Ottawa Inuit Children's Center
La Fédération des coopératives du Nouveau-Québec (FCNQ) is owned by its fourteen member co-ops in the Inuit communities of the Hudson and Ungava coasts of Northern-Québec, or Nunavik, as this region is now called. FCNQ was established in 1967 to provide the rapidly growing cooperative movement with more effective powers and services to help attain their vision – Atautsikut/Together – working to develop as a people, leaving none behind. The main objective of each co-op is to unite the community and to act as a spokesperson for their interests. Therefore the co-op is more than just a store, as is evident from their success in activities as diverse as:
- Operating retail stores with a wide selection of merchandise at competitive prices, often paying back savings in cash and shares to members at the end of the year.
- Management training, staff development and auditing service.
- Banking, post offices, cable TV and Internet services.
- Marketing Inuit art across Canada and around the world.
- Operating hotels, a travel agency and hunting and fishing camps.
- Bulk storage and distribution of crucial oil & fuel supplies
- Construction projects in Nunavik for housing, schools, etc.
The co-op movement is now the largest non-government employer in the region with over 260 full-time and 50 seasonal employees in Nunavik and 120 full-time employees in Montreal. The co-ops are managed exclusively by Inuit and Cree staff, thereby ensuring that the knowledge and experience gained from operating their collective enterprises remains an asset of the community.
FCNQ engaged in a health promoting process in 2010 after having experienced and seen that needs of its members are evolving and that chronic diseases are increasingly hitting our youths earlier. Health is a concern, healthy members and communities can lead a more productive and balance life.
Community Health promotion in urban supportive environment and professional and community capacity building
Our clinical and research team is working in obesity prevention and healthy living health promotion. Our health promotion ecological approach is based on principles of community health, primary care, population health, health risk appraisal and the Ottawa Charter for health promotion.
The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion
Ottawa was the venue for an international conference on health promotion in 1987. The resulting Ottawa Charter proposed action "to achieve health for all" by the year 2000. It included the following strategies:
- Building healthy public policy. This puts health on the agenda for all policymakers, directing them to be aware of the health consequences of their decisions.
- Creating supportive environments. (e.g. encouraging a family to support their relative who is trying to lose weight) This recognized the importance of environment for health, and proposed a socio-ecological approach to health.
- Strengthening community action. Health promotion requires community empowerment and involvement in setting priorities, planning and implementing strategies to achieve better health.
- Developing personal skills. Health promotion supports personal and social development through providing information and enhancing life skills.
- Reorienting health services. Health promotion argues for shifting health resources towards a more equal distribution between health care and preventing disease. Essentially, health services should be expanded to include the four strategies above in addition to conventional medical care. Responsibility for health promotion services should be shared among individuals, community groups, health professionals, health services and governments.
Our means of individual and environmental actions and strategies include valuing traditional ways of knowing and health practices, partnerships, networking, empowerment (individual and collective), actions on social determinants, health literacy, web technologies and capacity-building. Solutions to early chronic diseases detection and prevention are intersectoral partnerships, valuing local expertise and traditional knowing and history. Understanding the historical and cultural paths, engaging in a mutually transformative dialogue on health and building together innovative strategies and policies can lead us towards a more balance, equitable, healthy life with increased quality, social cohesion and control over one’s health and destiny.
Our team has the privilege to share a common goal with the communities of the North since 2010, our children’s health, and a unique bond or feeling of connectedness through the importance of neighborhoods and its potential for greater quality of life enhancement. It is through the leadership of local cultural and peer-health leaders that our youths can enjoy healthier, longer, fulfiller and happier lives.
Those who know how to play can easily leap over the adversities of life.