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What is a CHC?

CHCs are the only primary health care model in Ontario that, under one roof, combines primary health care services with a wide range of other health promotion and community development services.

They are also the only primary health care in Ontario that focuses on the social determinants of health. Interprofessional teams respond to people’s individual health issues but they also create programs and services that reduce social and environmental problems harming health in the communities they serve. All services are carefully tailored to respond to the diverse needs of the many different communities being served.

What’s more, CHCs provide a very integrated model of care by working in partnership with other social service, mental health and addiction agencies as well as other community-based organizations. And increasingly services are integrated and coordinated with the acute and long-term care system.

The effectiveness and sustainability of CHCs' services is based on a very high level of engagement of the communities being served. Each of the 73 centres is governed by a board made up of clients, community members, health providers and community leaders. This enables health services to be more easily oriented towards what community members identify as their most important needs.

In some communities, anybody who registers as a client can access the programs and services of the local Community Health Centre (CHCs). In most cases, centres identify priority populations – communities who have traditionally faced barriers accessing health services and programs. Some of the priority populations for CHCs include seniors, people with disabilities, youth, Francophones, Aboriginal Ontarians, low-income individuals and families, immigrants, as well as underserved rural populations. Some centres also place an emphasis on serving populations who face discrimination because of race, language, culture and sexual orientation.

Ontario’s Community Health Centres serve over 110 communities throughout Ontario. Altogether there are 73 centres and most of these centres run satellites which extend their geographic reach.

In 2004 and 2005 the McGuinty government announced the largest expansion ever in the history of Community Health Centres. A total of 49 new centres and satellites were created, joining a vibrant network of existing CHCS as well as ten Aboriginal Health Access Centres (AHACs). AHACs are sister CHCs which provide Aboriginal populations with culturally appropriate health care. When the expansion is totally complete, 493,800 Ontarians will be served by CHCs and AHACs. But that still means less than four per cent of Ontarians can access CHC or AHAC services.

Sandy Hill Community Health Centre

221 Nelson StreetLGBT Flag
Ottawa, ON  K1N 1C7
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All contents copyright © 2007 Sandy Hill Community Health Centre, Inc.