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We are inviting our members to donate to the scholarship fund and for our youth to apply for the scholarship to support the registration fee. The YES is running a limited number of smaller programs this summer.  Youth ages 14-18 who want to attend Camp YES this year, please email Joanne. We have Sponsorships to support the Registration Fee.


Last summer, due to Covid, there could be no overnight camps. At that time, the Camp YES staff asked themselves, "What should we do during this time?  As co-operators, the question inevitably became, “How can we best serve our members, or our community?"  They’ve been busy this past year supporting our youth and here is an update on their initiatives: 


  • Created the YES This Journal Activity Book Download a copy

  • YES Camp merch is for sale!

  • The podcast, Care Package, is in its second season

  • Continue to connect alumni with each other for support. If you are a YES Camp or Camp Rainbow Alumni, stay in touch with Camp YES here

  • Produce a regular newsletter - subscribe to their Mailing List


Their 2021 programming for the start of summer includes virtual camps, and weeklong day camps. With ongoing health and safety guidelines, The YES will not be able to facilitate traditional week-long overnight camps. However, they recognize that this may change, and, if so, they will be sure to update you and their programs. Be sure to subscribe to their mailing list and check their website for updates.  At this time, their program is: 

  • Roots Hybrid (Mainland)  July 5-9

  • Roots Hybrid (Island) – July 12 - 16

  • Roots Virtual – July 19 - 23

  • Pathways Virtual – July 26 - 30

  • Leadership Cohort Virtual - TBC


Members may donate to the Camp YES Scholarship Fund by email to info@ccec.bc.ca or by phone to 604.254.4100. Youth ages 14-18 are asked to email Joanne with your application


At CCEC, we are proud of our members who contribute to the Camp YES Scholarship Fund allowing us to supoort the Registration Fee for our Youth.  We also believe that the Camp YES programming is a transformative experience for both campers and parents;  and provides our youth with the tools and skills to create positive change in their family, school, and community.


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Saturday, January 16th at 10:30am  is our second virtual Town Hall meeting. We want to hear from our members your thoughts about CCEC’s future and the upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM).

 

At our AGM on February 4, 2021, we will be reporting healthy earnings in the year ending September 2020.  However, our long term financial planning indicates we will face challenges  The credit union sector is facing enormous pressure with ever increasing regulatory requirements, rising costs and low margins resulting from historically low interest rates. Across the province, over 25% of credit unions are currently considering a merger or acquisition. We want to share with you the informal conversations we have had with other credit union boards on their challenges and opportunities. 

 

Please RSVP to Joanne to attend the Town Hall and the AGM.  Join the conversation, hear what other members have to say and have your voice heard.  A zoom link will be sent closer to the date. 

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The YES Camp created the Care Package Podcasts to provide care, support, and humour to youth around BC in response to the crisis of COVID-19.

Our CCEC members have supported our youth to attend the YES camp for many years. At this time, the YES is uncertain if they can hold the camps, so they’ve pivoted their focus to doing what it can for struggling youth.

The podcast – appropriately titled Care Package – aims to engage youth who are experiencing an unprecedented amount of uncertainty and anxiety in a time of already huge change in their lives.

The Podcasts go out every week, usually Wednesdays. You can get notifications from your podcast apps if you subscribe, or you can subscribe to The YES mailing list on the website to get an email notification and their blog. They also post on Instagram and Facebook for each new post. Amongst the segments – interviews with staff members, call-ins from campers, and “poopses and oopses” – a time for embarrassing stories.

For Canada’s young people, the last month has brought about more change and uncertainty in their lives than possibly ever before. Kids Help Phone has recorded a 350% increase in youth seeking help over text since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic – leading to Kids Help Phone asking for more volunteers to meet the demand.

The YES and our team are concerned about what’s going on for teenagers out there right now – so we wanted to do something that would provide some care and connection out to all those teens who might just be at home with their family, or they might be in a vulnerable situation.” – Chelsea Lake, Director of the YES

At CCEC, we are accepting sponsorship applications for youth who want to attend camp. Camp registrations are open and payment is on hold until they can confirm the camps can safely run. Email Joanne if you have youth wanting to attend the camp. If you would like to donate to the scholarship fund, please email or phone the branch. 


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"Pandemic Pals," Caremongers, and Good Ol' Friendliness are practical ways more neighbours are now helping neighbours. COVID-19 has led to many random acts of kindness. These are uncertain times and we are being urged to reduce our social interactions to “flatten the curve”.   We have implemented "social distancing" guidelines and a voluntary  "shelter in place".

