Edgar transitions to a co-operative

9 December 2021

By Edgar

Category: News

Québec City, December 9, 2021 – The Edgar translation firm, renowned throughout Quebec for its commitment to quality, announced today that it is becoming a worker co-operative following the collective purchase of the business by its employees.

From its humble beginnings in 2006 in an apartment on Grande-Allée in Québec City, Edgar has grown to fill an office on Chemin Sainte-Foy in Québec City and another in the heart of the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough in Montréal. As he considered the future of the business, Mathieu Foltz, president and founder of Edgar, felt it only appropriate to transfer the business directly to the capable team of professionals who form the heart and soul of the company.

An internal transition had been in the works since 2019, but the co‑op project officially kicked off in the spring of 2021. An interim committee was formed and quickly set to work to make this vision a reality. Its members included some of Edgar’s most experienced employees, most of whom had been with the company for over a decade.

In the summer, the committee began the search for an executive director who would embody the social and collective values of the new enterprise. It didn’t take long to find Pascal Brulotte, former executive director of Patro de Lévis, who was more than ready to take on this new challenge. Brulotte came on board in late August to assist Foltz and the interim committee with the transition before assuming his day-to-day leadership duties.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of this exciting project,” says Brulotte. “We have an amazing opportunity to inspire a whole generation of entrepreneurs and new business owners with the message that together, we have the power to do things we could never have dreamed of doing alone.”

The founding meeting took place on November 1, and the sale was finalized in early December. The inaugural board of directors will be elected and formed in February.

The Co‑op’s clients, large and small, can expect the same high level of service as always. The new structure will have no impact on the business’s day-to-day operations or goals. Its guiding principles remain the same: quality and training. Edgar is known for its rigorous screening test for applicants and strict quality assurance standards (for example, all translations are revised, regardless of the intended purpose, length of text, or the translator’s experience). François Lavallée, author of the reference work Le traducteur averti, directs the business’s comprehensive internal training program.

Throughout the summer and fall, a number of committees were formed (strategic orientation, human resources, recruitment, web and social media, training, etc.) to ensure employees have a voice in the direction of the new co‑op. “Our colleagues were more than willing to roll up their sleeves and pitch in,” says Julie Masse, chair of the interim committee. “It’s motivating and inspiring to work hand-in-hand to grow a business and build a model that we all care about.”

With over 60 members, the Edgar Co-op is among the top five largest worker co‐operatives in Quebec, thanks in large part to support from three major financial partners: Desjardins Capital, Investissement Québec and the Caisse d’économie solidaire Desjardins. “Our institution is particularly proud to accompany Edgar through its transition from private company to co‑operative,” says Marc Picard, CEO of the Caisse d’économie solidaire Desjardins. “These sixty‑some translators are in an excellent position. They have the opportunity to leverage their expertise in a well‑structured organization to take over the company that employs them and secure its future.”

Mathieu Foltz is nostalgic as he reflects on the past 15 years: “When I founded Edgar in 2006, I had no idea that this company would become one of the largest translation firms in Canada. I had a simple goal: build an environment where talented creatives could flourish and we could do things differently. Over the years, I have been inspired by the passion and drive of a team of partners who never cease to amaze me. That’s why, a few years back, I refused multiple opportunities to sell the company and decided to transfer it internally instead. I wanted to keep ownership in Quebec and allow our professionals to pursue their mission with total freedom. Today, I’m passing the torch, not just to a handful of individuals as I had envisioned in 2019, but to all of Edgar’s employees, and that makes me even prouder.

“Thank you to everyone who believed in Edgar from the very beginning, when success was anything but guaranteed, and to everyone who supported me on this adventure. You have been my sole source of inspiration for all these years. I also want to thank the interim committee members (Julie Masse, Sophie Martineau, David Fortier, Laurent Lavallée) from the bottom of my heart. They dove headfirst into an admittedly crazy endeavour: building one of Quebec’s largest worker co‐operatives from scratch in just a few months! That’s what I call doing things the Edgar way! I wish the Co‐op nothing but success as it begins this new chapter!”

The Co-op would also like to thank Manu Volaco for their hard work and invaluable contribution to getting the ball rolling in the first few months of the project.

In a world where advances in machine translation have fooled some people into believing that translation is a waning profession, the Edgar Co‑op team proves every day that nothing beats the human brain when it comes to producing clear and effective texts that enhance the image and messages of the public and private clients who call on their services. In fact, the first thing the Co‑op will be doing is ramping up its recruitment efforts to meet the soaring demand for its services.

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