Legal requirements

Some jurisdictions have legislated the circumstances under which CE is required in the health care sector. In Ontario, Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) are the organizations responsible for planning, coordinating and funding health services at a regional level. The legislation relating to Ontario’s LHINs (Local Health System Integration Act, 2006) is being tested and interpreted to determine what it means for health planners, health organizations and health providers.

Ontario specifies three “communities” to be engaged by the LHINs:

  • 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; and
  • Employees in the local health system.

“Health service providers” include the following institutional and community organizations:
  • Public and private hospitals
  • Psychiatric facilities (with exceptions)
  • Community mental health and addictions services
  • Long term care facilities and nursing homes
  • Community care access centres
  • Community support services
  • Community health centres

The methods for carrying out community engagement “may include holding community meetings or focus group meetings or establishing advisory committees.”

LHINs are specifically required to engage the following entities in their CE processes:
  • The Aboriginal and First Nations health planning entity; and
  • The French language health planning entity.

In addition, LHINs are required to establish a health professionals’ advisory committee “consisting of the persons that the network appoints from among members of the regulated health professions that the network determines or are proscribed.”

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