The Clinic is a health agency controlled by the women and men living in the community. Its mission is to offert preventive and curative services and with community members, organizes around health issues to improve the quality of health for everyone in the short and long term.
The Community Clinic is a community non-profit that has concluded agreements with the Ministère de la Santé to deliver direct services as a CLSC in the territory of Pointe-Saint-Charles.
Through their Annual General Assembly and the citizen-controlled Board of Directors, Community residents are responsible for making decisions about the Clinic's policies and services and ensuring that the Clinic meets the neighbourhood's health and social services needs. The Clinic's policies are driven by a central conviction: access to free, universal and public health and social services is an essential social right and it is non-negotiable.
Respecting the values, dignity, autonomy and freedom to choose of each person — that’s what the Community Clinic is all about ! Both citizens and staff work together in an atmosphere of mutual respect to respond in the best way possible to the needs of the users of the Clinic’s services.
Another value is in really listening to people. This means believing that it’s the people going through difficult situations who are in the best position to decide what type of treatment or assistance they need.
Two other values are key to the Clinic’s way of working, namely empowerment and solidarity. We believe that people are able to learn about and understand their problems. They can then “take charge” of their situation. This value of empowerment applies not only to individual problems but also to those problems related to health issues that the Point faces. This is solidarity and empowerment at a community level.
At the Clinic, we also try to get away from the idea that the “doctor always knows best “. We believe that the user (the patient) knows what’s going on. After all, it’s happening to them!
So it only makes sense that they should be full partners, along with the staff, in making decisions about their own health.
Collaboration, partnership and community support
Since 1968, the Clinic has worked closely with neighbourhood residents and agencies to unite and organize, defend residents' rights and create solutions to their individual and collective problems. There are numerous examples testifying to the Clinic's strong community roots, including its community-based participatory structure and its partnerships with community stakeholders to formulate and carry out projects. Throughout its history, the Clinic has helped to set up numerous resources and has always worked jointly with community groups to act directly on the social determinants of health, maintain a public health system, strive for equitable wealth sharing, urban development, accessibility to, and construction of social housing, food security and the defence and promotion of women's rights.
The Clinic acts upon the social determinants of health
For the Clinic it is clear - overall conditions of life and especially social and economic conditions are the most important determinants of people’s health. As a centre for citizen mobilisation, the Clinic has always taken its responsabilities seriously, working for social justice through social change, defending the social and economic rights of citizens while working closely with other community organizations.
“ The social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age, including the health system. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels, which are themselves influenced by policy choices. The social determinants of health are mostly responsible for health inequities - the unfair and avoidable differences in health status seen within and between countries. ”
Closing the gap in a generation : Health equity through action on the social determinants of health. Commission on Social Determinants of health – final report. World Health Organisation 2008.