In the first week of December, the Patients First Act became law in Ontario. In the Act, “the promotion of health equity and development and implementation of health promotion strategies” is added to the mandate of Ontario’s 14 Local Health Integration Networks. To better imagine what this mandate could look like in action in primary health care, we’re bringing you stories about health promotion programs and health equity initiatives from AOHC member centres across the province.
Towards the Best Possible Health and Wellbeing for Everyone
Decades of colonialism and oppression have taken a terrible toll on the health and wellbeing of Indigenous people. Many struggle with depression and anxiety or suffer from chronic disease; in some communities, Type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic proportions.
The latest Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW) national report is a scathing indictment of our collective inability to address one of the greatest issues of our time – namely, the widening gap between the growth of the Gross Domestic Product and the wellbeing of everyday Canadians. In the span of just six years, this ‘health divide’ increased from 21 per cent in 2008 to more than 28 per cent in 2014.
On November 6th, 1986 Ontario’s provincial government enacted the French Language Services Act. The Act confers Francophones with the right to receive provincial government services delivered in French, notably in the 26 designated areas.
The Stairs, a Toronto-shot documentary that presents a raw and honest picture of harm reduction efforts in the city’s Regent Park neighbourhood, is screening now at the TIFF Lightbox.
Since the early 1990s, Women’s Health in Women’s Hands (WHIWH) Community Health Centre has been putting people and communities first with its focus on issues of health equity, and a clear mandate to serve the unique health and wellbeing needs of women from African, Caribbean, Latin American and South Asian communities.
While attending a national conference commemorating the 50th anniversary of medicare a few years ago, I had the good fortune to have dinner with an elderly couple who were but a handful of doctors that broke rank from their peers to support Tommy Douglas’s vision for public health care in Canada. When asked why they did it, their immediate response was: “It was the right thing to do.”
Give a kid a nutrition lesson in a classroom, and he might forget it later that day. Teach a kid to cook nutritious meals he likes to eat and share with friends, and those lessons might just last a lifetime. Involve a kid in how those lessons are taught? That helps to create a lifelong sense of purpose and wellbeing. And that’s the principle that drives health promotion in the seven Toronto Community Health Centres that run a program called Guys Can Cook! (GCC).
West Nipissing Community Health Centre (CHC) is celebrating a major milestone – the grand opening of its new building in a former school. This bilingual centre is one of more than 20 AOHC members that provide French-language services to Franco-Ontarians across the province. West Nipissing CHC has been serving people and communities in Sturgeon Falls since 2010, but up until recently it was located in the community’s former hospital.
To put people and communities first, AOHC members actively engage the people they serve, every step of the way planning, developing and evaluating health and wellbeing services and programs. In order to ensure a people- and community-centred approach, AOHC members are also governed by community representatives, which makes them distinct from other parts of Ontario’s primary care system.