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Co-operative Spirit Awards

Pictured here, the award recipients of the 16th Co-operative Spirit Award Ceremony, during the "P6" Conference & Celebration, held at theTeatro Conference & Event Centre in Milton, ON on October 28th, 2015 (from left to right): John McFarlane, TeamWerks Co-operative; Peggy Baillie, Eat Local Sudbury; Ian Shewan, Lerners LLP; Ruth Maleki, Gay Lea Foods; Quintin Fox, Gay Lea Foods; Mark Hamel, Gay Lea Foods; Doug Dowhos, TeamWerks Co-operative. 

The Co-operative Spirit  Awards was established in 1999 by On Co-op to recognize the incredible contributions made by Ontario co‑operatives and individuals to the economic and social well-being of our province.

2017 Spirit Awards

The 17th Co-operative Spirit Awards will be held on Thursday, September 28, 2017 at the Courtyard by Marriott, Downtown Toronto. The awards will take place at a luncheon, to be held the afternoon of the Provincial Co-op Conference. 

Stay tuned for more details on the Spirit Awards and this exciting event in the future!

2015 Spirit Award Winners Announced!

We are very pleased to announce the two individuals and two organizations that recently received a Co-operative Spirit Award at the 2015 provincial Conference & Celebration!

Co-operative Engagement (Organization) - TeamWerks Co-operative

TeamWerks has shown dedication to fostering an active and engaged membership by being a co-operative social enterprise, owned and operated by consumers of mental health and addiction services in Thunder Bay. As one of the largest worker co-ops in Ontario with over 40 members, they operate a number of businesses that serve the public. In addition to ensuring maximum engagement of its member-owners, TeamWerks is an outstanding contributor to our sector, encouraging and supporting us all.

Co-operative Development (Individual) - Peggy Baillie

Peggy Baillie is a force for positive change in our province, with an extensive background in food systems and an unwavering commitment to co-operation. Her day job is as the Executive Director at Eat Local Sudbury Co-operative, but her contributions to the Ontario-wide Local Organic Food Co-ops (LOFC) Network is the reason for her award. She was the founding Chair of LOFC and has tremendously supported the growth and strengthening of Ontario’s 100+ sustainable local food and farm co-operatives. View Peggy's interview with CTV News HERE!

Advocacy & Government Relations (Individual) - Ian Shewan

Ian Shewan is a Partner with Lerners LLP and is head of their Business Law Group in London, Ontario. He is passionate about the co-operative movement and sees it as supporting “communities and commodities.” For more than nine years, Ian has been strengthening the relationship between policy officials, elected representatives and the co-operative sector. He does this through dialogue and presentations - and by using his “in-the-trenches” co-op knowledge to demonstrate issues and propose solutions.

Co-operative Education (Organization) - Gay Lea Foods Co-operative

Gay Lea Foods Co-operative has made significant efforts to create and promote youth & adult learning opportunities for its member, delegate and director education, as well as employee development. They are truly an organization that facilitates the learning of its members and continuously transforms itself. They believe in developing leadership and understanding of the co-operative model from an early age, and continue to educate their employees, members and directors on the co-operative identity and values through various initiatives.


Click HERE for a short PHOTO SLIDE SHOW of the 2015 Spirit Awards recipients!

To view the media releases on the 2015 Spirit Awards, please visit the "Downloads" section on the right-hand toolbar.

Co‑operative Engagement

Awarded to an organization
This award recognizes an organization’s dedication to fostering an active and engaged membership, while championing the co‑operative principles and spirit. The winning co‑op or credit union will be an avid proponent of principle six, “Co‑operation among Co‑operatives,” that consistently supports and collaborates with other co‑operative organizations.

Advocacy & Government Relations

Awarded to an individual
This award honours an individual who creates relationships with municipal, provincial and/or federal governments in order to elevate the profile of their co‑operative and the co‑op model. The winner actively strives to affect policy and legislative changes for their sector and/or the co‑operative movement at large.

Co‑operative Development

Awarded to an individual
This award pays tribute to the efforts of those individuals who have facilitated or supported the development of either emerging or established co‑operatives, while demonstrating leadership within the co‑operative movement.

Co‑operative Education

Awarded to an organization
This award acknowledges a co-op, credit union or stakeholder organization that creates and/or promotes youth and adult learning opportunities within their organization and/or community. The winner will be a co‑op education supporter and innovator.




1. Nominations are open to individuals and organizations. Ontario co-operatives, credit unions, caisse populaires, sector organizations, their staff, board members and volunteers are eligible if they are: a) Members, Supporters or Friends of the Ontario Co‑operative Association, or b) Members of a Federation/Association which is part of the On Co‑op membership (i.e., MOMO).

2. Individuals must be nominated by an organization from any of the above categories in order to be considered eligible.

3. Individuals and organizations may also self-nominate. 

4. The number and type of awards to be presented will be determined by On Co‑op or its appointed Selection Panel.

5. Recipients will be chosen by the Selection Panel, consisting of at least three individuals who are familiar with the Ontario co‑operative sector and are not current On Co‑op employees. Decisions are confidential and final.


  1. ** On Co-op will be accepting nomination packages again in 2017 **
  2. Any individual, committee or organization may submit a nomination. This could include members, directors or employees.
  3. Nominators may submit nominations in more than one category; however, an individual or organization may only be nominated in one category during each nomination year.
  4. The nominee should review the entire Nomination Package before signing. Nominators should retain a copy of the Nomination Package.
  5. Download the Nomination Form (online or printable version) from the 'Downloads' section at right.



As of October 2015, 122 Spirit Awards have been awarded. All Award recipients enter the Co-operative Spirit Recognition Awards Recipient Hall of Fame. To see current and past Award Recipients, click on the 'In this Section' link at right.

You can see and hear our awards recipients at our Spirit Awards channel on our Spirit Awards Youtube Channel.


Guide to Co-op Act written in plain, accessible language

Oct 14, 2015 - On Co-op has created a Guide to Ontario’s Co-operative Corporations Act. The Guide explains the details of the Act, and includes advice about the procedures and protocols that define the operations of co-operatives. The Guide also includes a number of…

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2017 On Co-op Annual General Meeting

Sep 28, 2017 - 2017 On Co-op AGM

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On Co-op is a trade association and capacity-building organization that develops, engages, educates and advocates for Ontario's co-op businesses.