John Restakis – Curriculum Vitae

John Restakis
1585 15
th Avenue
Vancouver, BC

Employment History

Executive Director, BC Co-operative Association Jan. ‘99 – Present

Responsible for the operation and strategic development of BCCA, the umbrella organization representing the co-operative and credit union movement of BC. The primary focus of work is the development of BC’s co-operative economy through co-op development programs, co-op education and research, co-op technical assistance & training, government relations, and youth programming.

In addition, I have provided technical assistance and evaluation of development programs and policies for international co-op projects in Africa and Sri Lanka. Currently a member of the Canadian delegation providing assistance to Cuba in its transition to a co-operative economy.

Co–Founder and Co-ordinator

Bologna Summer Program for Co-operative Studies
University of Bologna June ’00 – Sept. ‘08

In my capacity as ED of BCCA I have been a leader for the promotion of co-op education and research into the development and operation of co-operative economies. In partnership with Vancity and the University of Bologna, I founded the Bologna Summer Program for Co-operative Studies, a unique international study program focusing on the co-operative economy of Emilia Romagna.

Senior Manager, Community Economic Development

Canadian Co-operative Association - Ontario Region June ’94 – Dec. ‘98

Responsible for the development and co-ordination of Community Economic Development policy and programs for the co-operative movement in Ontario. Was a key advocate for the rise of co-op development as a primary policy focus for the co-op movement in Ontario and nationally.

Senior Consultant, Alpha Consultants Inc. June ’91 – June ’94

Co-owner and founder of Alpha Consultants, a consulting firm specializing in adult and popular education, community economic development and issues concerning government and community relations in Ontario. Projects and clients included:

Ontario Fair Tax Commission – co-ordinated province-wide community involvement in the evaluation of provincial tax policy and the formulation of fair tax reforms for Ontario.

Select Committee on Ontario in Confederation – organized province-wide public consultations on the Meech Lake Constitutional Accord and authored a report on public attitudes and the consultation process.

Cabinet Committee on Free Trade – co-ordinated province-wide public hearings, town hall sessions and debates on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on behalf of the Ontario cabinet.

Director, Community Literacy Programs

Ontario Ministry of Education May ’88 – Nov. ‘91

As Program Director my responsibilities centered on the development of community-based literacy program for Anglophone and Native communities in Ontario. Duties included the creation and co-ordination of training programs for literacy workers and the development of popular education learning materials, including the use of oral history for adult literacy and popular education.

Native Training Consultant

Community Literacy Branch, Ontario Ministry of Skills Development Oct. ’87 – May ‘88

Designed and delivered popular education and adult literacy training for Native literacy programs across Ontario.

Lead Instructor, Adult Education

Adult Basic Education Unit, Toronto Board of Education Oct. ’87 – May ‘88

Responsible for the oversight and evaluation of adult literacy and second language programs for the Toronto Board of Education. Duties also included the provision of administrative support, training and supervision of adult literacy instructors.

Senior Manager
Literacy Training Project, Toronto Board of Education Feb. ’87 – July ‘88

Responsible for the co-ordination and delivery of literacy training for the Adult Basic Education Unit of the Toronto Board of Education. Established the Toronto Board of Education’s first comprehensive training program in adult literacy and popular education.

Senior Project Officer, Youth Employment Services
Ontario Ministry of Skills Development
Aug. ’86 – Feb. ‘87

Supervised the development of community-based continuing education projects for unemployed youth in Ontario.

School Community Relations Worker
Toronto Board of Education 1979 – 1985

Responsible for the organization of parent involvement in education issues at the provincial, municipal and local school levels; organized and staffed Ontario’s first province-wide coalition of parent groups, student organizations, teacher federations and school boards to campaign jointly on provincial education issues.

Community Organizer, Trainer & Fundraiser
Southwest Federation, Chicago
Citizen’s Action Project (CAP), Chicago 1973 – 1975

Campaign organizer with the Southwest Federation, a large grass roots citizen’s organization on Chicago’s south side. Also a trainer and fundraiser for the Citizen’s Action Program, Chicago’s foremost direct-action Alinsky organization.

Community Organizer

Greater Riverdale Organization, Toronto 1970 – 1973

Staff organizer for one of Canada’s pioneering direct action community organizations in Toronto’s Riverdale area.

