Community Engagement - Background
In March of 2006, the Government of Ontario passed legislation that created 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHIN) across Ontario. In creating LHIN’s, they were tasked with the job of working with local health providers and community members to determine the local health service priorities of the 14 regions they are responsible for and planning, integrating and funding local health services reflecting these priorities.
Recognizing the important role community members and stakeholders are and were expected to play in the new LHIN health care world, the role of Community Engagement was entrenched in the legislation that created and governs LHINs, the Local Health Systems Integration Act, 2006 (LHSIA).
Specifically LHSIA states the following:
“A local health integration network shall engage the community of diverse persons and entities involved with the local health system about that system on an ongoing basis, including about the integrated health service plan and while setting priorities” (c. 4, s. 16 (1))
Community Engagement was established as a core function of the LHINs, with the understanding that regional planning is a more appropriate method for assessing and interpreting the local needs of a community. Community engagement needs to be purposeful, accessible and its products transparent to the public and LHIN decision makers.