What is the Victoria Health Co-operative?
We are a group of individuals, passionate about well-being for ourselves and our community. We bring together wellness practitioner members from many disciplines and members to benefit from their treatments. We organize and support wellness programs for members and the wider community. Our Board of Directors is diverse and manages the activities of the VHC as our organization is primarily volunteer-run.
Our Vision is of the Victoria Health Co-op as a leader in a community that supports individual and communal well-being through education, volunteerism and the active pursuit of optimal wellness.
Our Mission is to empower and support individuals and groups, including underserved communities, to adopt healthy lifestyle practices and move towards well-being.
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.
Work environment. 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.
The Victoria Health Co-operative is a community-owned enterprise in which every member-owner has equal rights and responsibilities.
The Victoria 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:
Our Legal Structure:
Articles of Incorporation (PDF coming soon)
What is the International Co-operative Alliance?
The ICA is an independent non-governmental organization which unites, represents and serves co-operative organizations in the world. It was founded in London in 1895. The Alliance members are national and international co-operative organizations in all sectors of activity including agriculture, banking, credit and saving, industry, insurance, fishing, social housing, health, public services, consumer services and tourism. There are 303 member organizations from 105 countries that represent nearly 1,000 million individuals worldwide.
In 1946 the Alliance was the first non-governmental organization to be accorded consultative status with the United Nations. Nowadays it is one of the 41 organizations which appear in Category I on the list of organizations which enjoy consultative statute before the Economy and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC).
Board of Directors
Vanessa Hammond – Chair
As Chair of the VHC 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 VHC 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 licence long ago), and the pre-history and early history of the Celtic lands.
Dylan Bos – Secretary-Treasurer
“The first wealth is health.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Dylan is a Financial Services Representative with Vancity Credit Union and is a third year accounting student at Camosun College. Born and raised in Victoria, he has seen the city grow tremendously and wants to make a positive impact in his local community. He was immediately drawn to the opportunity to join the Board, as he shares the same cooperative vision of jointly working with people in our community to help them thrive. As Secretary-Treasurer, Dylan’s main role within the organization is to oversee the financial administration of the Co-op. This includes bookkeeping, advising the board on financial matters, and generating financial reports in accordance with CRA’s standards. Dylan’s work on to Board is led by his goal to help the VHC be impactful with it’s finances.
Scott Glennie – Director
Scott manages and maintains the Victoria Health Co-op website and assists the Communications Coordinator with developing the Co-op’s web presence. He is a freelance web developer and digital media consultant and shares his work over at scottglenniedesign.com. Scott moved to Victoria in 2016 and found great difficulty finding affordable housing, health, and wellness services. It was through his work with Fairfield United Church (fairfieldunitedchurch.com) that he met Vanessa, the Chair of the Board of Directors, and took interest in co-ops that work to help people like him practice healthy living.
Selina Pieczonka – Director
Selina started her work with Victoria Health Co-op as a social media assistant and joined the Board of Directors as their Communications Coordinator in 2018. As marketing lead, she has helped to develop content and visual designs for Co-op programming, information, and events and aims to keep the Board of Directors organized and their projects on track. Her background includes a variety of volunteer positions, experience as an administrative assistant, medical office assistant, and an event coordinator, as well a degree from the University of Victoria. She has spent a combined 7 years living in Victoria, a city she is starting to call home after many years of exploring. Selina is passionate about health promotion and encourages individuals to access to health education resources to feel confident at any stage of their wellness journey.
Robin Lowry, MD – Director
BIO COMING SOON…