Academic/Training History

Master of Arts, University of Toronto, 1988
Philosophy of Religion, Centre for Religious Studies
Graduated with Distinction

Teaching English as a Second Language, George Brown College 1986

Bachelor of Arts, University of Toronto, 1985
Specialist Degree in East Asian Philosophy, Sanskrit and Classical Greek

Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), Chicago, 1974

Current Academic & Research Roles

Instructor, University of Victoria
Co-operatives in Global Perspective

Advisory Committee, Centre for Co-operative & Community-Based Economy University of Victoria

Senior Research Partner, BC/Alberta Social Economy Research Hub (BALTA)

Steering Committee, MA Program in Community Development
University of Victoria


Books Humanizing the Economy – Co-operatives in the Age of Capital
New Society Publishers, 2010

The Co-op Alternative: Civil Society and the Future of PublicServices
Institute of Public Administration of Canada, 2001

Storylines, Oral Histories for Literacy
Ontario Ministry of Education, 1987

Papers/Reports The Co-operative City – Social and Economic Tools for Sustainability
BC Co-operative Association, 2011

Community in Crisis – A Roadmap to Repair
BC Co-operative Association, 2011

Co-operatives and the Wealth of Nations
C-operatives UK, Inaugural Fortnight Lecture, 2011

Evaluation of Livelihood Development Training -

Rebuilding and Strengthening Livelihoods in Post Tsunami Sri Lanka
Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA), Canadian Red Cross & Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), 2009

EEP Evaluation Study: An Evaluation of the Enabling Policy Program for Co-operatives in East Africa
International Co-operative Alliance & Canadian Co-operative Association, 2008

Enabling Health and Social Co-op Policy in BC
BC/Alberta Social Economy Research Hub, 2008

To Life, Health Co-operatives in Japan
Making Waves, 2008

Co-op Elder Care in Canada: A Call to Action
BC Institute for Co-operative Studies, University of Victoria, 2007

Defining the Social Economy: The BC Context
BC Social Economy Roundtable, 2006

The Economics of Social Change
Common Ground, July 2006

The Emilian Model: Profile of a Co-operative Economy
The Co-op Perspective,BC Co-operative Association, 2005

The Rise of Social Co-operatives - Social Co-ops and Social Care: An Emerging Role for Civil Society.
InterSector, Newsletter of the Canadian Co-operative Association. Volume 7, #3, Winter 2004

Government Restructuring and Implications for Civil Society - the Co-op Alternative
ICA Review, Vol. 91 no. 1, 1998

The Rise and Demise of the Parent Movement in Toronto
with Errol Sharpe and Kari Dehli
Social Movements/Social Change, Between the Lines and the Society for Socialist Studies, 1988

Films/Videos Civilizing the Economy
Part One: The Co-op Alternative
Part Two: Social Co-ops and Social Care

Getaway Films, 2004

Words and Power: Oral History and Native Literacy
Ontario Ministry of Education, 1996

Comment (0) Hits: 2455

SELF HELP CO-OPERATIVES: Co-operative Solutions for Citizen-Directed Services

A learning consultation to inform & support the transformation of [Cymraeg]

Social Services in Wales

John Restakis

Executive Director, British Columbia Co-operative Association, Canada

pic177Tuesday 26th June – Friday 29th June 2012

John Restakis is a Canadian expert who has promoted and commented on citizen-centred developments in Canada over the last 20 years – further details.

During his 4 day visit to Wales, John will meet Gwenda Thomas AM, the Minister for Social Services, and other Government Ministers and senior officials and Assembly Members. He will speak at the annual conference of the ADSS (Association of Directors of Social Services) on 'Co-operative solutions for social services - The power of reciprocity', and at a joint conference of the Wales Alliance of Citizen-Directed Services and Network 3 (Wales Council for Voluntary Action). He will be talking about Canadian and Italian experiences and exploring how we might promote citizen directed social support services in Wales at a range of events in Cardiff, Neath, Newport, Lampeter, Newtown and Llandudno (details below by event, or full programme PDF Cymraeg/English).

Other participants in these meetings include Jane Hutt AM (Minister for Finance and Leader of the House), Rosemary Butler AM, Adrian Roper (Cartrefi Cymru), David Smith (Wales Progressive Co-operators), Mick Taylor (Mutual Advantage), Rick Wilson (Community Lives Consortium), Neil Wooding (Public Service Management Wales), Jeff Hawkins, Age Concern (Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan) and Wales Progressive Co-operators, senior Social Services officers, trade unionists, and both Conwy and Neath & Port Talbot County Voluntary Councils.

