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Posted December 3, 2012


Special United Nations International Year of Co-operatives Spirit Award Recipients Announced for Ontario

Guelph - Billions marked 2012 as the International Year of Co-operatives (IYC), and four in Ontario are being recognized for letting their communities know.

The Co-operators Group Limited, Florence Carbray of Kitchener, Sudbury Credit Union and Y’s Owl Maclure Co-operative Centre will receive special trophies at the Ontario Co-operative Association (On Co-op) IYC Gala at the Milton, Ont. Teatro Conference & Event Centre on Friday.

“This year was remarkable for the Co-op movement,” says On Co-op Communication and Events Manager Audrey Aczel. “The International Co-operative Alliance estimates that three billion people worldwide have greater economic security because of co-operative organizations. It’s a message we want to share not only in 2012 but beyond.”

Judges evaluated Ontario IYC campaigns on their abilities to reach new audiences, educate employees and members, strengthen co-operative organizations and create legacies.

The Co-operators Group Limited, a Canadian-owned insurance and financial services group (, made several large financial contributions to help co-operatives develop and expand. Additionally, it promoted IYC in its routine and special communication, and played a principal role in the Guelph Co-operative Network.

Florence Carbray, recognized as an individual contributor, is commended for helping create the the Cooperatives Enterprises of Central Ontario cluster to promote co-operatives and credit unions in the Kitchener- Waterloo area and elsewhere. The community development and property management co-ordinator of Country Hills Housing Co-operative Inc. led fundraising and production of an IYC parade float first launched at the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The Sudbury Credit Union Limited ( took the opportunity to help community cooperatives and charities and provide leadership to unite northern Ontario co-operative groups. It is recognized as a regional mentor.

Y’s Owl Maclure Co-operative Centre received a grant from the Community Foundation of Ottawa to install a commemorative public art project entitled Pillar of the Community in the city’s Morrison Park. The centre ( is a non-profit charitable organization providing day supports and services to adults with disabilities living in Ottawa. It was instrumental in the Ottawa Co-operative Cluster that unites promotion efforts of co-operatives and credit unions in the area, including through special events such as a co-op picnic.

Almost 200 leaders from co-operatives and credit unions across Ontario will participate in the IYC Gala tonight to mark the close of the special United Nations year. In addition to the awards ceremony, celebrations include a banquet, entertainment and a fundraising raffle and auction. Events start at 5 p.m.

The Ontario co-operative movement itself is composed of more than 1300 co-ops, with 1900 locations in 400 communities. Ontario co-operatives employ more than 15,500 people and are supported by a network of 49,000 volunteers.

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