Community Health Centres: Agents of Care, Agents of Change

September 25-27, 2017   Calgary, AB



Full Conference Program

Welcome from Minister of Health, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor

Welcome from Calgary Mayor, His Worship Naheed Nenshi


Les centres d’injection supervisée au coeur de discussions à Calgary
Des intervenants en santé de partout au pays se sont rassemblés à Calgary pour la conférence de l’Association canadienne des centres de santé communautaires, afin de discuter de nombreux enjeux tels que la crise des surdoses liées à la consommation d’opioïdes.


CACHC 2017 Annual General Meeting

On September 25th the Canadian Association of Community Health Centres held its annual general meeting, immediately preceding the association’s national conference. Key highlights included:

  • Approval of the association’s 2017-18 Board of Directors
  • Presentation of key achievements from 2016-17 and the association’s first five years of operation
  • Discussion regarding results from CACHC’s 2017 strategic planning survey and core operational priorities for the years ahead
Conference Opening & Blessing

Conference delegates were honoured to be greeted by Casey Eagle Speaker, an elder and knowledge-keeper from the Blackfoot Confederacy and member of the Blood Tribe in Southern Alberta. Casey Eagle Speaker provided a conference blessing and encouraged delegates to continue working across cultures in alignment with the Blackfoot vision of holistic wellbeing and human “oneness”.

CACHC was honoured to welcome Casey Eagle Speaker and the association recognized the traditional lands on which the conference was taking place: the territories of the Blackfoot and the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, which includes the Siksika, the Piikuni, the Kainai, the Tsuut’ina and the Stoney Nakoda First Nations, including Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley First Nation. The City of Calgary is also home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III.

OPENING PLENARY SESSION: Calgary’s Multi-Sector Response to Improve Care
and Support for Homeless Calgarians

In 2015, the Calgary Recovery Services Task Force (CRSTF) was established, with representation from 26 homeless serving agencies, government, and other community stakeholders, including Calgary’s Community Health Centres. CRSTF partners have come together to respond collaboratively to the complex healthcare, housing and other social needs of homeless individuals in Calgary. In 2016, the CRSTF released its final report and recommendations, which partners are currently working to implement. This session presented the city-wide vision and the role that Calgary’s Community Health Centres are playing as partners in the CRSTF.


Loretta Dobbelsteyn
Senior Director of Operations, The Alex Community Health Centre
Co-Chair, CRSTF Health Services Working Group

Darryn Werth
Senior Director of Program Strategy, CUPS Calgary
Co-Chair, CRSTF Governance Working Group

Visits and Sessions at Local Community Health Centres

Buses carried conference participants to morning and afternoon site visits at three local Community Health Centres


ACFA de Calgary

The Alex CHC

CUPS Calgary

ACFA Régionale de Calgary is a multi-sector organization that officially became a “Community Health Centre” in 2015 through addition of a new French-language primary care clinic. As Canada’s newest French-language CHC, l’ACFA Régionale de Calgary provides fresh experiences and faces ongoing challenges in terms of advancing its mission as a French-language CHC. This session held entirely in French provided an overview of l’ACFA Régionale de Calgary and its Clinique francophone de Calgary. Moderated discussion took place focused on strategies and opportunities to expand access to French-language CHC services across Canada. This discussion was linked to launch of a new national publication on this topic by CACHC and Société santé en français.

In summer 2017, The Alex Community Health Centre moved into its new 61,000 square foot central location, bringing under one roof its various programs and services. The Alex CHC’s three mobile units — Community Health Bus, Youth Health Bus, and Dental Health Bus — continue to operate as remote service units attached to the new operational site. Conference participants were among the very first to visit The Alex CHC’s new site and learned about its various programs such its Youth Health Centre, Family Health Centre, Breastfeeding Clinic and Housing First Program. Participants got a firsthand look at the CHC’s Dental Health Bus which provides mobile oral health care to those in need throughout the city.

CUPS Calgary is a dynamic, multi-sector Community Health Centre that offers a wide range of services and programs under three organizational clusters: Health, Housing, and Education. Conference participants learned about CUPS Calgary’s organizational approach to these three clusters of services and heard specific presentations on CUPS Calgary’s dental services for low-income Calgarians; its Two-Generation approach to dealing with trauma; its Connect to Care (C2C) program, which supports people living at or below the poverty to avoid hospital re-admissions; its diverse education services; and its direct housing accommodations and services for those in need throughout Calgary.

Conference Dinner and Gathering at The Alex Community Food Centre

In 2016, The Alex Community Health Centre joined a nation-wide movement when they opened The Alex Community Food Centre; a welcoming place for people to come together and grow, cook, share and advocate good food for all. The Alex CFC is the second CFC in western Canada, the other being operated in Winnipeg by NorWest Coop Community Health Centre. This special conference social gathering and dinner included an overview of the CFC model and the close partnership between the The Alex CFC and CHC to address food security as a critical determinant of health.

