Engaging Our Communities
The Government of Ontario established the 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) to plan, fund and integrate local health systems across Ontario.
Recognizing the importance of this process, community engagement was entrenched in the Local Health System Integration Act, 2006 (LHSIA), the legislation that governs the LHINs.
The LHSIA, Section 16, states LHINs “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 (IHSP) and while setting priorities."
Local health care decision-making is foundational to the LHIN model, and recognizes the value of input from local community members and health care professionals to help inform local planning and decision-making.
Community Engagement Guidelines
To support consistency, accountability and transparency in community engagement practices, the LHINs, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC), developed community engagement guidelines in 2011.
In 2016, LHINs and the MOHLTC collaboratively reviewed and updated the LHIN Community Engagement Guidelines to reflect the changing landscape of community and patient engagement and maturation of LHIN processes.
These guidelines outline expectations for LHINs in undertaking engagement in support of our mandate in planning, funding and integration activities for the local health system, and may serve as a guidepost to assist Health Service Providers in their own community engagement activities.
For LHINs, core principles for public participation and engagement as outlined in the guidelines include:
- Informed planning and preparation
- Attention to inclusion and demographic diversity
- Engagement of Indigenous Peoples
- Engagement of the Francophone community
- Commitment to learning
- Demonstrate trust and transparency
- Focus on impact and action
- Sustain a participatory culture
As LHINs understand that the practice of community engagement and patient and stakeholder partnership is dynamic and growing, the LHINs will be mindful of changing practices and routinely evaluate our local engagement practices for opportunities for continuous improvement.
Primary Care Physician Engagement
Additionally, and with valued input from primary care providers, LHINs also developed a Primary Care Physician Engagement Resource Toolkit to strengthen relations, communication and partnerships with primary care providers