To book places at one of the events, please use the contact details provided below.

Note: some events will need to give priority to local participants but don’t be put off from asking. We plan future activities and events so keep in touch.

More information about John's visit can be found on this web site shortly.

John Restakis M.A. John Restakis has promoted Community Development programmes – in both general and specific fields such as youth activities, literacy and co-operative development – for many years, in both Canada and the USA. He has provided technical advice and assistance for the promotion of co-operative projects in Africa, Sri Lanka and Cuba. He founded the annual Bologna Summer Project for Co-operative Studies in Italy and has published several books and papers and scripted films and videos on co-operative issues. His book 'Humanizing the Economy' (New Society Publishers, British Columbia 2010) is the standard work on Co-operatives in the Age of Capitalism.


26 June:

10.30am – 3.30pm: Neath & Port Talbot CVS, Ty Margaret Thorne, 17 Alfred Street, Neath, Neath Port Talbot, SA11 1EF 
 and hosted by the CVS. Reservations: email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone (01639) 631246. Details: Cymraeg / English

7.45pm - 9.00pm: Malpas Court, Oliphant Circle, Newport, NP20 6AD. Hosted by the Wales Progressive Co-operators & Malpas Ward Councillors. Reservations: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone (01633) 266781, or book on-line here. Details: Cymraeg / English

27 June:

12:30 - 1.30pm [Private Event - Assembly Members and support staff only Conference Room 21 - Details]

2pm – 3.30pm: Media Briefing Room (Senedd entrance), National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, CF99 1AA. Kindly hosted by Rosemary Butler AM and facilitated by Jeff Hawkins, Age Concern Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, and Wales Progressive Co-operators. Details: Cymraeg / English

Reservations: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Telephone 029 205 27180or book on-line here

7.45pm – 9.15pm: The Old Hall, University of Wales, Trinity St. David’s, Lampeter, SA48 7ED. Hosted by the Public Service Management Annual Summer School. Public welcome. Book on-line here. Details: Cymraeg English

Further Details: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone (01633) 266781

28 June:

1.45pm – 4.00pm: Hope Church, Dolfor Road, Newtown, Powys, SY16 1JD. Part of the Wales Alliance of Citizen-Directed Support Services and WCVA’s Network 3 Conference: "Co-operative approaches to social services in Wales", John Restakis & Mick Taylor. Chaired by Adrian Roper, Chief Executive, Cartrefi Cymru. Details: Cymraeg/English

Reservations: or telephone xxxWACDS

29 June:

1.30pm – 3.30pm: Crafnant Room, Venue Cymru, The Promenade, Llandudno, LL30 1BB. Facilitated by Conwy Voluntary Services Council & Wales Progressive Co-operators. Details: Cymraeg/English

Reservations: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone (01492) 534091

For further information & to reserve places at any of these meetings, please use the local contact point.

Comment (0) Hits: 3258

What can Co-operative Development learn from history?

As the Welsh Government considers a proposed ‘Co-operative Commission’ to help pave the way for innovative co-operative development in Wales, what lessons can history teach us?

With all the attention being given to the merits of the John Lewis employee model of co-operation, is it not time that we focus upon different co-operative models and the role that service user members of co-operatives can play?

Robert Owen (1771–1858) is considered the father of the co-operative movement and was indeed a great social reformer. However, Owen was a patrician who sought to organise self-help action for people.

If Owen inspired the co-operative movement, others – such as Dr William King (1786–1865) – took his ideas and made them more practical and workable. King believed in starting small, and realised that people would need to organise co-operatives for and by themselves.

King founded ‘The Co-operator’ a monthly periodical, giving a mixture of co-operative philosophy and practical advice about running a shop using co-operative principles. Even without the Internet the message traveled widely and quickly, especially where Chartists had tilled the ground.

Members running a shop, purchasing wholesale, and sharing what they called a surplus, distributed as a ‘divi’ according to purchases worked a treat, with some of the surplus used for co-operative education. With unadulterated food why would members want to shop anywhere else? No wonder such shops spread like wild fire, whilst Owen was in USA.

Thus we have the beginnings of the world wide consumer co-operative movement. This is quite distinct from worker or producer co-operatives where only the workers have a stake in the business.

