LEVIS DECLARATION OF QUEBEC 2012- Health Co-operatives- guest blog

Dear friends,

From October 8 to 11, I attended the 2012 International Summit of Co-operatives in Quebec City. While I was there, I also attended the Annual General Meeting of the Health Care Co-operatives Federation of Canada and the International Health Co-operatives Forum. There are interesting things happening in the area of health co-operatives, and I look forward to hearing more about this burgeoning sub-sector. On that matter, I also met Vanessa Hammond, Chair of the Health Care Co-operatives Federation of Canada (HCCFC), and we had a great discussion about the sector.

There are approximately 100 healthcare co-operatives in Canada. They mostly operate in Quebec, Manitoba, and Prince Edward Island, with the majority being in Quebec. Outside Quebec, most co-operatives are established and operate based upon the consumer model, in which membership is composed of those who use the service in question. However, in the Canadian context, medical services are delivered to both members and non-members. Health co-operatives in foreign jurisdictions provide a wide range of services, including primary and acute care services, health insurance, and pharmaceuticals.

Health care co-operatives from all across Canada and from Quebec worked with the International Health Co-operatives Organization and its members from around the world to draft the attached Declaration after the International Health Co-operatives Forum.

The HCCFC encourages everyone to share this Declaration with all who are interested in working with citizens to enhance health care and eliminate some of the obstacles to care and efficiency. They also welcome the opportunity to speak with any group about community-based health care and home care co-operatives.

In addition to the Declaration, you may visit the website of the HCCFC at www.healthcarecoopscanada.coop . They works closely with the Fédération des coopératives de services à domicile et de santé du Québec. You may also visit their website at http://www.fcsdsq.coop/ .


Honourable Mauril Bélanger, M.P. for Ottawa—Vanier

Liberal Advocate for Co-operatives



Quebec City, October 12, 2012




Present on five continents, in various sizes and types, motivated by a philosophy of action based on individual and collective empowerment, all in a democratic framework, health co-operatives enrich the various socio-health systems through their innovative nature, their values of participation, democracy and mutual co-operation among socio-economic partners.

Drawing on the most recent thinking and research on the subject, we share the following definition of health: it is


a dynamic process of personal, social, spiritual, emotional and collective adaptability, vitality, development and the ability to deal with challenges. Health is a basic right for all and a resource for carrying out daily activities with joy and energy.

We, the participants in the IV


th International Health Co-operatives Forum 2012:

1. Endorse the five resolutions from the Tokyo Declaration of 2007 covering, respectively: —combating poverty —the establishment of peace —protection of the environment —the creation of healthy communities and –the development of professional health resources in sufficient quantity.

2. Reiterate our desire to involve the members or diverse categories of members in multiple-partner co-operatives in the conception, orientation, development and evaluation the health services provided by our co-operatives.

3. Strongly recall the principles and provisions that were contained in the World Health Organization’s constitution (1948) and that were presented during many international conferences on health promotion, which is the essential nature of health equity. As such, access to primary health services for all must remain a priority.

4. Acknowledge that the best way to achieve the objectives of health promotion and disease prevention is to act on the social determinants of health in accordance with the recommendation by the World Health Organization and to pay particular attention to lifestyle-related non-communicable diseases.

5. Believe that the time has come to raise the alarm on the tremendous increase in mental health problems in order to stimulate international co-ordinated, strategic thinking and action in promoting individual and collective psychological resilience and early intervention with situations of psychological distress.

6. Welcomes initiatives such as the networks of Healthy Cities and Villages and Senior-friendly Municipalities that, particularly here in Canada and Quebec, have taken concrete action to reach citizens in their daily lives, all in a collaborative framework of civil society and government institutions that increases quality of life, well-being, the power to act and collective intelligence.

7. Encourage the propagation of multi-sectoral and whole- society approaches to what are increasingly proving to be global health problems as well as the integration of health into the preparation of all laws and policies.

8. Hope that the proclamation by the United Nations Organization, 2012, International Year of Co-operatives enables the sense of personal and group responsibility specific to the co-operative movement to be conveyed to the people, to the economic powers and the governments of all nations, so that the 21


st century becomes one of “international co-operation” not “international competition”!

In five years, we will meet again for the confirmation of the achievement and making a new initiative for further progress.

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