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DEI Resources for Co-operatives

Through partnerships and collaborations with various individuals and organizations that are experts in the field of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), we launched the Principle 8: From Principle to Practice project to gain knowledge and begin creating resources that can help co-operatives build DEI practices and policies into their organizations.

Where it began...

This initiative began with the development of a three-part series of interactive workshops that took place in early 2023. The sessions were designed to have us first look inward, to rediscover our co-operative identity through a DEI lens and framework. From there, we explored some of the systemic barriers that exist within our own organizations, and ended with a discussion about how we can collaborate to design a more inclusive future for the co-operative sector.

Where it's going...

Following the workshop series, the project has since engaged a group of diverse voices to co-create a draft of an 8th Co-operative Principle focused on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The Principle 8 draft will include both a Guidance Note and an accompanying Guide to Action, and is intended to give those working in co-operatives specific and measurable actions that they can adopt to increase DEI within their organizations, and the broader sector.

We would like to recognize members of our incredible working group for their contributions to this project:

Michelle Chin-Dawe, Tonya Earle, Esther Enyolu, Ayanna Inniss, Seeley Quest, Pearl Quong, Juliet ‘Kego Ume-Onyido, and Maya Wei Yan Linsley. We would also like to thank Dana Ayotte from the Inclusive Design Research Centre and Colin Clark from the IRIS Institute for their contributions.

Workshop 1 

The Co-operative Principles: A Blueprint for Equity

Our guest speakers from Freedom Dreams Co-operative Education examine how we can incorporate DEI practices into Co-operative Principle 1: Voluntary and Open Membership. Learn what are we as a sector are currently doing, and how can we change to expand the principle to include a DEI scope.

Workshop 2 

Breaking Down Barriers: Lessons for a More Inclusive Economy

Our guest speakers from the Black Women's Professional Co-operative and the Women's Multicultural Resource & Counselling Centre explore some of the key systemic barriers that exist for under-represented groups either wanting to develop, or currently operating a co-operative. They also consider barriers to ownership, membership, employment, accessibility and leadership, and suggest some of the ways we can overcome them.

Workshop 3

Co-creating the Next Steps

Our guest speakers from the Inclusive Design Research Centre review some of the lessons we have learned from the past two sessions, share some visions for the future of the Ontario co-operative sector with regards to the proposed eighth principle, and lead a discussion on some next steps to consider as we move forward on this journey. 

More resources will be added as they are completed.
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