CSEHub E-Bulletin - Vol 1 No 3 - December 06

Welcome to the third bulletin of the Canadian Social Economy Hub (CSEHub) for the National Research Program on the Social Economy (funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council). Over the next five years, the CSEHub will be sending out bulletins on a regular basis to provide updates on the work of the CSEHub and its Nodes.

First International CIRIEC Research Conference on the Social Economy: Call for Papers Online From October 22-24, 2007 in Victoria, BC, Canada, the Canadian Social Economy Hub will be hosting the First International CIRIEC Research Conference on the Social Economy. The title of the conference is “Strengthening and Building Communities: The Social Economy in a Changing World”. Conference participants will take part in sessions exploring the rapid and extensive changes associated with globalization, conflicting ideas about the roles of the State and the reconfiguration of communities. The conference will highlight the position of co-operatives, foundations, credit unions, non-profit organizations, and social economy enterprises in building and strengthening communities in a variety of contexts and cultures. Expected participants include researchers, senior practitioners and government officials (both elected and civil servants). The Call for Papers guidelines are now available on the conference website, as PDF downloads in English, French and Spanish. The deadline for submission of abstracts is January 31st 2007, and Early Bird registration ends on July 31st 2007. For more information, please see the conference website.

Telelearning Sessions a Success! With the goal of increasing access to information regarding the Social Economy beyond the borders of institutions and the Internet, CSEHub is organizing a series of phone-in lectures and discussion forums in French and English. The first English telelearning session, “Defining the Social Economy in Canada”, took place on October 26, 2006, and the first French session, which covered the same topic, took place on November 30, 2006. Both sessions focused on the challenges associated with identifying and characterizing the Social Economy, particularly within the Canadian context. Over fifty people took part in the first session, enjoying presentations from Marie J. Bouchard, Canadian Research Chair on the Social Economy, and Jack Quarter, Director of U of T’s Social Economy Centre; a lively and informative discussion followed. The second session featured Luc Thériault, sociology professor at the University of New Brunswick (Fredericton), and Monique Beaudoin, Ontario Regional Coordinator of the Canadian CED Network. Those who missed participating in these events can still benefit from the discussion; it is available for download as an mp3 file from the CSEHub website. For more information, please see the Social Economy Telelearning Sessions webpage.

Understanding the Social Economy Booklet Originally created as a Social Economy primer for politicians and the media, CSEHub’s new booklet, “Understanding the Social Economy: The Diversity of the Canadian Experience”, is now online. It is an excellent introduction to the Social Economy for both researchers and the public at large, with comprehensive explanations, definitions, and case studies of organizations who are active in the Social Economy in Canada. The booklet is currently available in English and will soon be available in French, and can be downloaded as a PDF file from the CSEHub website.

New Feature for CSEHub Website: Social Economy in the News CSEHub is now combing media outlets to bring forward the latest important items related to the Social Economy in Canada! Updated frequently, the webpage features links to articles from both the English and French language press. Articles are all related to key words such as “social economy”, “co-operatives”, and “aboriginal development”. Recent postings include a feature about self-reliant community economic development in Qikiqtarjuaq, and a new company car service offered by the Vancouver-area Co-operative Auto Network. Visit Social Economy in the News today and add it to your bookmarks!

September 21st Breakfast on the Hill On September 21st, 2006, Ian MacPherson, Rupert Downing, and Jean-Marc Fontan, all of the CSEHub, were the featured speakers at the Breakfast on the Hill lecture series. Called "D.I.Y. Society: Community support beyond government support", their presentation explained the ways in which the networks coordinated by CSEHub serve to enhance community commitments to coping with economic change. Approximately seventy people were in attendance, including 20 staff from the offices of Members of Parliament, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. The audience was attentive and provided a positive reception, taking the opportunity to ask questions of elaboration and explanation regarding the forms and functions of the Social Economy. The Breakfast on the Hill lecture series is an opportunity for active politicians to learn more about ideas and new concepts that influence the direction of public policy, and is held four times annually at the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, Ontario. Authorities in a realm of humanities and social science research are invited to give a talk, which is followed by a discussion period. The event is free for members of the media and Parliamentarians, and the public are charged a $10 entrance fee, which includes a continental breakfast. More information can be found on the website of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Social Enterprise Conference in January 2007 The Second National Canadian Conference on Social Enterprise will be taking place January 28 – 31, 2007 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Called “Building Social Enterprise”, the conference aims to provide an opportunity for those involved or interested in social enterprise initiatives to deepen their understanding of the field, to develop new and tangible skills relating to social enterprise development, and to explore emerging policy and sustainability issues in the field, as well as to provide an occasion for sector development through networking and mentorship building. The conference program features four distinct streams of inquiry: Early Stage/Social Enterprise Planning, Operations and Growth of Social Enterprises, Social Enterprise Series, and Social Enterprise Sector and Environment: Dialogue Series. There will also be special sessions, site tours, and social events that reflect the goals of the assembly. In addition, CSEHub will be presenting a workshop on the Tuesday afternoon of the conference, focusing on the research projects of the Suite as they relate to social entrepreneurship in Canada. For more information and to register for the event, please visit the website of Enterprising Non-Profits.

