G&A OHT partners have a long history of demonstrating the continuum of community engagement strategies (inform, consult, collaborate, empower). Broad partner engagement sessions were held in May and September of this year to inform our many partners about the OHT application process and progress, and to invite their collaboration. We also actively consulted partners about our Year 1 change ideas, and sought their feedback on how they want to be engaged, informed and involved in the work of the Guelph moving forward.
Examples of how our members have engaged with the broader community to influence the health of our population include:
- Guelph’s Smart City’s Award – Over the summer and fall of 2018, our members contributed to the development of the City of Guelph’s Smart City’s Application to Infrastructure Canada. These activities included public consultation sessions, cross sectoral community collaboration spanning agriculture, university, health, social services and municipal leadership, as well as consulting the voices of those experiencing food insecurity in our community. Guelph and Wellington County was one of the two winners of $10 million awarded by Infrastructure Canada in the Smart Cities Challenge, which will enable our community to deliver on “Our Food Future, Canada’s First Circular Food Economy,” aimed to achieve: 50% increase in access to affordable, nutritious food; 50 new circular food businesses, collaborations and social enterprises; and 50% increase in economic revenues by reducing and reimagining our food waste. Along with many other animators of this opportunity, the Guelph CHC’s SEED Community Food Project will enable these outcomes through their many food security/food equity based programs.
- Mayor’s Task Force – Several G&A OHT partners participated in 2019 Mayor’s Task Force, an engagement opportunity aimed at addressing homelessness and mental health/addictions in our community. Through this coalition, three innovative pilot programs were prioritized by community leaders, who subsequently came together to develop innovative collective impact funding to support their sustainability. Health system and homelessness partners are working collectively to deliver the Welcoming Streets Initiative (supporting the needs of complex individuals and businesses to enhance community safety in the downtown), the Supported Recovery Room (a rest, recovery and treatment program aimed at serving individuals experiencing crisis as a result of MH&A) and the Court Support Worker (integrated addictions services embedded in criminal courts).
- Member of Parliament Engagement – Health system leaders regularly inform/consult local MP/MPPs and City Council members, including quarterly meetings with MPP Mike Schreiner to share information and advocate for issues facing our local community. An outcome of similar engagement with MPP Lloyd Longfield culminated in an Adverse Childhood Events (ACEs) Roundtable session taking place on Parliament Hill in 2018, allowing G&A OHT partners to showcase our innovative collective impact efforts at a federal level.
- Community Governance – All Core partners have, or are working towards the full development of community governance, where empowered community partners on Boards of Directors inform and guide healthcare delivery that is responsive to community needs. This approach will be included in the design of the G&A OHT governance structure.