[QUÉBEC, June 19, 2019] — Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC) held its annual awards ceremony on June 19 in Quebec City. Each year, CMC honours individuals and organizations working in the Canadian co-operative and mutual sector to recognize their outstanding contribution to the sector. Once again this year, the CMC Awards Committee reviewed the list of candidates with great care before selecting the winners from among the nominations submitted by CMC’s member co-operatives.

The Emerging Co-operator Award, which recognizes outstanding co-operators age 35 and under, was presented to Charles‑Hugo Maziade, director of the Bourse du carbone Scol’ERE at the Forêt d’Arden (FA) Co-op in Lévis, Quebec. A teacher by training, he joined the FA Co-op in order to contribute to the development of the Alliance pour une éducation citoyenne planétaire (AECP) by sharing positive environmental projects among the various actors, all to promote the integration of environmental education into education systems. Always guided by the co-operative values he seeks to embed in his various projects, he is currently the director of the Bourse du carbone Scol’ERE, a scholarship program that has reached more than 11,000 young Quebecers in 500 classrooms. In 2018, Charles‑Hugo Maziade received the Majella-St-Pierre Award from the board of directors of the Conseil québécois de la coopération et de la mutualité (CQCM) in recognition of his personal and professional commitment, achievements and leadership.

The Co-operative Achievement Award honours women and men who have made an outstanding contribution to the cause and development of co-operative and mutual enterprises in Canada and internationally. The 2019 Achievement Award was presented to a pioneer, Monique F. Leroux. Named an Officer of the Ordre du Québec in 2013 and inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame in 2018, Ms. Leroux has made a significant contribution to the development of the co-operative sector in Quebec, across Canada and abroad, notably as President of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA), Desjardins Group, and the Conseil québécois de la coopération et de la mutualité (CQCM), and as the creator of the International Summit of Co-operatives. It seemed only natural to recognize her outstanding professional achievements and prominent contribution to Canada’s prosperity with the Achievement Award.

The St-Albert Cheese Co-operative received the Small Co-operative of the Year Award, which celebrates the unique community impact of a co-operative. Celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, this co-op has stood out and prospered for more than a century in the highly competitive cheese market. The business contributes actively and financially to local municipal projects. Each year, the St-Albert Cheese Co-operative welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors to its premises to promote its history and the co-operative model, making the enterprise a leading ambassador for the co-operative sector as well as an important economic driver for its rural Ontario community.

Finally, Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) received the Large Co-operative of the Year Award, which honours Canadian organizations that have made a significant contribution to co-operatives and mutuals in Canada and/or internationally. Working together, FCL and locally owned retail co-ops form the Co-operative Retailing System (CRS), which provides a wide range of goods and services to individuals and communities across western Canada, on Vancouver Island, in northwestern Ontario and in the Arctic. Recognized and valued for its commitment, which is based on principles of environmental sustainability, community investment, employee engagement, co-operative leadership and financial responsibility, FCL provided its members with $789 million in spin-off benefits in 2018. FCL has been recognized as one of the Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada (Corporate Knights), one of the Top 500 Companies in Canada (Financial Post), and one of the Top 100 Companies in Saskatchewan (SaskBusiness magazine). Now a brand recognized and respected by thousands of Canadians, FCL is a worthy recipient of the Large Co-operative of the Year Award.

Doug Potentier, president of the CMC Board of Directors, emphasized the importance of these awards: “CMC’s annual awards ceremony is a unique opportunity to recognize leaders in Canada’s co-operative sector and celebrate the successes and contributions of outstanding co-operators. Congratulations to all the winners! Your passion for the co-operative model is a source of inspiration for everyone involved in the co-operative sectort.”

Jim Bettcher, CMC Awards Committee chair, added: “Tonight’s laureates are being recognized for their co-operative leadership. These people and organizations have exemplary backgrounds and are true role models for people who want to get involved in the co-operative sector. They embody the seven co-operative principles on a daily basis, and demonstrate an ethic based on honesty, transparency, social responsibility and altruism. Congratulations to these exceptional people and businesses.”

About CMC: Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC) is the national, bilingual association for co-operatives and mutuals in Canada. Through advocacy with the federal government, CMC provides a knowledgeable voice committed to improving the economic and regulatory environment for co-operatives and mutuals on behalf of our members. CMC’s members come from many sectors of the economy. CMC provides leadership to support, promote, and develop the co-operative economy in Canada. The co-operative and mutual movement in Canada comprises more than 31.8 million memberships from approximately 8,000 co-operative and mutual enterprises.

For more information, please contact:

Simone Saint-Pierre
Communications Manager
Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada
Mobile: 1-438-596-5950