Building worker co-ops in Canada

On this week's episode of Talking Radical Radio, executive director Hazel Corcoran talks about her two decades of work with the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation.

Co-operatives are voluntary, democratic enterprises organized around meeting the needs of their members and their communities. There are many different kinds of co-operatives, including consumer co-ops -- from your local food co-op to giant enterprises like Mountain Equipment Co-op -- housing co-ops, credit unions, and producer or farmer co-ops. Worker co-ops are businesses that are owned and democratically run by those who work in them, an important alternative to the standard corporate model. By global standards, Canada has a reasonably high density of co-operatives overall, but a very low density of specifically worker co-ops. The CWCF is an association that brings together many of the worker co-ops that do exist across the country and works hard to try and change that. Corcoran talks about their efforts to improve relevant legislation and to put in place supportive resources to allow this more equitable and more democratic way of organizing productive activity to realize its potential in the Canadian context.

To learn more about the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation, click here. You can learn about the principles that are the basis of co-operatives and about how to start a worker co-op. For further supports for starting co-operatives you can check-out the allied organization CoopZone.

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada through in-depth interviews that concentrate not on current events or the crisis of the moment, but on giving people involved in a broad range of social change work a chance to take a longer view as they talk about what they do, how they do it, and why they do it. To learn more about the show in general, click here.

You can also learn more about ways to listen or go to the show's page on To learn more about suggesting grassroots groups and organizations for future shows, click here. For details on the show's theme music, click here.

Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Sudbury, Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable. has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.