Healthy Communities Movement

The Healthy Communities (HC) movement originated in Canada during the late 1980’s through a meeting convened in Ottawa whereby the Ottawa Charter was created.  The movement became worldwide when the World Health Organization (WHO) initiated their “Healthy Cities Project” across Europe in 1986. You can find out more about the history of Healthy Communities here.

Today, the HC approach is used in cities, towns, municipalities, villages and communities all around the world.  In Canada, strong healthy community networks exist in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick and in 2011, the four provinces joined together to develop the Canadian Healthy Communities Network.

The fundamental core value of the HC approach is capacity building and empowerment of individuals, organizations and communities.

The HC approach addresses multiple determinants of health (social, economic, environment, physical) and is based on five essential strategies- or building blocks- to build on a community’s existing capacity to improve community health and well-being:  

  • Community engagement;
  • Multi-sectoral collaboration;
  • Political commitment;
  • Healthy public policy; and
  • Asset-based community development

The Healthy Communities Framework was developed by the Canadian Healthy Communities Network.