 80.

§      Target 100 is a new initiative by the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council, in partnership with the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services, designed to help the co-operative and credit union sector meet its human resources needs, while contributing to poverty reduction in Nova Scotia. In June the Council surveyed co-ops and credit unions and determined that there are many organizations in the sector that have a difficult time finding workers in rural communities. The Department of Community Services has access to many individuals province-wide, primarily in rural areas, who are ready to work and are currently seeking meaningful work in their communities. Many of these individuals are graduating or have graduated from a post-secondary institution. This partnership will help connect these individuals with meaningful positions available in the co-operative and credit union sector. Those individuals who are identified as potential candidates for a position will be provided with various supports that a person from outside of this project might not have access to; such as co-operative sector education, budgeting training, opening an account and building a relationship at their local credit union, as well as other supports provided by Community Services. For more information contact: Mark Sparrow, Business Development Officer, Nova Scotia Co-operative Council, phone (902) 564-8821 or email mark@nsco-opcouncil.ca

§      When you make a purchase using a Credit Union MasterCard in Prince Edward Island, you make a contribution to ICare which helps support health care in your community. If you are currently a Credit Union MasterCard® cardholder, there’s no need to do a thing. You are already signed up. To apply for a Credit Union MasterCard®, visit your Credit Union or apply online at www.cuets.ca . For every purchase you make, your Credit Union will make a donation to health care in your community.

§      Tomorrow, Dec. 10, is the deadline to win one of two $1000 bursaries from Credit Union Atlantic www.cua.com You need to show your green side and create a holiday ornament using only recycled or reused materials. All contestants must be between the ages of 12 and 15 and a resident of the Halifax Regional Municipality. You can drop it off at any Credit Union Atlantic branch. For further information, check Credit Union Atlantic’s Web site.

§      ACYL will be hosting its 1st co-operative youth leadership seminar of 2010 in Prince Edward Island. The Atlantic Co-operative Youth Leadership (ACYL) program will be hosting the seminar at the Canoe Cove Camp just outside of Charlottetown on April 15 – 18, 2010. ACYL is asking those who are members/employees at a co-operative or credit union here in Atlantic Canada and who enjoy working with youth to submit their names at the following address, leadership@acyl.coop if they wish to volunteer at the camp. 


Trends -  Every first Saturday of the month, Scouts from 1st Michael’s Troop in Moncton have a bottle drive that culminates in a dozen or so youths and Leaders congregating at someone’s garage to do the separation and counting before bringing it to the recyclers for cash. And so it was this past Saturday...all manner of bottles and recyclable containers were bagged and counted: pop cans and bottles, water bottles, beer and spirit containers, juice bottles, tin cans and milk containers. Whoa...milk containers? Unfortunately in New Brunswick, milk containers (among a select few) are exempt from the requirements of the Beverage Containers Act. Milk jugs and cartons instead go into the dry garbage to be buried forever in landfills. I have no idea why. But it is wrong. Given that a large volume of the milk is produced by dairy co-operatives, I would expect greater responsibility from these organizations. If readers know why they are exempt, please share it with Co-op Circles. Ron Levesque


Young Co-operators: The Buds on the Co-op Tree - The Canadian Co-operative Association is upholding their commitment to engage the next generation of co-operators. During the 100th Anniversary of CCA earlier this year, they prioritized youth involvement in the movement and finding strategic directions to achieve greater involvement of youth. Today (December 9th) is the final date to indicate if you are interested in being part of a Youth Caucus CCA is establishing. If you are under 30 years of age, committed to the co-op movement and keen to help develop the National Youth Engagement Strategy, contact Tanya Gracie today at tanya.gracie@coopscanada.coop - Erin Hancock


Co-op Ed 101 -  Located on Granville Island in the Net Loft, Circle Craft Co-Operative features the work of 200 craftspeople from across British Columbia. As Canada’s most successful craft co-operative, Circle Craft has been a major force in promoting the work of craftspeople in British Columbia since 1972.  http://circlecraft.net/sites/circlecraft2/files/homepage.htm


Co-op Community Bulletin Board

Remember to send news items and bulletin board items to News1@nbnet.nb.ca.

§      Apr 15-17, 2010 – Credit Union Central of Nova Scotia Annual General Meeting

§      May 28-29, 2010 – Co-op Atlantic’s Annual General Meeting


Contest of the WeekLast week’s winner: Last week’s winner was Kathy Day, JustUs! Coffee Roasters Co-op. She was one of seven correct entries. Answer: Snuggles-Lady-Princess-Fluffy-Miss Mew-Butterscotch-Dusty This week’s contest: Betty and Tracy planned a 5000km trip in an automobile with five tires, of which four are in use at any time. They plan to interchange them so that each tire is used the same number of kilometers. What is the number of kilometers each tire will be used?

Please keep those entries coming! Everyone who enters has their name placed in the contest can for the month end drawing. The Contest entry deadline each week is Tuesday, 12 noon. Send your entry to contest1@nbnet.nb.ca.


Co-op Cooking – Crispy, hassle-free French toast makes everyone happy. Sweet orange-cinnamon syrup entices breakfast eaters, and the easy, one-batch prep pleases the cook. This could be called a win-win breakfast.

 No-Fry French Toast

1 lightly beaten egg

1 lightly beaten egg white

3/4 cup fat-free milk

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, divided

8 1/2-inch slices French bread

1/4 tsp finely shredded orange peel

1/2 cup orange juice

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp cornstarch

1 tbsp sifted powdered sugar (optional)


Coat a large, sided baking sheet with cooking spray; set aside. In a pie plate combine the egg, egg white, milk, vanilla, and 1/8 tsp cinnamon. Soak the bread slices in egg mixture about 1 minute on each side. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees F about 6 minutes (until bread is lightly browned). Turn bread; bake for 5 to 8 minutes more (until golden brown). Meanwhile, in a small saucepan stir together the orange peel, orange juice, honey, cornstarch, and 1/8 tsp cinnamon. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly; reduce heat, cook and stir for 2 minutes more. If desired, sprinkle the French toast with powdered sugar. Serve with orange syrup.- Glenna Weagle


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Co-op Circles is part of Rising Tide Collective’s commitment to the Co-op Principles of Co-op Education and Concern for Community. This electronic newsletter is published every week. It is available free of charge to anyone with an e-mail address and an interest in co-operative and community development in Atlantic Canada and around the world. We will be happy to put you on our Co-op Circles mailing list. We are proud that co-operators from Canada, the U.S, England, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand are part of our Circle. To subscribe: circles1@nbnet.nb.ca or to unsubscribe: circles2@nbnet.nb.ca  Tell your friends about it. Please e-mail us with your questions, suggestions and memories at News1@nbnet.nb.ca

Thanks to the Marie Michael Library, Coady International Institute, for archiving Co-op Circles. http://www.mystfx.ca/coady-library/coop_circles/index.htm Next Co-op Circles: Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2009


Rising Tide Collective* - Erin Hancock, Ron Levesque, Brenda MacKinnon, Maureen MacLean, Glenna Weagle