Credit Union Leadership Program

Canada Development Education (DE) offered in Halifax and Vancouver in 2023

The International Centre for Co-operative Management at Saint Mary's University has brought something great to Canada and you're invited. This program is a highly participatory and rewarding experience that will build your professional knowledge and network on a local to global scale.

This five-and-a-half-day leadership program will renew and deepen your understanding and appreciation for the co-operative and credit union sector at a local, national, and international level. The program tackles the pressing challenges that credit unions face today. It focuses on the member-centred credit union enterprise model, combined with the importance (and potential) to create social, environmental and economic impact. We have integrated the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) into the CanadaDE program; this is a unique opportunity to learn about UN SDGs in the context of your credit union. 

Course Content and Facilitation

The facilitation team includes seasoned professionals - Tracey Kliesch (Co-Director of DE); Karen Miner (Saint Mary’s University, Canada); Carla Decker (IDB Global Federal Credit Union in Washington, DC, USA). Plus, subject matter experts are included as content providers, and a team of mentors (from Canada, Africa, Caribbean, USA) coach a team of participants through the program.

Who is the Audience for this Program?

Leave your "title" at the door during the program, but understand that CanadaDE is designed for individuals from the board level through to front line staff, with participants coming predominately from Canada, Africa, USA, and Caribbean countries. 

Why Do We have this Program in Canada?

While 2017 marked the launch of DE in Canada, the international network of programs has been going strong since the launch of the US program in the early 1980s. Active programs also exist in the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The launch of CanadaDE demonstrates leadership by Saint Mary’s University to facilitate connections within Canada and among a diverse, international network.

Your Path Towards an International DE Designation

Complete CanadaDE and continue on the path to the international designation (I-CUDE): CanadaDE will help you achieve the distinctive International DE designation (I-CUDE), awarded through the World Council of Credit Unions at their international conference each year. Follow this link for more information on the steps required to obtain the I-CUDE designation.

Upcoming Offerings

  • Halifax, NS, Canada: Sunday, June 4 to Friday, June 9, 2023  (program fee: $4250 + tax)
  • Vancouver, BC, Canada: Monday, July 17 to Saturday, July 22, 2023 (program fee: $4950 + tax). Attend CanadaDE and stay for World Credit Union Conference hosted in Vancouver July 23-26, 2023.

Thanks to CaribDE

Our partnership with CaribDE was a catalyst in the creation of CanadaDE.

Contact Us 

For more information on the program, contact 


Linda Bowyer, CEO, First Credit Union (Canada); Board Director, WOCCU & CCUA; Vice Chair, Board of Stabilization Central CU; CanadaDE 2022 Graduate

"The immersive, action-oriented nature of CanadaDE creates a one-of-a-kind experience that taps into the very soul of the co-operative movement. If you want to accelerate the evolution of an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) culture in your organization, there is no better program for you and your team.”

George Yashon Ombado, Executive Director, Africa Confederation of Co-operative Savings & Credit Associations (ACCOSCA)

“I recommend the CanadaDE program as a great immersion training to enhance credit union practitioners, leaders, and emerging leaders' understanding of the ethos and foremost object of the credit union model. When I took part in CanadaDE, I found the program’s application of our business model to provide solutions to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) to be outstanding. Furthermore, the cultural diversity within Canada and from selected participants from the Caribbean, USA, and Africa made the session enriching. Africa has since integrated the UN SDGs content into the Africa DE Program.”

Jeff Fero, Director of Marketing and Community Engagement, East Kootenay Community Credit Union (Canada); CanadaDE 2022 Graduate

"One of the most unique opportunities to learn as a professional, grow as a human being and experience true co-operative values as they are held by people across the world."

Charlotte Taylor, Executive Assistant, Atlantic Edge Credit Union (Canada); CanadaDE 2022 Graduate

"This program was incredible, and like nothing I've ever experienced before. Thanks to the value placed on intersectionality and the co-operative values, CanadaDE stands uniquely on its own in comparison to other educational and professional development opportunities. Participants leave this program changed for the better, and I believe each one of us will work even harder towards positive impacts for our members, organizations, communities, and the world as a whole."