Last night, a couple of us from Wellesley went to a celebration of Ontario’s Community Health Centres (CHCs). The event featured displays from some of the 73 CHCs across Ontario and a video that highlighted the CHCs’ innovative practices and work to reach diverse populations in Ontario. Some of these practices include mobile units that travel to remote communities in northwestern Ontario, linguistic and culturally appropriate services for Aboriginal and Francophone communities, and social enterprises like a community laundry co-op. In addition to primary health care, CHCs also explicitly address the social determinants of health through programs like community kitchens and academic support for youth. They work toward health equity by designing services with and for health disadvantaged communities.
CHCs demonstrate the importance and potential of primary care as a driver of health equity. Their new report, Ontario’s Community Health Centres: addressing the great health divide, discussing the successes of CHCs and goals to expand their services, is available on the Association of Ontario Health Centres website.