In order to address the challenges the co‑op sector is facing, as well as continue to advocate for Government recognition and support through the establishment of co-operative-provincial partnerships, On Co-op needs co‑op advocates.
Advocates are most important in the days, weeks and months leading up to an election. During this period we have the opportunity to work with candidates from all parties to advocate for a better legislative environment for co-operatives. Stay tuned for more information.
WHile many of our advocacy resources on this site are outdated, there is still information in them that you can draw from and apply to your own advocacy work. We are also workin on developing some new tools. In November 2016, we created three infographics, which you are free to view and use for your own advocacy purposes:
1. Co-ops 101
2. Agriculture & Food Co-ops
3. Insurance & Financial Co-ops
Download them by visiting the Downloads section on the right-hand toolbar!
We are also in the process of developing a new FactSheet on "Co-op Advocacy," which we hope to release some time in the New Year.
Whether you have a local concern, interest in a government granting opportunity or an issue with the provincial legislation, OCA is here to help. In fact, our organization does its best work when we are collaborating with our members on messaging and relationship building. There are many ways to get involved and work with OCA to meet our co-operative sector’s advocacy needs and goals. Check out our brand new (February 2018) Co-op Advocacy FactSheet to learn how to engage OCA and effect change for your co-operative business, sector and the movement.
WHO ARE CO-OP ADVOCATES?
Co-op advocates can range from managers to board members and sector stakeholders, or even dedicated employees. What all advocates share in common is the ability to have a very real impact on the present and future of the co-operative sector.
Advocates reinforce the message that co-ops contribute to the social and economic fabric of the province, while raising key issues and challenges the sector faces to local government. There are currently numerous co-ops in almost all of the 107 electoral ridings, presenting plenty of opportunity for collaboration. In fact, there are more than 1,500 co-operatives with 1,900 locations in more than 400 Ontario communities, which are run by more than 49,000 volunteers and 15,500 staff members. Co-ops have a huge presence in Ontario, but we need to become more visible.
Grassroots advocacy presents a number of unique benefits to you, your co-operative and the movement that other forms of advocacy may not confer. Examples include:
- humanizing the co-operative movement
- attracting new customers and members
- increasing democratic participation
- keeping provincial association costs down
- making the most of human and financial resources through volunteerism
- establishing useful relationships with your community leaders
- inspiring more co-operatives to form, and
- raising awareness for your co-operative and the co-operative model in your immediate community
Most importantly, grassroots advocacy leverages the power of constituency. Your MPP is more likely to listen and seriously consider your concerns and desires because you are their constituent. Don't be hesitant to use that status to your advantage.