The Co-operative Innovation Project

Collaborative, Community-Led Solutions


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La Ronge & Stanley Mission Site Tour

In the summer of 2014 the CIP team was joined by representatives from the UK-based Plunkett Foundation to visit the communities of La Ronge and Stanley Mission in northern Saskatchewan. The team had the pleasure of two days of co-operative development training and dining with representatives from the La Ronge grocery co-operative, Lac La Ronge Indian Band, Amachewespemawin grocery co-operative (Stanley Mission) and Connexus Credit Union.

The team was treated to an amazing tour of the Amachewespemawin Co-op grocery store and gas bar – and some of the team even got to experience their first try at Chester Fried Chicken!

(Other team members said: Really? Did you grow up in a bucket? Chester Fried Chicken is the bomb!)

We would like to thank the following organizations for their support of our trip north:

  • La Ronge Co-op Market Place Food Store
  • Lac La Ronge Indian Band
  • Amachewespemawin Co-op (Stanley Mission)
  • Conexus Credit Union
  • Northlands College (La Ronge Campus)
  • La Ronge Hotel & Suites

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The CIP Team. From left to right: Dazawray Landrie-Parker, Nicole McLaren, Peter Couchman, Murray Fulton, Ken Coates, Hannah Barrett, Dionne Pohler, Dawn Brinkmeier, Wu Haotao. Missing: Audra Kreuger (behind the camera).

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Eva (GM) and The CIP Team. From left to right: Peter Couchman, Eva McKenzie, Wu Haotao, Nicole McLaren, Dazawray Parker, Murray Fulton, Dawn Brinkmeier, Dionne Pohler, Hannah Barrett. Missing: Bob Walker (behind the camera).

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Article: Co-operative Development in Rural and Aboriginal Communities

Check out Page 36 of the April/May 2014 SaskBusiness Magazine for a thought provoking article about the Co-operative Innovation Project.

Written by Murray Fulton Professor, Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy and Director, Centre for the Study of Co-operatives, University of Saskatchewan, and Dionne Pohler Assistant Professor, Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy and Fellow in Co-operative Strategy and Governance, Centre for the Study of Co-operatives, University of Saskatchewan.


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Introduction to the Project

In November 2013, the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives at the University of Saskatchewan entered into a first-of-its-kind partnership with Federated Co-operatives Limited to explore co-operative development in rural and Aboriginal communities in western Canada.

Co-operatives are an important contributor to a community’s quality of life, offering opportunities for economic and community development in areas citizens feel are important, such as housing, social services, retail, energy, recreation, and the sustainable management of natural resources and traditional economies.

The goal of the CIP is to create a model of co-operative development that will work in rural and Aboriginal communities across western Canada.

Our approach follows the UK-based Plunkett Foundation’s model of co-operative development, although we anticipate that the model will need to be adapted to the unique features of rural and Aboriginal communities in western Canada. A key part of the project is this adaptation, which will be informed by the wealth of knowledge possessed by people in communities across the region and by those working with regional co-operative associations, credit unions, government agencies, NGOs, and community associations.

In addition to the qualitative data that will be collected over the next two years through interviews and conversations, the CIP will compile a broad range of quantitative socio-economic data on western Canadian communities. Together, these data will be used to create a set of characteristics that are likely to make communities conducive to successful co-operative development.