Many CCEC member groups and businesses have been impacted as they have closed their galleries and restaurants, or postponed festivals and events. Local businesses are struggling as they operate on tight margins. Restaurants that offer take-out are open and may not be accepting cash -  only debit and credit cards. With K-12 classes suspended indefinitely, school meal programs are being reviewed to ensure kids in need don’t suffer.  

We have neighbours who are struggling financially, who live month to month on a fixed income, and cannot afford to stock their pantry.  Let’s knock on their door (respecting social distancing) or phone them and ask how you can help.  

We all know examples of how our  community is reaching out and making connections to help those who are feeling even more isolated and lonely. It is inspiring to learn that some stores are dedicating times each day day for seniors or those who need assistance or consideration; accepting donations to distribute to those in need in their area;  starting initiatives like Breaking Bread that lets you know how you can support your local, independent restaurants.

It's heartening to see so many more people and groups become ignited about neighbourly mutual aid!


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We need social housing and welfare rates enough to cover basic rent in the city. There are 2,223 homeless people in Vancouver, up only 2.2% but there are more seniors, women and those who had housing now in the homeless count. It takes political will and all levels of government to address the problem. Read more in the just released  The Vancouver Homeless Count 2019 


In 2015, Medicine Hat declared it had ended chronic homelessness. The program continues to be successful. "Our definition of ending homelessness never did include the idea that it would never exist again, and that people would never fall back into that state of homelessness," said Jaime Rogers, the manager of homeless and housing at the Medicine Hat Community Housing Society. ‚Äč"We still need emergency shelters and we absolutely have people in our community that still experience homelessness. However, anyone who experiences being homeless is for a period that is "brief and short-lived," she said. 


The Mayor of Medicine Hat calls on provinces and Ottawa to provide the funding, but then to allow municipalities to implement strategies that makes the most sense wherever they're at. He says that their homeless strategy is saving taxpayers money in  terms of declining costs of crime, health care and child welfare services. 


Housing is for community not developers. On November 30, a rally was held at what was the Little Mountain Housing site. Ten years ago the residents were removed and the buildings demolished on what was Vancouver’s first social housing site (built in 1954). The 15 acre site continues to be vacant. A rally spokesperson says, “It was a successful social housing community. Many, many thousands of people grew up and lived their lives there. The buildings could have been renovated.”  The spokesperson adds, “It’s clear that the redevelopment of Little Mountain has been a failure. We are calling on the government to #Take Back the Mountain,’ to take the Little Mountain site into public hands and to build the kind of housing that people need and deserve in Vancouver.”


Read the  Vancouver Homeless Count 2019 Report 

Learn more about the Homeless Action Strategy in Alberta 

 
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My book, The Co-op Revolution (Caitlin Press), talks about Roger Inman, CCEC and 1970's co-ops.  It is an account of my time with the co-op movement in Vancouver’s activist years of the 1970s. I was a founder and member of CRS Workers’ Co-op, an organization that was owned and managed by us. We started four projects in Vancouver, all to do with food production and distribution: a cannery that preserved BC fruit in honey, a beekeeping co-op, a bakery and a food wholesaler. As well, we helped other small food co-ops get started.

Sometime in the autumn of 1975 Michael Goldstein showed up at the Pandora Street office of CRS Workers’ Co-op with a sheaf of documents in hand. We knew that the co-op movement possessed its own form of financial institution founded by the people, for the people’s well-being. So when Michael told our group that he and others were trying to organize just such a credit union to be called CCEC, we were happy to sign up. Several of us signed on a charter document that night and some of us expressed interest on serving on the new credit union’s committees when it received its charter in 1976. Right on!—as we said in those days. This was what co-operatives needed—access to funds that were not governed by the big business of Canada's banks or subject to the day’s political whims. The credit union movement would be a big boon to women in business as well, recognizing their abilities to manage a loan without requiring a man at the helm.

From The Co-op Revolution: “Most of us opened our personal share/saving accounts at CCEC when it moved to its first real office at 205 E. 6th Avenue. I was member number 32 and my deposit card reports that on March 4, 1976, I deposited $4 to open my account, after which the deposits and withdrawals continued sporadically until 1981. That first transaction was initialed by K, which probably stood for Katherine Ruffen, the first manager.