Attendees learned about the many programs through which The Alex CFC is improving health and belonging for Calgary residents, using food and food security as a gateway for engagement and empowerment. This includes its FoodFit program, Community Action training and more. As an example of this local impact, staff from The Alex CFC screened a new short video (shown here) which was scripted, directed and produced entirely by youth participating in the CFC’s programs. 

PLENARY SESSION: Advancing Team-Based Primary Health Care

In recent years, more provincial governments and provider associations across Canada have begun to promote a shift toward interprofessional, collaborative primary care. However, much of this discussion has been detached from the experiences of organizations like Community Health Centres that have delivered collaborative, team-based care for decades. This session explored issues and questions such as: What does collaborative care look like in practice? How do we support all providers to work toward full scope of practice? What policy, funding and operational factors are essential? What considerations need to be made when designing and funding services for different populations? 



Thy Dinh (Opening Presentation)
Director of Health Economics and Policy at Conference Board of Canada (Ottawa, ON)

Ryan Grubb
Social Worker / Health Advocate at Boyle McCauley Health Centre (Edmonton, AB)

Cliff Ledwos
Director of Primary Health Care and Initiatives at Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services (Toronto, ON)

Dr. Francesco Mosaico
Family Physician and Associate Medical Director at Boyle McCauley Health Centre (Edmonton, AB)

Elaine Wilson
Registered Nurse and Research and Quality Improvement Coordinator at CUPS Calgary (Calgary, AB)

Selection of Tweets from this #CACHC2017 Plenary Session

PLENARY SESSION: Improving mental health for Canadians

In order to improve mental health for diverse populations across Canada it is essential to address the social determinants of health and better coordinate services and supports across sectors such as healthcare, housing, education, employment and others. This session examined the need to bridge these gaps, and highlighted the powerful role of CHCs as multi-sector agencies that integrate services across sectors and work collaboratively with a wide range of local partners.


Dr. David Swann (Opening Presentation) 
MLA for Calgary Mountain View and Co-Chair of the Alberta Mental Health Review (Calgary, AB)

Nicole Chammartin
Executive Director of Klinic Community Health and Sexuality Education Resource Centre (Winnipeg, MB)

Tanya Leavitt
Mental Health Programs Manager at CUPS Calgary (Calgary, AB)

Bernadette MacDonald
Executive Director of Tri County Women’s Centre (Yarmouth, NS)

Cheryl Prescod
Executive Director of Black Creek Community Health Centre (Toronto, ON)

Selection of Tweets from this #CACHC2017 Plenary Session

PLENARY SESSION: Supervised injection services and overdose prevention –
progress to date and advancing action

Although Canada’s first supervised injection site (SIS) was established in Vancouver in 2003, it was not until very recently that SIS were approved for other jurisdictions across Canada. It is anticipated that by 2018, a total of fifteen SIS will be operational in six cities across Canada. In 2016, CHCs across Canada adopted a national resolution calling for expansion of SIS so this recent progress is applauded. At the same time, it comes at a moment when an injection drug use and opioid crisis is gripping communities across the country and the need for action is greater than ever. This session provided updates on progress with SIS, overdose prevention sites and other local solutions across Canada. It also challenged participants to advance harm reduction and support across the country and to push for important policy reforms at federal and provincial levels.


Donald MacPherson (Opening Presentation)
Executive Director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition (Vancouver, BC)

Cecilia Blasetti
Executive Director of Boyle McCauley Health Centre and President of Alberta Association of Community Health Centres  (Edmonton, AB)

Rob Boyd
Director of the Oasis Clinic at Sandy Hill Community Health Centre which (Ottawa, ON)

Lorraine Chin
Peer Advocate who brings perspective on improving client / service-provider relationships and the overall accessibility and impact of services (Calgary, AB)

Darwin Fisher
Program Manager at PHS Community Services Society and co-manager of Insite (Vancouver, BC)

Lynne Raskin
Chief Executive Officer of South Riverdale Community Health Centre (Toronto, ON)

PLENARY SESSION: Telling the CHC story: Translating experience into effective public engagement

Community Health Centres face many common challenges in shifting public and political discussion from illness treatment to the need for integrated, multi-sector approaches to wellness, including healthcare services delivered by collaborative teams of providers. This session examined many of these challenges and focused on experiences and practical solutions to help CHCs and CHC associations across Canada to engage the public, media and different levels of government more effectively.


Theresa Oswald
Executive Director of Women’s Health Clinic and former Manitoba Minister of Health and Minister of Healthy Living and Seniors
 (Winnipeg, MB)

Jessie Richardson
Communications Specialist at North Richmond Community Health, an Australian Community Health Centre  (Melbourne, Australia)

Grey Showler
Director of Health and Support Services at Victoria Cool Aid Society and President of BC Association of Community Health Centres (Victoria, BC)

Adrianna Tetley
Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Ontario Health Centres, Ontario’s Community Health Centres association (Toronto, ON)

Scott Wolfe
Executive Director of Canadian Association of Community Health Centres and Acting Coordinator for International Federation of Community Health Centres (Toronto, ON)


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