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Co-operative strength amidst challenges a focus of Co-operators Annual General Meeting

Apr 6, 2023

GUELPH, ON, April 6, 2023 /CNW/ - Co-operators was thrilled to be celebrating together again for its 2023 Annual General Meeting (AGM) from April 3-5 in Toronto. At this event, 101 delegates representing 46 member organizations from across Canada assembled to discuss the organization's 2022 achievements and challenges, elect its Board of Directors, and gain insight into our 2023 to 2026 strategic plan.

Leader highlights:

During their AGM remarks, the chairperson of the Board, the president and CEO, and the Chief Financial Officer addressed delegates to highlight important milestones and challenges in the organization's journey and affirmed the importance to stay true to Co-operators purpose, vision, and co-operative identity.

"I firmly believe co-operatives are well-positioned to support our communities and the economy through difficult times," said John Harvie, Chairperson of the Board of Directors. "We are always getting better at working together to develop meaningful, collaborative, long-term solutions to complex challenges."

"From financial security, to taking climate action, to investing in a net-zero future – our long-term goals keep us focused on bringing our vision of being a catalyst for a resilient and sustainable society to life," said Rob Wesseling, president and CEO of Co-operators. "We know uncertainty isn't going away, yet I have no doubt the people in our co-operative will rise to the challenges and opportunities ahead. Being part of a co-operative and a strong national and international co-operative movement makes our community stronger."

"Our financial strength will allow us to accomplish our long-term goals while weathering the impact of economic downturns and climate change," said Karen Higgins, executive vice president and Chief Financial Officer. "It also provides our members and clients peace of mind that we will be there when needed most."

On the final day of the AGM, delegates received a presentation from Estelle Metayer, principal and founder of Competia, a competitive and strategic intelligence consulting agency. She reviewed how co-operatives can prepare to adapt and seize opportunities for growth considering the major trends that will affect organizations in the next five years.

Co-operators Board of Directors Updates
  • Co-operators welcomed four new directors elected to the board:
    • Michael Barrett (Ontario)
    • Brent Clode (Ontario)
    • Lorna Knudson (Saskatchewan)
    • Rod Wilson (Manitoba)
  • Directors Kate Hill (Alberta), Jim Laverick (Alberta), and Jim MacFarlane (Atlantic), were re-elected to serve another term. 
  • Co-operators recognized the service and contributions of the following retiring directors:  
    • Geri Kamenz (Ontario)
    • Rob Paterson (Ontario)
    • Collette Robertson (Saskatchewan)
    • Jocelyn VanKoughnet (Manitoba)
  • Due to mid-term resignations, two additional directors were recognized for their service:
    • Bill Kiss (British Columbia)
    • Gilles Colbert (Saskatchewan)
  • In addition, two new directors were also welcomed to the board:
    • Christie Stephenson (British Columbia)
    • Jennifer Uhren (Saskatchewan).
A focus on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA)

In addition to workshops on Climate Resilience and IDEA, for the first time in Co-operators history, a Truth & Reconciliation workshop was held at the AGM. The Board, delegates, and senior leaders were able to participate in a meaningful Indigenous learning session with Reconciliation Strategist, Tanya Tourangeau.

As part of an annual program to support the AGM host community, an AGM Community Donation of $5,000 was contributed to the Richmond Hill-based Black Women Professional Worker (BWPW) Co-op to support their vital community work. BWPW Co-op seeks to empower Black women entrepreneurs and professionals, with an emphasis on the agro-chain and food ecosystem, through peer-to-peer training, coaching, business development, and networking opportunities.

"What an incredible time of connection, cocreation and sharing we experienced with Co-operators and delegates," said Juliet 'Kego Ume-Onyido, co-founder and president of Black Women Professional Worker Co-op. "We are thankful for the opportunity to highlight how our co-op makes a difference in the lives of black and underserved women entrepreneurs and professionals. We greatly appreciate our partners in the co-operative movement."

About Co-operators

Co-operators is a leading Canadian financial services co-operative, offering multi-line insurance and investment products, services, and personalized advice to help Canadians build their financial strength and security. Co-operators has more than $58.2 billion in assets under administration. Co-operators has been providing trusted guidance to Canadians for the past 78 years. The organization is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. Achieving carbon neutral equivalency in 2020, the organization is committed to net-zero emissions in its operations and investments by 2040, and 2050, respectively. Co-operators is also ranked as a Corporate Knights' Best 50 Corporate Citizen in Canada. For more information, please visit:

SOURCE The Co-operators Group Limited

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