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New designation expands available board training

August 5, 2021

There’s a new milestone achievement in co-operative governance. In June, 48 representatives from across the Co-operative Retailing System (CRS) received the new co-operative director designation (Co-opD.D).

Similar to the ICD.D designation for corporate directors, the Co-opD.D designation identifies and builds the skills and competencies needed to be an effective director at a co-operative.

“While there are similarities in that all boards provide direction and oversight, there are needs and demands of a co-operative board that require targeted training,” said Sharon Alford, President/Chair of the Board of Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL). “A co-operative director certification elevates board governance training, creating a formal approach and consistency that can be used across Canada for the first time.”

The certification is offered by the Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) and issued by the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy. The CRS – made up of FCL and more than 160 local co-operatives governed by more than 1,000 directors – contributed extensively as subject matter experts through the development of materials and pilot of the initiative.

“As directors, we’re elected to represent our member-owners’ interests and trusted to responsibly manage millions of dollars for our local communities,” said Alford. “To build sustainable communities, it’s incumbent for us to understand what it means to be a co-operative, how to contribute to a strong and united federation, and the need to be both nimble and strategic in building our co-operatives for the future.”

The CRS launched an internal program for director development in 2015.