In guiding our future thinking about the development of the co-operative movement in all areas, the patrician, versus the self-help model of voluntary association, is particularly helpful, especially with care co-operatives.

All co-operatives are defined by the fact that they grant ‘control rights’ to stakeholders and members. They are distinct from conventional non-profit distributing voluntary organisations, which are essentially defined by the constraint on profit distribution.

In the co-operative structure, it is the element of member control and the member ownership of the co-operative that defines both their culture and operation. They are 'in addition' rather than 'instead of' public services. Neither a quick fix, nor an opt out for the government's responsibilities.

As leading Canadian co-operative elder care expert John Restakis reminds us, where service users are also members, the operation of ‘control rights’ has the capacity to transform the user from being merely a passive recipient of care, to the potential for active engagement in the design, delivery and improvement of the service*.

The advantage of multi stakeholder co-operatives involving service users and workers is that social care becomes a shared outcome between caregiver and care receiver. This element is fundamental to the reform of social care systems.

To support this model of social care Wales Progressive Co-operators and Cartrefi Cymru have arranged for Jean-Pierre Girard, a leading practitioner from Quebec, to visit Cardiff on 7th and 8th February 2012 to amplify the importance of reciprocity, accessibility and accountability^.

This will celebrate UN Year of Co-operatives 2012 by The Co-operative Cymru/Wales, Public Health Alliance Cymru and the Welsh Food Alliance who are funding his visit.

It will also support an ‘Inquiry process’ and contribute to the long-term success of the proposed ‘Co-operative Commission’.

David Smith

  • Humanising the Economy’ New Society Publishers ISBN 978-0-86571-651-3

^ Details can be found at

Comment (0) Hits: 1824

Ministers urged to shake up care for elderly

Premium Article !

Your account has been frozen. For your available options click the below button.


Premium Article !

To read this article in full you must have registered and have a Premium Content Subscription with the The Scotsman site.


Registered Article !

To read this article in full you must be registered with the site.

Sign In


By Eddie Barnes, Political Editor, the Scotsman, 29th June 2011

A MAJOR Scottish Government commissioned report will today call for the break-up of the bureaucratic empires governing health and social care, having concluded that Scotland's public services are "patchwork", "outdated" and "producer-led".

Government-led action "often results in top-down, producer and institution-focused approaches where the interests of organisations and professional groups come before those of the public", the report says. Instead, there needs to be more work done to involve people in the way services are run.

The system also fails to empower people to do things for themselves, which fosters a dependency culture, it says. Ministers should ensure a fundamental rethink of the way the public sector works with voluntary and private providers, it adds.

Comment (0) Hits: 1995

Welsh group


Now is the time to do so. With every main political party now supporting Co-operation and Mutualism there has never been a more important time for informed debate and exchange required between active progressive Co-operators.

We are:

  • Independent, voluntary, self financed network with an open membership, committed to equalities and internationalism
  • Passionate about the practical application of Co-operative values and principles over our 40 year history
  • Committed to an informed non party political public debate and democratic engagement
  • Dependent upon the expertise and valued contribution of our members for our effectiveness

Our future work includes:

  • Creating a bridge between people who share our values and principles, but have not thought of the Co-operative way forward
  • Strengthening the role of lay members and effective accountability mechanisms in retail Co-operative Societies,
  • Connecting sustainability, member participation, with social and economic justice and co-operative performance
  • Sharing ideas that work across the Co-operative Movement, including role of Co-operative public service delivery models, in strengthening citizen directed services
  • Understanding how we learn from differences across the UK and internationally.


If you wish to contribute views about future activities in the Wales branch. please contact:

David Smith, Joint Secretary,
National Federation of Progressive Co-operators
Anderley Lodge, 216 Stow Hill, Newport, NP20 4HA
T: (01633) 266781

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Comment (0) Hits: 2194

Regional Boards

This page is to enable exploration of the use of this site structure for other Regions

Comment (0) Hits: 3504

Site Guide for co-operators

Welcome to this site. It may be used as a simple "Blog" to discuss policies etc, with items contributed by any member of the team, who may also add comments as desired. You will be able to be notified if a colleague comments on your piece, and other pieces/ categories if you "subscribe" to them (under construction). At present, items in the top categories and all comments on visible items, will be seen by Public visitors.

