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Community Health Centres (CHCs) have been around for over forty years. But they’ve always been a little ahead of their times.   

They were inspired by the ideas of Tommy Douglas’ original vision for Medicare. Douglas hoped that as it evolved our health care system would focus more on keeping people well – not just treating them when they get sick.  

It’s been a tough road getting the health care system to make this shift. But CHCs started as small pilot projects and have nimbly been able to put many of Douglas’ ideas into action.

What makes CHCs unique?

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.


Every One Matters. - A booklet showing how Ontario’s Community Health Centres are one of the best ways to keep Ontarians – and the communities where they live – healthy and strong.  (PDF)   (version française )

Ontario's CHCs: Addressing Ontario's great health divide - A report for Ontario’s political parties, LHINs and provincial health care decision makers that details how the current government’s 2004-2005 decision to expand access to Community Health Centres has yielded such positive results. The report also recommends a goal that by 2020 Ontario’s Community Health Centres, as well as Aboriginal Health Access Centres, should serve at least a million people living in Ontario. (PDF)  (version française

Who We Are and What We Do- A booklet showing that CHCs provide a model of care that offers a huge promise and potential for all Ontarians as it is especially effective at providing care for Ontarians who have traditionally had difficulty accessing primary health care. (PDF)   (version française)

Ontario's CHCs: Every One Matters. - A video for community leaders across Ontario, which shows Community Health Centres in action. Our hope is that as more Ontarians learn about Community Health Centres’ secret to success, they’ll work together with their LHINs and the provincial government, to ensure their neighbourhood or community can access the benefits. 

To view the video on YouTube, please click here. To download it to your own computer, please click here.

Fact Sheet: Ontario's Community Health Centres: Just the Facts - PDF   (version française)

Fact Sheet: CHC Frequently Asked Questions - PDF   (version française)

Fact Sheet: The CHC Model of Care - PDF   (version française)

Fact Sheet: Expanding care to northern and rural Ontario - PDF   (seulement dipsonible en anglais)

Contact Us

Association of Ontario Health Centres
500-970 Lawrence Ave W
Toronto, ON M6A 3B6