Engaging Our Communities

Community Engagement is both a legislated responsibility and a core function of the LHINs. Local decision making is the model that the LHINs are built on, and one that values the input of community members, health care professionals, and stakeholders to inform our planning and decision making processes.

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What is Community Engagement?

Community engagement refers to how LHINs and health service providers interact, share and gather information from and with their stakeholders. It serves to inform, educate, consult, involve, and empower stakeholders in both health care or health service planning and decision-making processes to improve the health care system.

Community engagement activities can be ongoing or project specific, outbound or inbound.

How do you define Community?

Section 16.2 of the Local Health System Integration Act (LHSIA) defines “Community” as patients and other individuals in the geographic area of the network, health service providers and any other person or entity that provides services in or for the local health system, as well as employees involved in the local health system.Stakeholders are individuals, communities, political entities or organizations that have a vested interest in the outcomes of the initiative. They are either affected by, or can have an effect on, the project. Anyone whose interests may be positively or negatively impacted by the project, or anyone that may exert influence over the project or its results is considered a project stakeholder. All stakeholders must be identified and managed/involved appropriately.

What role do Health Service Providers have in engagement?

Although LHINs are responsible for ensuring that they are adequately engaging their communities, the responsibility is also shared by the agencies funded by LHINs to provide health care services. The duty of Health Service Providers to consult is stated in LHSIA, requiring community engagement in the development of plans and setting priorities for the health services they provided. 2006, c. 4, s. 16 (6)”.

These guidelines complement the community engagement that the South West LHIN has already undertaken, and will further the LHIN's accountability and transparency.