The best thing about this credit union was its personal service in the days before ATM machines. If I had neglected to withdraw cash on a Friday for the weekend’s activities, I could call Katherine at work and tell her I was on my way. “Please don’t leave until I get there,” I would say, and I would arrive minutes before closing time.  It’s doubtful whether any bank or credit union today would be concerned about my lack of cash for the weekend.” 

One member of our co-op, Roger Inman, served CCEC Credit Union loyally and after his death in 1989 a memorial award commemorated his work. The award is given by CCEC annually in recognition of a project that has made a significant contribution to the economic development of the community. And that’s how Roger would have wanted it.  

I first met Roger in 1975 when I moved to Vancouver from Ontario. He had moved from Winnipeg around the same time with his tent in his backpack and had heard about CRS starting the Tunnel Canary cannery. He didn’t know much about co-ops or canning at the time but he was most enthusiastic about the project and his sense of humour helped us to get through some of the hot, labour intensive work of processing fruit and jam. Roger continued to work with the cannery collective until its demise when he turned to another CRS project, Uprising Breads Bakery.

There’s more about Roger and other CRS workers in my book, The Co-op Revolution. I’ll be reading from it at the Vancouver Public Library main branch on Tuesday, April 23 at 7 p.m. All are welcome to attend and books will be for sale. (For more, see: jandegrass.com).

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Read about the history of the co-op movement in the '70's including CCEC!  Jan DeGrass is one of the first 25 members of CCEC.

From Jan on her new book: 
I’m excited to tell you that The Co-op Revolution has just been published by Caitlin Press. My latest book gives an account of my time with CRS Workers’ Co-op in Vancouver during the heady, activist years of the 1970s. Hope you can make it to my book launch in Vancouver. 
Visit the publisher or Jan's website for more information. 
Vancouver Book Launch: VPL Main Branch Tuesday, April 23 at 7 p.m

Excerpt from the book: “We were undercapitalized, inexperienced, practiced democratic decision-making and some of us smoked dope occasionally. All elements that would make us grow as human beings and as business people. We ran a helluva show.”

In the spring of 1975, a free-spirited Jan DeGrass backpacked across Canada in search of adventure and greater meaning in life. When she arrived in Vancouver, she met a group of people committed to social change; together they reimagined the food industry in BC.

In The Co-op Revolution: Vancouver’s Search for Food Alternatives, author and journalist DeGrass writes about her journey as a founding member of the Collective Resource and Services Workers’ Co-op. Bounding to life during the heady, activist, grant-funded years of 1974–1980, the CRS Co-op became one of the most successful co-ops in BC and was committed to co-operation and worker ownership. While the decade of the seventies is remembered for its new wave of co-ops—usually organized by a “free-flowing” collection of women and men in their twenties—CRS was unique in its success. Among its many accolades, it created the Tunnel Canary cannery, the Queenright Co-operative Beekeepers, Vancouver’s popular Uprising Breads Bakery and a food wholesaler, which later became Horizon Distributors. The economic, political and social skyline of Vancouver was changing. For some, the co-op movement was about crushing capitalism; for others it was simply about buying cheap, wholesome food from people they trusted, and living in communal camaraderie. No matter the pursuit, co-operation was the answer.

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Helesia Luke, CCEC Board Member says, "A month ago I started a new job and with it embarked on a learning curve that has been a real eye opener. "  As the new Green Jobs BC Co-ordinator, my first observation is that there is no lack of global leadership on the topic. Labour, environmental and financial leaders are rallying for change and scalable solutions that provide good jobs and reduce carbon emissions. As recently as last week, former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney noted the transition to a green economy is a trillion dollar opportunity for businesses and national economies

In the absence of policy however, citizens in Canada are taking matters into their own hands with grassroots initiatives like Iron and Earth. [ttp://www.ironandearth.org/] I&E is a worker-led group formed by unemployed oil sands workers who recently signed an MOU to build six offshore wind farms in Atlantic Canada.

A new study from Berkeley  is reporting that 500,000 people are now employed in California’s renewable energy sector. The study credits state policy for the remarkable growth in good jobs that lower carbon emissions.  

Imagine what could be accomplished in Canada with effective policies and investment in a green economy. The Green Jobs BC Conference is November 24th and 25th. Come and join the discussion about how BC can transition to green and just economy.

Green Jobs BC is an alliance of labour and environmental groups with a shared vision of an inclusive, sustainable economy that provides good jobs, are socially just, protects the environment and reduces carbon emissions. 

