A partnership agreement to enable worker cooperatives in Quebec and France

The Canadian Federation of Worker Cooperatives (CFWC) and the General Confederation of cooperatives and participatory societies (GC Scop) signed a first agreement of economic partnership between Europe and America on knowledge-sharing for cooperatives.

The partnership was signed between the two organizations representing cooperatives in Canada and France. Its main objective is to increase the expertise of organisations accompanying enterprises being bought up by their employees. “Employees in place, in many cases are able to collectively buy the company that employs them, particularly in the event that an employer is not able to identify an external buyer. Well supervised, employees can become co-owners, co-investors and co-managers” says Alain Bridault, chairman of the CFWC.

France is more advanced than Quebec and the rest of Canada in this area. Indeed, the GC SCOP annually coordinates more than 50 business transfers to their employees as a cooperative and participatory society (SCOP), the equivalent of a worker cooperative in Canada. Still, this form of business transfer is far from new in Canada. There are several successful cases of employees taking over their companies; one of the most impressive successes is the Quebec ambulance co-operatives which boast a total turnover of over 90 million and account for 75% of pre-hospital transportation in the province, with the exception of the city of Montreal.

Several support tools have been developed to support employees in the collective and democratic management of their business. This partnership with France goes further by providing CFWC access to the most powerful tools to support the transformation of enterprises into cooperatives run by employees in Quebec. This collaboration with France will help them, as the beneficiary of the partnership, enrich their activities by sharing practices and practical tools, says Pierre Charette, President of the Network of Quebec Worker Cooperatives.

“We have already repeatedly proven that the social economy is a reliable and durable solution to financial insecurity. Now it only remains to concretely demonstrate to the public and to employees that SCOPs are the business model of the future” says Alain Bridault.

The partnership agreement was signed on October 28th simultaneously in Montreal and Paris via a video conference at the Ministry of Economy, Innovation and Exports of Quebec in Montreal.

Source: http://www.les-scop.coop/sites/fr/espace-presse/communique-convention-transmission-canada-france (27/11/2015)