Baby Boomers are retiring. Here’s what Canada should do to put their businesses in employees’ hands — and build community wealth.

In January, US-based Taylor Guitars transitioned to 100% employee ownership — financed for the first time ever by a Canadian pension plan. Could the ESOP movement move north?

Why It Matters

In the next decade, nearly three quarters of Canadian small business owners will retire – businesses worth over $1.5 trillion. Most will look to sell. In a country where the gap between the rich and poor is widening, and could do so exponentially in the pandemic’s aftermath, experts say this transition provides a huge opportunity to share wealth with workers.

In early January, Aldo Bustos stood in a factory parking lot in El Cajon, California and learned that he was about to become an owner of one of the top guitar manufacturers in the world. 

Bustos is the day shift supervisor of the ‘neck division’ of Taylor Guitars, an American company that employs over 1,200 people and creates premium acoustic and electric guitars. He loves the “meditative” quality of the job, sanding the necks of the guitars as they pass through the production line. As a kid he grew up playing the air guitar. Now he and his colleagues build them and ship them to 60 countries around the world. 

Just after the holidays, the company’s co-founders, Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug, gathered together their California-based employees, and announced over a 30-foot LED screen that they would transition to 100 percent employee ownership.

Bustos and

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