TORONTO // VANCOUVER – June 10, 2021 – On Tuesday, June 8, the Public Health Agency (PHAC) of Canada announced $2.5 million in funding to boost the work of Community Health Centres (CHCs) in increasing vaccine confidence and uptake across Canada, with special emphasis on the continued roll out of COVID-19 vaccines.
The funding, which comes through PHAC’s Immunization Partnership Fund (IPF), will enhance outreach and engagement with underserved and marginalized groups across the country. It is being distributed among a partnership of five national and provincial CHC associations including the Alliance for Healthier Communities (Ontario), British Columbia Association of Community Health Centres, Canadian Association of Community Health Centres, Manitoba Association of Community Health, and Nova Scotia Association of Community Health Centres.
The federal grants recognize the deep experience of CHCs in supporting and working alongside marginalized individuals and groups, their strong relationships of trust in local communities, and their extensive work to date in responding to the pandemic across Canada. CHCs have done so not only through team-based primary care, but also innovative services and programs that address the broader spectrum of social challenges posing an increased risk to health and safety during the pandemic; factors such as transportation barriers, social isolation, food insecurity, precarious housing, and the compounding impact of social exclusion due to racism, exclusion based on sexual identity, language and other factors.
Collectively, initiatives mounted by the five CHC associations will lead to:
- Evidence-based tools, training, and supports for health care providers to counsel individuals on the importance of COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines, developed with a health equity lens to ensure they are culturally appropriate, anti-oppressive and trauma-informed.
- Tailored and evidence-based information to increase vaccine confidence and acceptance, with a particular focus on COVID-19 vaccines, including information as to where to access vaccine(s).
- Supporting innovative mechanisms and community-led initiatives that reduce and remove barriers and provide access to vaccination.
- Community-level communications and public engagement strategies to foster evidence-based dialogue around vaccines, and to address gaps in knowledge, attitudes and beliefs related to vaccination, with a particular emphasis on underserved or marginalized groups.
- Collection and dissemination of best practice knowledge among CHCs and other health and social system practitioners across Canada to ensure improved support for marginalized and vulnerable populations during future vaccination and immunization efforts.
“We’re grateful to the federal government for these resources and for acknowledging the critical role CHCs play in integrating health and social services in communities across Canada. The initiatives that these grants support will build on the success CHCs have had over the past year in addressing the health and social support needs of individuals and groups that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.” Scott Wolfe Executive Director, Canadian Association of Community Health Centres
"We must approach those who are hesitant about the vaccines with compassion and support. Only then can we work together to achieve herd immunity. The partnership with PHAC and other CHC organizations around Canada enables trusted CHCs in the community to make sure we achieve the promise of the vaccine program: a BC that has achieved herd immunity and can reopen safely."Piotr Majkowski, Board Chair, British Columbia Association of Community Health Centres
"The generous support we have received will allow MACH to carry out a multi-pronged community vaccination campaign; we look forward to connecting with various communities across Manitoba who have been deeply affected by the pandemic." Carly Nicholson Representative, Manitoba Association of Community Health “Alliance members in Ontario have been supporting communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 throughout the pandemic, with local, tailored approaches to testing, wraparound social supports, and most recently, information and access to vaccines. We very much appreciate this funding, and it will enable us to build on the successes of these community-led approaches that are based on trust and relationships that CHCs have established with the communities that they serve.” Sarah Hobbs Chief Executive Officer, Alliance for Healthier Communities
“NSACHC members have been providing timely, accessible, and people-centered primary care, health promotion and social services in various communities throughout Nova Scotia for over 40 years. This very generous grant will allow us to expand our outreach to do the important vaccination education work that has come to light during the COVID -19 pandemic.” Lorraine Burch Board Chair, Nova Scotia Association of Community Health Centres
FOR MEDIA AND OTHER INQUIRIES:
Jason Rehel Story Producer and Media Relations, Alliance for Healthier Communities Jason.Rehel@AllianceON.org; 416-817-9518 Valerie St John Executive Director, British Columbia Association of Community Health Centres firstname.lastname@example.org; 250-216-1691
Hillary LeBlanc Communications and Digital Media Lead, Canadian Association of Community Health Centres email@example.com Carly Nicholson Representative, Manitoba Association of Community Health firstname.lastname@example.org; 204-295-8267
Lorraine Burch Board Chair, Nova Scotia Association of Community Health Centres email@example.com; 902-275-3847