The British Columbia Association of Community Health Centres is the voice for Community Health Centres and community-oriented, people-centred primary health care throughout British Columbia. The BCACHC is a registered Society in B.C.

BCACHC Constitution

The purposes of the British Columbia Association of Community Health Centres are:

To promote the Community Health Centre (CHC) vision of health and wellbeing.

To promote the definition and role of CHCs as set out in the Society’s by-laws.

To provide a forum to discuss and address issues of common interest and concern to CHCs in British Columbia.

Within the resources available, to collaborate with members in increasing access for residents of British Columbia to Community Health Centres, so long as said CHCs adhere to the definition of Community Health Centre as set out by the Society in its by-laws.

From BCACHC Bylaws

Community Health Centre means any not-for-profit or co-operative organization which adheres to all five of the following domains:

  1. Provides inter-professional primary care(1)
  2. Integrates services and programs in primary care, health promotion, and community wellbeing
  3. Is community-governed and community-centred
  4. Actively addresses the social determinants of health(2)
  5. Demonstrates commitment to health equity(3) and social justice(4)

(1) Primary care is defined as first line, clinical healthcare services. In “Primary Care and Primary Health Care: What is the Difference?” (Canadian Journal of Public Health, Sept/Oct 2006) Muldoon, Hogg and Levitt note that primary care typically describes “a narrower concept of ‘family doctor-type’ services delivered to individuals” (in other words, clinical services). Emphasis on interprofessional “primary care” within the CHC definition is intended to ensure that the clinical services component of the overall CHC basket of services and programs is delivered through a team of providers from different disciplines. It is understood, at the same time, that the integrated CHC approach (i.e., all five domains listed in the renewed CHC definition) mean that, overall, CHCs are “primary health care” organizations that align with the World Health Organization definition of primary health care.

(2) Social determinants of health are the economic and social conditions and their distribution among the population that influence individual and group differences in health status. They are health promoting factors found in one’s living and working conditions (such as the distribution of income, wealth, influence, and power), rather than individual risk factors (such as behavioural risk factors or genetics) that influence the risk for illness and morbidity. Access to appropriate health services is also considered a social determinant of health.

(3) Health equity refers to efforts to eliminate socially and institutionally structured health inequalities and differential health outcomes. Health equity explicitly recognizes that these structured health inequalities are not natural. They are avoidable, unfair and systematically related to social inequality and disadvantage.

(4) Social justice may be broadly understood as the fair and compassionate distribution of the fruits of economic growth (Social Justice in an Open World: The Role of the United Nations, 2006). Social justice assigns rights and duties within the institutions of society which enable people to participate in the basic benefits and burdens of cooperative society. These relevant institutions often include taxation, social insurance, public healthcare, public schooling, public services, labour law, and the regulation of markets to ensure fair distribution of wealth, equal opportunity and equality of outcome. Social justice does not preclude charity (e.g., civic organizations receiving charitable funding or providing charitable services), but it demands commitment to root causes of inequity and participation in collective efforts to achieve systemic change rather than simply focusing on short-term needs.