About the Co-op
Also known as the Victoria Health Co-op (VHC or VCHC)
The Victoria Community Health Co-operative, more commonly known as Victoria Health Co-op or the VHC, is a community-owned enterprise in which every member-owner has equal rights and responsibilities.
The Victoria Community Health Co-operative is a general membership co-op. Any legal person (any entity that can sign a contract, whether a human person, a business, etc) can apply for membership, subject only to the approval of the Board. We have no geographical limits and we are members of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA).
Our members (around 300 currently active) govern the Co-op through a Board of up to 9 members whom they elect at each Annual General Meeting. Any member-owner can stand as a candidate for the Board. Directorships run for 3 years and the terms are staggered to provide a balance of continuity and fresh eyes. The Board is answerable to the member-owners. More information is set out under our Articles of Incorporation and Rules of Association below:
- Articles of Incorporation (PDF coming soon)
- Rules of Association, Bylaws (PDF coming soon)
Why a Co-operative?
When we first developed our vision of a community of well-being we recognized the equality of all participants, and the need for all to both benefit from and contribute to the well-being of all. We recognized that being guided by the Definition, Values and Principles set out by the International Co-operative Alliance would help us to achieve our objectives.
Based on the co-op values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity we recognize the ability and responsibility of all to work for the well-being of all.
Co-ops, when properly structured and operating according to the co-op definition, values and principles, are twice as durable as any other form of incorporation including public companies, partnerships and societies.
As a Co-op, our aim is to cover our costs and achieve a small surplus to re-invest in the provision of services.
As a Co-op we aim for a work environment that is supportive and enjoyable for volunteers, and for staff and for practitioners, who work within the Co-op as independent contracts.
We believe that communities are best equipped to identify their priorities and that the co-op structure is ideal for providing the services most needed by individuals and groups in each area.
We are linked to, and supported by, a network of wellness, social services and health co-ops across and beyond Canada. Learn more about co-operatives on our dedicated Resource page (coming soon!).
Our Board of Directors is diverse and manages the activities of the co-op as our organization is primarily volunteer-run.
Vanessa Hammond – Chair
As Chair of the Board, her priorities are to continue building a strong board, ensuring full awareness and use of the co-op identity, and supporting member-owners and the community in the pursuit and maintenance of health and wellness. She feels the ideal is a range of services such as Nurse Practitioners, Nutritionists, Kinesiologists, Counselors etc working in partnership with each other and community organizations. If you are interested in shifting the focus from Medical treatment of sickness to helping our members and neighbours to maintain HEALTH, she invites you to sit in on a VCHC event or Board meeting.
Vanessa has seen co-operatives as a way of serving communities and all member-owners. She has worked as a co-op developer in 35 countries – loves the work and the community-minded people. Apart from co-ops, Vanessa’s passions are her family and friends, exploring the world, flying (although she gave up her license long ago), and the pre-history and early history of the Celtic lands.
MORE BOARD MEMBER BIOS COMING SOON….