Engaging Our Communities

All Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) across Ontario have adopted these Community Engagement Guidelines that will bring increased consistency, accountability and transparency to community engagement initiatives province-wide.

A key mandate of the new community engagement guidelines requires all LHINs to publish an annual community engagement plan. The annual plan sets out how Central LHIN will engage its stakeholders on key focus areas, particularly where there is an opportunity to further develop relationships with health service providers and help advance Central LHIN's IHSP priorities. 

Community engagement is a legislated responsibility and operationalizes our core values of:

  • Collaboration/Partnership
  • System Responsiveness and Quality
  • People/Community Focused
  • Openness and Transparency

Local health care decision-making is foundational to the LHINs model, and recognizes the value of input from community members and health-care professionals to help inform local planning and decision-making.

In spring 2011, Central LHIN convened a Community Engagement Task Group – consisting of consumer and  health service provider (HSP) representatives from across sectors – to work with the LHIN to define the HSP community engagement roles and responsibilities and to develop a checklist to support these community engagement efforts. These guidelines were updated in 2016.

The LHIN Community Engagement Guidelines (June 2016) was collaboratively developed through the Task Group. The document outlines the expectations regarding community engagement and provides guiding principles to assist HSPs in their community engagement activities.


In March 2006, the Government of Ontario passed legislation that created 14 LHINs across Ontario. LHINs were tasked with the job of working with local health service providers and community members to determine local health care priorities and reflect these in their planning, integration and funding mandate.

Recognizing the importance of this process, community engagement was entrenched in the legislation that created and governs LHINs, the Local Health System Integration Act, 2006 (LHSIA).

Among other provisions, LHSIA states that:

"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)).

Since their inception, LHINs have been educating, consulting and involving the community in health-care decisions.

These new Community Engagement Guidelines have been developed in collaboration between the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and Ontario LHINs and establish a consistent set of community engagement best practices, guidelines and products.

Click on the links below to download the Community Engagement Guidelines:

Community Engagement Plans

Community engagement is fundamental to enabling collaboration with partners across the system to improve access and services for residents in our communities. Guided by our strategic framework, and aligned with our quality improvement approach to health system transformation, Central LHIN will continue to engage its diverse communities and stakeholders to inform our planning and decision making processes.

Read the 2018-19 Community Engagement Plan.

Previous Community Engagement Plans: