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    • #8232
      John KortramJohn Kortram

      1. Is your co-operative’s governance viewed as legitimate? How do you know?
      Legitimacy is recognized by our board as key to our success. We believe to be successful in that respect judging by the support we receive for motions we bring to our AGMs.
      2. What practices do you use to build, measure, or maintain legitimacy?
      We maintain our legitimacy by means of a conscious and thorough cognitive process whereby we include internal as well as external subject matter expertise. This includes dedicated education and input from members. Member input is included through advisory groups. We apply a well planned communication process, in person, interactive and timely, and we use the insights we gain to enhance.

    • #8254
      Janet TaylorJanet Taylor

      Thanks for sharing John.

      1. I believe our governance is viewed as legitimate. We engage a group of Owner-members to be more deeply involved with the governance of our credit union which gives them greater knowledge and influence. It’s one way we can better know what our Owners want and need by hearing their representative voices on a regular basis. These representatives are very good at challenging the board and management because they are better informed than an Owner who just comes to us for their banking business.

      2. Our Owner Representative structure helps us build legitimacy. The Board and management stay engaged with our Owner Representatives throughout the year. As an organization we are also very good at responding to feedback from Owners. Last year we made the decision to change the way one of our branches operates; changing it from a full-service location to “by appointment only” for meetings. Before making that decision though, we engaged with a group of local stakeholders including Owner Representatives and community members. The decision wasn’t popular because that small community is seeing a significant decline in both population and businesses. Following our announcement and at the request of our Owners members of the Board and management held a town hall session to further discuss the issue. It has been a year since the change and while some Owners have moved their accounts to another financial institution, most have remained with the credit union and the amount of business they are doing with us has increased. They are finding that they can receive the same or better value at the branches they now frequent.

    • #8269
      Jen BudneyJen Budney

      Great comments folks. Janet, Libro seems to do such a good job of maintaining its legitimacy. I’m wondering if you could tell us a little bit about what drives this focus on member engagement and consultation? Are there individuals that consistently push for this, or has the structure you have created with the owner-members continued to ensure this?

    • #8275
      Tina NgoTina Ngo

      I believe legitimacy is key to the success of any company. If the staff and members don’t agree with your process, strategy or guidelines, there’s a high likelihood of failure. Thus, aligning and understanding the market that an entity serve and the people that contribute to the process and/or strategy are critical to forming legitimacy. When everyone are on the same page or understand the foundation, it easier to build on top of it. This is similar to always driving on the right or left hand side of the road analogy, depending on where you live. Having a basic understanding/foundation, help pave a roadmap to success and a process of legitimization.

    • #8290
      Jan O’BrienJan O’Brien

      Our credit union seek legitimacy through a number of channels starting with director elections where members have selected the directors recommended by the Nominations and Election Committee. Our annual general meeting is well attended and provides another forum where members can ask questions and challenge decisions. We also seek feedback from members through a number of different surveys and advisory committees. Hearing back from our members is a very important part of our culture. Occasionally, the Board and management have reversed a decision when the feedback from the members has pointed out a flax or lack of legitimacy. It is important to be able to recognize mistakes and transparently correct them.

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“I thoroughly enjoyed the Good Governance Matters course offered by Co-operatives First. The course provided a solid background on governance generally and specific examples of good governance practices in co-operatives. It is uncommon to find governance training specific to co-operatives so this was refreshing.”

Janet Taylor (Corporate Secretary)

Libro Credit Union

“The Good Governance Matters Course was a valuable course. I shared it with the [Arctic Co-operatives Limited] Senior Leadership Team. If it ever comes up again, I highly recommend others to take it.”

Mary Nirlungayuk (Corporate Secretary and Vice-President, Corporate Services)

Arctic Co-operatives Limited

“The online course, Good Governance Matters was very informative, easy to navigate and discussed issues relevant to our needs as a Board of Directors. This course is a great tool for boards to build their knowledge to become strong, strategic boards.”

Lori Sanders (President)

Sherwood Co-op

“This course has greatly increased my understanding of what good governance could/should look like and how each part (boards, management, members) plays a vital role in the co-operative’s success.”


“This course was highly enjoyable, and relevant to working in not only the co-op space, but with any group that needs to make decisions.”