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Credit unions are consumer owned enterprises that represent a fundamental challenge to conventional capital corporations.  Credit unions do not exist to generate profits, but to provide services to member-shareholders.  Recent published documents raise some interesting questions about the future of our credit unions.  

Consolidation and amalgamation over the last thirty years has drastically reduced the number of credit unions in BC (and elsewhere).  In the mid-eighties there was 120, now there are 43.  And the two largest credit unions comprise @50% of the deposits and almost 50% of the memberships in BC. Two papers submitted to the provincial government review of credit union legislation were made public online and provide pointed criticism of the erosion of member democracy in large credit unions. Submissions are public and the papers from Bruce Bachelor and Mark Latham both argue for enhanced democratic practices. Also, governancewatch.ca  provides an excellent overview of difficulties at Coast Capital Credit Union. 

But beyond that, credit union members also own "second tier" enterprises, or are the beneficial owners of these; Central 1, Co-operators Insurance, CUMIS Insurance, etc.  Since credit unions control these businesses, consumer owners rarely consider their stake in them.  But a recent paper from Central 1 provides a great overview, and a discussion of a 'restructuring' of these entities - Future State. But this paper fails to recognize consumer ownership as the key 'uniqueness' of our credit unions.

Over time the radical idea of consumer control has been down played.  More emphasis has been placed upon marketing smarts and service. Indeed, co-operative democratic governance has been under-represented and eroded.  Members are no longer encouraged to take active interest in the affairs of the credit union, unless there is a merger proposal. This is unfortunate, as the price of democracy is vigilance.  Our credit unions not only manage our savings, but also control substantial accrued 'wealth'; retained earnings is an asset held/owned in common by all members. This is community property.  

Our organizations do not 'belong' to the managers and directors. When there are big choices to make members should be consulted. Members must not only think about their own accounts and transactions, we all have a stake in the community organizations that we have jointly created over time and organizations that ought to be looking out for us as we move forward. 

CCEC welcomes input from our members on the evolution of the credit union system and how we may play our part.  Feel free to listen into this podcast with Ross Gentleman and Tammy Lea Meyer. 

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On behalf of the board, we are pleased to announce that Tracey Kliesch will be joining CCEC Credit Union as our General Manager as of May 15, 2016. Tracey is coming to CCEC after more than 12 years at Vancity in both operations and community investment. 

“It’s an honour and pleasure to welcome such a strong advocate for co-ops and community organizations to CCEC,” remarked Tammy Lea Meyer, Co-chair of the Board of Directors. “As a champion of co-operative economics and an active leader in the community, we are extremely pleased to have her take on this leadership role at our credit union.”

Tracey has spent the last five years as a Community Investment Portfolio Manager, where she has focused on building meaningful partnerships with mission-based organizations, as well as managing the Youth Community Advisory Committee and online forum. Outside of her work with Vancity, Tracey teaches Cooperatives and Community Economic Development at BCIT, and has worked internationally to promote and strengthen the cooperative model and help build the cooperative movement.

Ms. Meyer continued, “CCEC stands for Community Congress for Economic Change, and as an agent of change, we promote social justice and economic democracy.  It is clear to us that Tracey shares this commitment.  Her proven managerial skills in the financial service industry and a broad understanding of the social profit sector give us confidence that she will represent the values of our members and member communities.  She is well prepared to take on this leadership role at CCEC.”

“I am very excited and deeply honoured to become CCEC’s next GM and I look forward to stewarding the credit union’s continued success,” said Ms. Kliesch. “I have had the pleasure of serving community members in Squamish, Vancouver, East Vancouver and Burnaby for over 12 years with Vancity and look forward to continuing that work in support of CCEC’s members and community organizations. I look forward to working with the Board, our managers, our union and staff to continue to build an organization that is sustainably successful and true to our founding values. I am proud to take the helm of this local, autonomous and independent credit union that so clearly lives and advocates for cooperative values.”

Ms. Kliesch will be replacing Ross Gentleman who is retiring after leading the credit union for three years, having been an active volunteer and contributor for over 35 years. Although he will be missed as GM, we expect he will continue to volunteer in some capacity.

CCEC Credit Union provides financial services to non-profits, co-ops, social enterprises and progressive small businesses, and to individuals affiliated with these community organizations.  As a community development credit union, CCEC has worked with many projects associated with housing, childcare, health, environmental stewardship, gender equality, and free expression.


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