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[Opinion] Recognize the expertise of the community at its true value

The variety of social topics addressed in this election campaign left little room for addressing the place of community organizations and the conditions for supporting their mission, whose essential role was confirmed in the context of the pandemic.

From September 14 to 16, the forum “Community at the Heart: Dialogue on Initiatives and Practices during the Pandemic” mobilized key players in the response to the COVID-19 crisis. This forum brought together more than 200 researchers, stakeholders and managers from academia, public health, health and social services, local government, as well as community and philanthropic organisations.

Presentations and exchanges of experiences and research led to agreement on five main findings for Quebec and two priority measures to be implemented quickly to cope with the current context and prepare for the future.

A find

1. The pandemic is a global social and health phenomenon that has affected not only physical health, but also all dimensions of social life: economic, political, educational, work, mental health, etc.

2. Pandemic and public health measures such as incarceration have resulted in increased inequalities and inequities and further disempowered the most vulnerable and marginalized populations and localities.

3. If the extent of negative side effects has not yet been identified, social health interventions must act quickly on the social determinants of health (housing, food security, living conditions, etc.) to maintain well-being and cohesion in communities.

4. During the pandemic, community mobilization, civic participation and joint consultation were essential and allowed for the development of adapted and innovative practices that saved lives.

5. Community organizations are key players because of their ability to innovate, flexibility and privileged relationship with the local population, especially the most vulnerable. This was possible thanks to the mission of these organizations, recognized in the government’s policy of recognition and support of community action, which promotes community mobilization, popular education and the promotion of civic participation.

However, this contribution of community organizations has not been fully recognised; on the contrary, organizations have been weakened by the pandemic, the lack of adequate funding and the workforce crisis.

The participants and organizers of the forum identified two priority actions to face the public health challenges caused by the pandemic and to prepare for other foreseeable social and health crises in the context of globalization and climate change.

Priority actions

1. Rapid recognition of autonomous community action by expanding and increasing the funding of the mission of all groups in various sectors of activity (health and social services, education, employability, defense of rights, reception of people, immigrants and refugees, housing, culture, environment, etc.).

2. Creation of consultation and cooperation mechanisms that will ensure the conditions for the participation of community organizations that represent the affected population, especially groups in situations of vulnerability, within the framework of structures connecting local social and institutional actors.

*Co-signed this text:

Adina Ungureanu, coordinator of the Immigrant Family Observatory

Aimee You

Alain Picard, Council of Hasidic Jews of Quebec (CJHQ)

Alain-Antoine Courchesne

Amir Harrate, APPR / DRSP Montreal

Anabelle Vanier-Clément, M.Sc., co-coordinator of the CoVivre program

Anna Bonnel, psychologist

Anne Pelletier, DePhy Montreal

Anne-Marie Paradis, Quebec Network for the Social Inclusion of Deaf and Hard of Hearing People

Annie Jaimes, Professor, Department of Psychology, UQAM

Ashely Wazana, MD, Assistant Professor, McGill University

Audrey Lamothe-Lachaine, Professor of Psychology, Collège de Maisonneuve, Lecturer, University of Montreal

Aurélie Broussouloux, Executive Director of the Alternative and Community Network of Mental Health Organizations (RACOR) on the Island of Montreal

Bilkis Vissandjee of the University of Montreal

Carol Bottger

Caroline Toupin, Coordinator, Quebec Network of Autonomous Community Action (RQ-ACA)

Catherine Larochelle, Professor, Department of History, University of Montreal

Catherine Letarte, CEO, Omega Community Resources

Cecilia Escamilla, Executive Director of the Latin American Family Support Center (CAFLA)

Christine Jette

Cindy Ngov, MScPH, CoVivre program

Claire Trottier, director of the Trottier Family Foundation

Claude Pinard, CEO, Centraide of Greater Montreal

Colette Daignault-Cummings, NPO A word about exclusion

Daniele Salmeron, project coordinator

Delphine Van den Bossche, community organizer

Diana Miconi, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Psychology and Andragogy, University of Montreal; member of the Order of Psychologists of Quebec

dr. Christina Greenaway, Professor of Medicine, McGill University, Division of Infectious Diseases, Jewish General Hospital

dr. Jaswant Guzder, Professor, McGill Psychiatry Department

Dyala Hamzah, Associate Professor, University of Montreal

Elisabeth Germain, feminist and anti-racist activist

Élise Bourgeois-Guérin, psychologist

Emmanuelle Bolduc, Phase 1 Coordinator – CoVivre

Ève Torres, institutional and community worker

French parent, Franciscan Oblates of St. Joseph

Francine Hamel

François Crépeau, Faculty of Law, McGill University

François Poulin, director of the Bordeaux-Cartierville Youth Center

Garine Papazian-Zohrabian, professor at the University of Montreal

Geneviève Mercille, Professor, Department of Nutrition, University of Montreal

George Tarabulsy, School of Psychology, Université Laval, Center for University Research on Youth and Families

