Members of the Health Care Co-operatives Federation of Canada (HCCFC) provide wellness, health and social services to over a million Canadians. Because every co-op is established to meet the needs and draw on the skills of its member-owners, each is unique, responding to the precise needs of the community in which it operates.
A key concern for many Canadian individuals and communities is the lack of the support services that we need as we age. HCCFC co-ops already address several aspects of these needs with the increased recognition by governments at all levels of their capacity in key areas. Home care, mobile health services, employment support for people facing barriers to employment, and health centres are all part of their wellness, health and social services across Canada.
Communities and governments are particularly interested in programs such as Hans Kai (Learning Group) and Choices, that help individuals and groups – whether seniors, youth, gender specific, workplace or others – to achieve and maintain optimal health. By partnering with community organizations, HCCFC member co-ops provide programs that address the social determinants of health in a relaxed, respectful context in which the focus is on acquiring wellness skills and behaviours rather than theoretical knowledge. A University of Manitoba study, based on the Hans Kai work of NorWest Co-op in Winnipeg, is identifying statistically significant results.