Welcome to HC Link's blog! Our blog will provide you with useful information on healthy community topics, news, and resources, as well as information on HC Link’s events, activities, and resources. Our bloggers include HC Link staff and consultants, as well as our partnering organizations, clients, and experts in the health promotion field.

Please note: opinions in posts are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of HC Link or our funder.

We look forward to engaging in thought-provoking conversation with you!

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Policy … not so scary after all

Last week I had the pleasure of attending HC Link’s introductory webinar on Policy aptly entitled: Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf? De- mystifying Policy.

As someone with little policy experience, the webinar offered me a down to basics approach to policy, and guess what? Policy affects every facet of our lives: the roads we drive on, the transportation system, the water in our homes, our workplace scent policy, and even home-based policies like bedtime and screen time. You name it, and it’s likely to be linked to policy.

Likely because of its strong relationship with government, policy is often seen as a huge process (a big bad wolf) that nobody wants to tackle. But by the end of the webinar, it was clear that we all can be active in influencing policy at many levels. The webinar gave some great examples of policy and of communities and individuals who worked toward building healthy policies for healthy communities. For instance, the current booster seat legislation in Ontario was the result of four hardworking community members in Haldimand-Norfolk. You can read more about how they did it in this resource.

One great quote to take away from the webinar speaks to the collaborative nature of policy development: “Policy work is like making stone soup. Everyone brings what they have- a little of this, a little of that, and before you know it, you have a rich, community-based soup where before you only had stones.”

You can view the recording of the webinar, and download the handout, here.

New to policy work? Check out our “Getting Started with Policy” resource to learn more about policy and how HC Link can help you with your policy development efforts.

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Bringing together Ontario’s vast and dispersed francophone communities

Earlier this month we introduced you to the francophone community of the Chatham-Kent region. This week, we’d like to highlight the forum that we held in March of this year in Penetanguishene. The goal of this series of forums was to provide a shared space and time to discuss and reflect on the needs of Francophone communities in Ontario. The forums brought together experts, professionals, service providers and community members to explore shared challenges, successes and possibilities.

You can read the full community story in French here.

Now onto the video!

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Allow us to introduce you to the Francophone community of Chatham-Kent

By Melissa Potvin, HC Link

In early 2013 HC Link held a series of French forums across Ontario. The goal of this series of forums was to provide a shared space and time to discuss and reflect on the needs of Francophone communities in Ontario. The forums brought together experts, professionals, service providers and community members.

We are pleased to present the first community story from the Chatham-Kent forum as well as the accompanying video that presents the reality of the Francophone community in the region.

Follow our blog to receive alerts when we share the second video from our Penetang forum and subsequent community stories.

Chatham-Kent Community Story: La Girouette souffle un vent francophone sur Chatham-Kent (in French only)


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What does it mean to be a Francophone in a minority environment?

It is well known that Francophones living outside of Quebec live very different realities than their brothers and sisters in la belle province. A Francophone who wants to live his or her life in French within a province where Francophones are in a minority situation must actively seek opportunities to do so.

For example, Francophones outside Quebec must actively seek French language services, recreation and cultural centers as these are not widely available to us.

A recent exploratory study by Robert McCreight, a student intern at Reflection Salvéo, presents us with The Situational Behaviour of Bilingual Francophones in Toronto.  The study highlights some key findings as they relate to Francophones living in the GTA.

Limited access to health
Focusing on the relationship between the active offer of French Language Services and well-being, the study presents the various challenges faced by Francophones who seek health services in French. Often, "it is frowned upon to speak French in the presence of Anglophones."  Additionally, Francophones often select English language services in order to prevent a delay in service.

The study confirms what we already know about Toronto’s Francophone community; it is very diverse and in order to better answer their needs we need to learn more about the specific needs of this community.

What can we do?
One proposed solution to reduce barriers to access health services for Francophones that resonated with me was related to communications. The study suggests that "the effectiveness of the technology and social media could certainly play an important role. . . to open a window on La Francophonie of Greater Toronto. "

Our recent French series on social media has this same goal in mind, but with a provincial context. These new social media tools allow Francophones to support one another and distribute more broadly news, resources and events within the various communities across the province.

You can read the full report here.

Happy reading!

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