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New co-ops will open doors to income and protections for racialized communities

CANADA, March 31 - Racialized people living in Surrey and area will soon be to able access new opportunities – and protections – through a $987,000 provincial grant to Solid State Community Industries.

“Co-ops are a powerful tool that help disrupt income inequality and advance racial equity, providing racialized communities a shared ownership that empowers their collective voice,” said Megan Dykeman, Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development and Non-Profits. “This grant is a great example of how we’re innovatively working with non-profits to open the doors to opportunity that racialized people need to pursue safe and meaningful employment.”

Racialized people, especially new Canadians, can often be employed in working-class industries and on a contractual, casual or “under-the-table” basis, which can result in precarious employment and a lack of protection from unsafe work environments. With this three-year grant, Solid State will help racialized migrant people build and launch 15 co-operative enterprises in non-traditional areas, focused on working-class and in-demand services, such as cleaning, delivery and laundry services.

“We know that racism is real and its impacts widespread. For racialized communities it can often mean being denied equal opportunities and protections,” said Mable Elmore, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives. “By working together with innovative organizations like Solid State, we are making our province a safer, more equitable and more inclusive place for British Columbians from all walks of life.”

With this grant, Solid State will bring people together, providing in-class training, workshops, strategic planning, mentorship and coaching needed to create durable enterprises that offer living-wage incomes to owners and employees. Once its enterprises are launched, these co-ops will remain part of Solid State’s larger supportive network and will be able to draw on their larger organizational networks and resources.

"This support is a critical step forward for Solid State as we develop a solidarity economy built on durable, equitable jobs here in Surrey,” said Becky Bair, co-director, Solid State Community Industries. “We could not be more energized about extending our work to create these 15 new co-ops and are excited to start working with so many driven, skilled and compelling new colleagues."

The $987,000 provincial grant to Solid State programs comes from the Canada- British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement. Under the agreement, the Province receives more than $300 million each year to fund employment services and supports, including those provided through the 102 WorkBC centres throughout B.C.


Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation –

“A co-operative approach is an excellent model for building new economic relationships. Co-ops that are designed and led by racialized people help identify gaps in the marketplace and bring new players into the labour market. Working creatively and co-operatively makes training and employment opportunities more accessible for all British Columbians and builds a stronger B.C. for all.”

Bruce Ralston, MLA for Surrey-Whalley –

“Solid State is helping people in our community to feel supported and empowered to build a future for themselves and their families. This co-op model is offering racialized people in Surrey-Whalley the tools they need to participate fully in B.C.’s economy in a way that feels safe and secure. I am looking forward to seeing all the great work that comes out of this grant.”

Anita Patil Huberman, president and CEO, Surrey Board of Trade –

"The Surrey Board of Trade congratulates Solid State Community Industries on this grant to create co-op enterprises, which will be a beacon of economic inclusion to create new businesses and jobs for racialized migrant individuals. The unique business model of co-op enterprises will enable shared ownership and collective decision-making to work together to realize common economic, social and cultural aspirations."

Elvy Del Bianco, director of co-operative and government relations, BC Co-operative Association –

“Establishing a co-operative can be challenging, especially for racialized newcomers and other equity-denied groups who face additional challenges, such as language and cultural barriers, poorly paid precarious employment or unsafe work environments. Through their professional and patient support that speaks directly to the needs and capacities of the people they work with, Solid State is an agent of economic and social integration, creating possibilities for communities to collectively build equity.”

Learn More:

For more information about Solid State Community Industries, visit: