Co-op leaders, organizations win awards at CCA Congress

VANCOUVER, June 16 /CNW Telbec/ - A vice-president of The Co-operators, a 91-year-old veteran of southwestern Ontario's co-op and credit union movement and a Cape Breton credit union activist received top honours from the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) during its National Congress and Annual General Meeting in Vancouver on June 14-16.

Dennis Deters, The Co-operators executive vice-president for member relations and corporate services, and Charles Diemer, who helped found the Woodslee Credit Union (now United Communities Credit Union) in 1943 were honoured as winners of the Canadian Co-operative Achievement Award.

The award honours outstanding individual contributions to the co-operative movement in Canada. Mr. Deters was cited for his 40 years of service to Canada's co-operative sector, his efforts in spearheading The Co-operators' sustainability initiatives, and his role in developing and promoting post-secondary education programs relating to co-operatives.

Mr. Diemer, who celebrated his 91st birthday at the Congress, originally ran the Woodslee credit union out of the kitchen of his family farm, served for many years as its president and helped form a number of other co-operatives in the Essex County area. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 1985 for outstanding service to his community and his country.

Bobby McVeigh, who has been involved in Nova Scotia's credit union movement for 40 years, won CCA's Global Co-operator Award for his contribution to international co-operative development. The award honours an individual or organization who has consistently demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to the international development work of CCA and the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada.

Mr. McVeigh served as a volunteer director at all levels of the Canadian credit union system, spent 10 years as Canada's representative at the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and served as chair of the WOCCU board from 2003-2005. In his various roles, he has worked to develop and strengthen credit unions in Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and South America.

All three award winners will be inducted into the Canadian Co-operative Hall of Fame, together with four deceased co-operative pioneers announced at the CCA Congress: Co-operative Union of Canada co-founder Samuel Carter; Bernie Daly, who served as Ontario region manager of GROWMARK, Inc.; Ontario farmers' co-op pioneer Leonard Harman; and Manitoba co-op activist and educator Jake Siemens.

In addition to the individual awards, three co-operative organizations - First Calgary Savings, Co-op Atlantic and the Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation - were awarded CCA's Leadership in Co-operative Governance Award. This is the third year CCA has presented this award, which recognizes co-operatives and credit unions that demonstrate excellence in governance leadership and/or practices.

Also presented at the Congress was the British Columbia Co-operative Association's Co-op Excellence Award, which was given to the Upper Columbia Co-operative Council.

Claude Gauthier, the current Ontario region manager of GROWMARK, Inc., was re-elected as president of CCA immediately following the association's Annual General Meeting on June 15. Joining him on the CCA executive are vice-presidents Beryl Bauer (Federated Co-operatives Limited) and Jill Kelly (Central 1 Credit Union) and executive member Nick Sidor (Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada). Two new CCA board members were elected: Karen Miner (Mountain Equipment Co-op) and Ray Surette (Credit Union Central of Nova Scotia).

Participants in the three-day Congress also toured Vancouver-area co-ops, heard keynote speeches by economists John Helliwell and Stefano Zamagni and attended workshops on the theme "Co-operation and sustainability: the way forward."

The Canadian Co-operative Association is a national association for co-operatives in Canada, representing more than nine million co-operative and credit union members from over 2,000 organizations. CCA members come from many sectors of the economy, including finance, insurance, agri-food and supply, wholesale and retail, housing, health and the service sector. CCA provides leadership to promote, develop, and unite co-operatives and credit unions for the benefit of people in Canada and around the world.

SOURCE Canadian Co-operative Association

For further information: For further information: Donna Balkan, Communications Manager, Canadian Co-operative Association, 613-238-6711, ext. 206, Cell: 613-314-1032, donna.balkan@coopscanada.coop; Visit our website at www.coopscanada.coop

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