Gordon Blennemann, Professor of History, University of Montreal

Guillaume-Félix Boucher, Food Security Mobilization Officer – Consolidation of La Petite-Patrie Consultation Tables

Habib El Hage, IRIPII

Hélène Hébert, Acting Director General of ReQIS

Henri-Paul Bronsard

Isabelle Ruelland, Professor, School of Social Work, UQAM

Janet Cleveland, researcher at the University’s SHERPA Institute

Janique Johnson-Lafleur, Postdoctoral Researcher, McGill University

Javier Fuentes Bernal, TS Clinique Mauve, PhD student in social work

Javorka Zivanovic Sarenac, clinical and research coordinator of the Polarization Estrie team

Jean-Marc Fontan, Professor, UQAM

Jean-Sébastien Fallu, Associate Professor, School of Psychoeducation, University of Montreal

Jean-Sébastien Patrice, CEO of MultiCaf

Jill Hanley, Professor and Scientific Director of IU SHERPA

Johanne Collin, Full Professor, University of Montreal

Joy Schinazi, MPH, co-coordinator of the CoVivre program

Julie Desjardins Hébert, CISSSCA

Julie Laloire

Julie Nicolas, Observatory of Autonomous Community Action

Julie-Anne Perrault, Deputy Director of the Group of Blind and Visually Impaired People of Metropolitan Montreal (RAAMM)

Julien Prud’homme, Professor and Director of the Department of Humanities, University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières

Justine Gosselin-Gagne

Katia Boudrahemová

Krystelle-Marie Abalovi, Research Project Coordinator / School of Public Health of Montreal University

Lara Gautier, Assistant Professor, School of Public Health, University of Montreal

Laurence Guénette, League of Rights and Liberties

Laurence J. Kirmayer, James McGill Professor and Director, Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University

Laurence Monnais of the University of Montreal

Lea Cogetová

Liesette Brunson, Professor, Department of Psychology, UQAM

Lisa Benisty, staff member at Prize 2, an alternative mental health resource

Lisa Merry, Associate Professor, University of Montreal

Louise Giroux, Head of Educational Wellness Programs, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Louise Potvin, PhD, Scientific Director, Center for Public Health Research, University of Montreal and CIUSSS Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal

Lourdes Rodriguez del Barrio, PhD, Professor, University of Montreal; Scientific Director of InterActions; ERASMUS

Luc Dargis

Malek Batal, PhD, FRSC, FCAHS, Canada Department of Nutrition and Health Inequalities Research, University of Montreal

Manon Boilly

Marie-Andrée Painchaud-Mathieu, Coordinator of the Intersectoral Cluster of Community Organizations in Montreal

Marie-Ève ​​​​Samson, doctoral student in anthropology at UdeM and researcher at the university institute SHERPA

Marie-Line Audet, National Chart of Community Development Corporations

Marilou Cyr

Marjolaine Goudreau, president of RÉCIFS

Miriam Taylor, Independent Researcher

Myriam Richard, PhD student, School of Social Work, University of Montreal

Myrna Lashley, Associate Professor, Dept. in Psychiatry, McGill University

Naïma Bentayeb, associate professor of ENAP; Researcher IU SHERPA

Nathalie Godfrind, worker and support worker at Prize 2, an alternative mental health resource

Nimâ Machouf, PhD, epidemiologist

Olivier Bonnet, Managing Director, Word of ExcluEs

Olivier Drouin, founder of the civic initiative Covid Écoles Québec

Olivier Gauvin, General Coordinator of TOMS

Pascal Chavannes, psychologist and resident in psychiatry at the University of Montreal

Patricia Chartier, coordinator of the TROC coalition

Paul Hayotte, PhD candidate in Community Psychology, UQAM

Paul-André Lévesque, Ph.D., Montreal Regional Public Health Department

Pierrette Richard, Director’s Award 2, Alternative Mental Health Resource

Rachel Kronick, MD FRCPC, McGill University

Rosita Bitogol, project manager of the MyLumen clinic

Salam El-Majzoub, MD, Resident in Psychiatry, McGill University

Salomé Gueidon, Project Manager, NewCities

Samuel Veissière, Assistant Professor, Department of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, Co-Director of the Culture Mind and Brain Program, McGill University; ARH Physician, Polarization Team, CLSC Parc Extension

Sasha Dyck, nurse, Parc-Extension

Serge Seguin, CEO

Sonia Hajo, BHSc, MScPH, BCL/JD Candidate, McGill Faculty of Law

Sophia Ratté, community organizer

Sophie Laquerre-Duchesne, director of the L’Escale Youth Center in Montreal-North

Stephan Reichhold, Roundtable of Organizations Serving Refugees and Immigrants

Sylvie Trottier, Trottier Family Foundation board member

Tara Santavicca, MSc Public Health, CoVivre Program

Valérie Amiraux, professor at the University of Montreal

Vivek Venkatesh, Full Professor and UNESCO-PREV Co-Chair

William Delisle, Director, Friend of the Club

Yasmine Abdessettar, CoVivre program

See in the video

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