General History of Community Health Centres

Community Health Centres (CHCs) are non-profit organizations that offer a range of coordinated, multi-disciplinary primary health care and related services to their community, with an emphasis on one or more distinct priority groups for whom services are specifically designed.

CHCs are sponsored and managed by community boards that involve members of the community and others who provide health and social services.

Ontario’s first community health centers were started in the 1960s and began to receive funding from the Ministry of Health in the early 1970s. The CHC movement received a strong boost in 1972, when the Hastings Report endorsed CHCs as a good model for primary care and health promotion. By the mid-1970s a pilot CHC Program was set up at the Ministry to support the 10 urban health centers then in existence. In 1982 the CHC Program was established as an ongoing Ministry program. Today the Community Health Centre Program is an established program of the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, which provides full funding for approved programs.

CHCs operate under the principle that people’s health is influenced by social and physical environment, employment, education and housing, as well as access to appropriate and effective health care. CHCs take into account the specific characteristics and risk factors associated with the distinct priority groups and plan care accordingly. CHCs believe that people are healthier when they have a sense of belonging and purpose.

CHCs offer a comprehensive range of services that are coordinated at the individual level through case management and are integrated with the system of health and social services in the community. CHCs regard health in a broad community and family context and emphasize improvement of health through health promotion and illness prevention activities. Our work is framed by a shared Model of Health and Wellbeing that positions health as a state of complete physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being. This model acknowledges that health problems are also caused by social inequality and disadvantages that affect access to resources.

The Association Of Ontario’s Health Centres (AOHC) logo

The Association Of Ontario’s Health Centres (AOHC)

Queen West-Central Toronto Community Health Centre is a member of The Association of Ontario’s Health Centres (AOHC), Ontario’s voice for community-governed primary health care.

AOHC represent 111 community-governed primary health care organizations. Its membership includes Ontario’s Community Health Centres, Aboriginal Health Access Centres, Community Family Health Teams and Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics. We share a strong commitment to advance health equity and recognize that access to the highest attainable standard of health is a fundamental human right.

CHC Model of Health of Wellbeing

CHC’s and its Association share a strong commitment to advance health equity and recognize that access to the highest attainable standard of health is a fundamental human right.

Diagram of The Association Of Ontario’s Health Centres (AOHC)