It is built using a Content Management System which makes it very easy for authorised people to add and edit papers and other documents. When logged-in you will see an Edit icon over each article you can edit, showing a yellow pencil on a pad. Click this and you can modify the text and layout using the simple Editor window, then save.

You need to know that documents ("Articles") on the site may be put into a structure for ease of "filing", but this structure may be re-arranged by the Administrator. You may move an Article to a different Category, or sub-Category, while editing it. All Categories can be shown to the Public, or not, when they have been Published; before then, you can still see them when you are logged-in, showing a blue pencil on the edit icon.

If articles in the top level are displayed, articles in the sub-categories can still be hidden from the Public if desired.

The current structure of main and sub-categories is as follows:


----- Organisations

----- Wales

.............. Wales cat 1

.............. Wales cat 2

Report back



---------------- Read more --------------

This function tidies the Front Page by allowing you to display only the "abstract" or introduction to articles, so that several may be fitted on to the page. While editing the article, place the cursor after the introduction and click the Read More button below the editor window, and a red dashed line appears. When the page is saved and displayed, this translates to a break in the text plus a Read More button on the page. Some fiddling may be necessary to achieve a tidy appearance on the Front Page!

Comment (0) Hits: 2275

Page 6 of 7

Hilda Smith, feminist and co-operator

Hilda Smith, MBE - ‘To hope, to dare and do’.

Hilda Smith, a distinguished feminist and co-operator, died recently aged 94. Born and raised in Burnley, she started work at 14 earning six shillings a week in a sewing factory.

Active in the feminist, co-operative and labour movements for over 50 years, her relentless commitment to social and gender equality stands out as an example of selfless commitment to the wellbeing and welfare of others. Hilda constantly fought for the things that she believed in, she was practically minded, compassionate and stoical in her determination.

Hilda started her political career in 1958 serving her apprenticeship in Woking Co-operative Womens Guild. In 1963 she was elected to the Political Purposes Committee of the influential Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society (RACS), becoming its first and only female chair within a short space of time. RACS was the only Society directly affiliated to the Labour Party. She used her influence to ensure that the voice of ordinary women and their families was heard by the Labour Party and Government, with easy access to Labour Ministers and Prime Minsters.

For Hilda, the 'personal was the political'. As a women who entered formal education in her mid forties, Hilda knew from experience that access to social, educational and economic opportunities was a key issue. She worked alongside prominent women MPs and trade union leaders on the National Joint Committee of Working Women (NJC), to bring about the introduction of the Equal Pay Act in 1970, the Sex Discrimination Act in 1975, and the formation of the Equal Opportunities Commission, who took steps to bring this to the fore.

As a patient in a TB sanatorium from 1947 to 1950, Hilda understood the importance of preventive health. She contributed extensively on health policy issues and chaired an NJC national working group which produced a comprehensive ‘Health Care for Women’ policy document (1977), (Virago). As a former nurse and as a social worker, Hilda contributed extensively to the NJC’s evidence to Government inquiries. including the Seebohm Committee (1969), the Finer Commission on Single Parent Families (1974), and the NHS Royal Commission (1979). She championed new and neglected issues and, in 1982, authored an NJC food policy statement which recommended developing a Government policy on food and nutrition to build a national approach to healthy eating. .

Throughout, she was never concerned with courting popularity. In 1981, against wider conventional opinion she supported a National Minimum Wage campaign because she knew this would help millions of women.

In 1990 she received a Shadow Ministry for Women award for “her lifetime, particularly within the Co-operative Movement, fighting for equality for women and for their full representation at all levels of the Labour Movement”.

Her meticulously-kept NJC papers and encouragement led Labour historian Christine Collette to take a fresh look in her book, the ‘Newer Eve’, at what was called the ‘second wave of feminism'.

On retiring to Wales, Hilda continued her work as Health Convenor for the Fawcett Society. She was very active for another 26 years and was awarded an MBE in the 2013 Honours List for “services to frail and vulnerable people”.

It is hard to measure the impact of Hilda Smith upon the way in which we have become committed to equality over the last 40 years. Her quiet determination and relentless passion helped to improve the lives of many people who will never know her name or understand her contribution. She lived life with purpose and with passion to deliver a greater vision of a fair and just society, and helped to make this world a better place.

David Smith

Hilda is survived by her sons Peter and myself, three grandchildren and nine grandchildren

Hilda Smith, born 10 February 1919, died 27 March 2013


Go to top