Coming Soon! Social Economy Suite Bibliography Each of the regional nodes of the CSEHub has contributed to a bibliography of Social Economy resources that will soon be available on the CSEHub website. Comprising of books and articles, as well as electronic information, the listing will prove to be a valuable research tool to anyone interested in the development and history of the social economy, as well as case studies and in-depth analysis of key concepts. Stay tuned to the CSEHub website for the launch.

Québec Summit on the Social Economy From November 16 – 17, 2006, Québec celebrated ten years of work on the Social Economy with a Summit and regional fairs of Social Economy organizations. The Summit of the Social and Solidarity Economy took place in Montréal, and was attended by delegates from all regions of Québec, as well as invited international guests. The aim of the Summit was to discuss the gains made in the last 10 years and plan for future goals. In addition to a welcoming address by Québec Premier Jean Charest, the event featured seminars on such topics as ethical consumption and the challenges of globalization. For more information, please visit the website of Québec social economy organization, Le Chantier.

CSEHub Montreal Board Meeting held in November The Canadian Social Economy Suite met in Montreal, November 13 and 14, in conjunction with the activities leading to the Quebec Summit on the Social Economy. It was the first in-person meeting since the announcement of the funding to the Northern and BC/Alberta nodes had been announced. The Board met to review the first year of the Social Economy funding from SSHRC and plan the activities of the National Hub for the next year. Over the next few months, the Hub will be concentrating on developing more learning resources for practitioners and increasing resources on the website. Nodes and the Hub discussed publication plans and how to ensure that there is an identity for the Suite when research findings are published. This year the Social Economy Research Nodes, partners and Hub will be involved in a number of major conferences including the CCEDNet conference in Newfoundland (April), “Co-operatives and Innovation: Influencing the Social Economy” in Saskatoon (May - Call for Paper is now online!), and the First International CIRIEC Research Conference on the Social Economy in Victoria (October). The Board discussed the challenges to the research brought about by the loss of supplemental funding from SSHRC and the cutbacks to practitioners' funds brought about by the government’s removing of funding for the Social Economy. The Portraiture Committee met to discuss the work of each node on mapping or portraying the Social Economy. It agreed on some common elements for each of the surveys currently underway for cooperatives. The Public Policy Committee established what research is needed to further public policy that creates an enabling environment for the Social Economy.

New websites for the Northern, the Atlantic, and the Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Northern Ontario Nodes The websites for several of the CSEHub Nodes have been redesigned and updated! Check them out by visiting the links below:

These sites can also be found through the menu at the right side of every page on the CSEHub website.

Impact on Social Economy from Federal Government Cutbacks During the last week of September, the Federal Government announced funding cuts that include $39-million which had been committed to creating economic opportunities in disadvantaged communities. In response to the cuts, a coalition of community non-profit associations from across the country has united and are citing the cuts as a major setback for non-profit community economic development programs. The coalition is calling for a review and consultation with stakeholders on how federal programs can be targeted to support community economic development. They are also requesting the creation of a federal ‘community lens’ to assess how each budget option adds up to impact community social and economic conditions. The Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet) has put out a press release detailing the negative impacts of that the Federal government’s actions, which is available on their website.

New Online Resource: Fast Facts on CED & Social Inclusion As part of their research, The Canadian CED Network’s Social Inclusion action research project asked practitioners to share tools and resources they found useful in developing integrated approaches to improving social and economic conditions. These have been compiled into an on-line, searchable toolbox that offers over 150 documents, guidebooks, videos, research reports, websites, and case studies in both English and French. The toolbox can be searched by title, keyword, author, format or topic. To search the toolbox and view other resources on CED and social inclusion, visit the website of the Pan-Canadian Community Development Learning Network.

An Achievement for the Social Economy: Microcredit Bank Wins Nobel Peace Prize On Friday, October 13th, the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Bangladeshi banker Muhammad Yunus and the microcredit institution he founded. The Grameen Bank is a microcredit institution that has been very influential and successful in providing the poor with economic and development opportunities. Small loans, most under $200, have been granted to millions of Bangladeshis, who use the seed money to start small businesses. These microloans are then repaid with small payments, which are collected at weekly gatherings of loan recipients. Such gatherings provide an opportunity for vital peer support among the loan recipients, 97% of whom are women. The Bank also provides education in skills such as entrepreneurship and literacy. In its citation, the Nobel Committee said “Every single individual on earth has both the potential and the right to live a decent life. Across cultures and civilizations, Yunus and Grameen Bank have shown that even the poorest of the poor can work to bring about their own development.” For more information, please see the Nobel Peace Prize website. Microcredit is a growing part of the Social Economy in Canada, with institutions such as the Alterna Savings Community Micro Loan Program and Access Riverdale Community Loan Fund, both in Toronto, providing financial services and support to community members.

Contact the Canadian Social Economy Hub Project Officer: Annie McKitrick secoord@uvic.ca This Bulletin will appear on a regular basis. To subscribe, send an e-mail to info@socialeconomyhub.ca

E-Bulletin Editorial Committee Lindsay Kearns Annie McKitrick Robin Puga