The last quarter of 2015, and December in particular, was very productive for the HCCFC!
We are happy to welcome new members: North Shore Central Ambulance from Newfoundland and Labrador; Four Directions from Teulon, Manitoba; HandyCrew from Richmond BC, also Rainbow from British Columbia. We have also had the opportunity to work with new groups in BC and Alberta that are considering for formation of new co-operatives focusing on wellness, health and social services.
Following the introduction of the Hans Kai program to Vancouver Island by the Victoria Health Co-op in June, several groups are modifying the content, with the approval of NorWest Co-op, to meet their specific needs.
In November the Victoria Health Co-op held its first Co-op Wellness Fair with 33 short presentations on a wide range of topics. It also hosted a group visiting from the Korean Ministry of Health Insurance.
Hugh Nelson of YsOwl Maclure Co-op (Ottawa) represented the HCCFC at the evening celebrating the life and work of Mark Goldblatt, so much respected and missed by co-operators across the country. View Hugh’s presentation here. Hugh also represented the HCCFC at the Co-ops and Mutuals Canada’s Parliamentary Reception.
Doug Dowhows of Teamwerks (Thunder Bay) accepted the Spirit Award at the annual meeting of OnCo-op Association for outstanding work in the support of people facing multiple barriers to employment.
The Francophone Clinic in Alberta brought together a strong group to learn about health co-ops and about our programs. We took the first steps in planning full Hans Kai training for mid or late March. Meeting with Prairie Sky Housing Co-op and News-coop produced further interest in the HCCFC working with housing co-ops and possibly in hosting the training session.
We heard presentations on the work of Regina, NorWest, TeamWerks and Victoria Health Co-ops. We learned that Umbrella, Regina, MCHBs and Saskatoon Co-ops are planning to build on their years of expertise in serving immigrants, both government sponsored and those brought privately to Canada. Other HCCFC members are supporting groups in their communities that are working together to support immigrants.
At NorWest’s Youth Centre and Food Centre we learned how youth are engaged in the co-op sector and how to cycle to make smoothies. Really!
Immediately prior to the formal AGM Nigel Mohammed of Assiniboine Credit Union gave us a very thoughtful and thought-provoking presentation on why we, credit unions and the rest of the co-op sector, serve the under-served in our communities. View Nigel’s presentation here.
During the formal part of our AGM we completed all the legally necessary work and submitted our Annual Report outlining our achievements and the challenges we face.
This segment was immediately followed by Marc Duplantie of the Co-operators challenging us with some very questions that will help us to prepare for a strategic planning session, probably in conjunction with the CMC’s Congress in Winnipeg in June. View Marc’s presentation here.
Following our AGM and training sessions at NorWest we had the opportunity, in Ottawa, to:
- Meet with the Canadian Nurses’ Association and Canadian Medical Association to discuss further collaboration
- Met with government and opposition MPs working in the areas of Health Policy, Public Health and Veteran’s Affairs as well as and departmental staff in the same areas.
- Discuss, with all of these, the possibility of presentations on the work of Health Co-ops across the country and our programs that could be used to help achieve the desire to shift the focus away from “medical, surgical, pharmaceutical treatment in injury and illness” towards enabling Canadians to achieve and maintain optimal wellness thereby reducing suffering and costs.
Since these meetings we have worked to develop a very succinct message to send to federal and provincial ministers of health prior to the federal-provincial consultation in preparation of a new Health Accord.
Looking ahead to 2016, we will work to make the Health Co-op voice heard by all provincial, territorial and federal health ministers, work to encourage government departments to adopt Hans Kai and other programs, continue to work with start-ups and, very importantly, seek support from the larger co-op organizations and other community sources.
We welcome any questions about our sector.