Wooden Desk with Open Laptops and Stationary

Tom Cooper

2022 Board Member Candidate

Tom Cooper

My connection to FirstOntario Credit Union follows family tradition: my grandfather, a steelworker, was a proud member of Stelco Employees Credit Union. I would be honoured to expand that contribution on FirstOntario's Board of Directors.

As Director of the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction, a collaborative organization formed to tackle unacceptable poverty levels, I've worked with government and community, advocating vigorously against predatory lending. I'm keenly interested in the intersection between climate change and income inequality. As co-founder of the Ontario Living Wage Network, I am thrilled that FirstOntario has certified as a Living Wage organization.

What can you specifically contribute to the Board?

  • Deep knowledge of community engagement practice, systemic barriers, policy advocacy and communication strategy
  • Helped launch financial literacy initiatives in Hamilton on the importance of tax-filing (HamiltonTaxHelp.ca a free service to empower low-income community members with financial problem-solving skills)
  • Worked with local and provincial governments to address the proliferation of predatory lending and helped establish Canada’s first municipal payday loan licensing regime
  • Worked closely with Credit Unions nationally on public policy initiatives
  • Responsible for budgeting and reporting to various institutional funding organizations
  • Intimately familiar with board governance and strategic planning processes

Educational/Professional Designations

  • Certification in Public Policy Analysis from the London School of Economics
  • Honours BAs in Political Science and History from McMaster University
  • Numerous anti-racism/anti-oppression and equity-focused modules

Work Experience

  • Director of a non-governmental organization, (Annual Budget approximately $300,000) with reporting requirements to operational steering committee and institutional funders
  • Community Development Coordinator at McQuesten Legal & Community Services
  • Formerly freelance columnist for Hamilton Spectator

Board and/or Committee Experience

  • Co-founder, Ontario Living Wage Network & Board Member at Living Wage Canada
  • Former Vice-Chair, Hamilton’s Housing Help Centre
  • Co-founder, ‘No Hate in the Hammer’
  • Hamilton Spectator Community Advisory Council
  • Mayor’s Task Force on Affordable Housing