History of the CHAC

On June 15, 1939, at a meeting held in Milwaukee of the Catholic Hospital Association of the United States and Canada (CHAUSC), two Canadian religious sisters and two Canadian priests, who were delegates at the meeting, met with a specific goal in mind – to form a Canadian Council of the CHAUSC.

The formation of the council was based on a number of fundamental considerations: respect for Canada’s francophone community and the regional composition of Canada. The council was intended to concern itself exclusively with the problems affecting Canadian Catholic hospitals.

The first elections of the Council took place in the fall of 1939 in Toronto. Many consider this to be the foundation date for the CHAC. However, it was not until 1942 that the Catholic Hospital Council of Canada (CHCC) was founded as a completely independent organization.

In 1954, The name was changed to the Catholic Hospital Association of Canada (CHAC). In 1963 long term care facilities were invited to become members of the CHAC. To reflect this new composition of membership, the name of the organization was changed again in 1976 to its present title, the Catholic Health Association of Canada.

In 2006 the CHAC developed a new mission statement – to strengthen and support the ministry of Catholic health care organizations and providers. Its new mandate centres on two main activities:

  1. Advocacy: to be the national voice of Catholic health care organizations; and
  2. Governance: to foster the distinctive mission and organizational culture of Catholic health care organizations.

On April 24, 2009, after 7 months of study and consultation, the CHAC Board of Directors presented to the delegates at the Annual Meeting, a proposal for the redesign of the national association. The proposal reflected a consensus that it was necessary to change the structures that exist at the national level to better support the mission and ministry of Catholic health care in Canada.

The proposal represented a fundamental shift in that it called for the national association model to be replaced by a forum or alliance of the Catholic health care Sponsor organizations. The proposal highlighted the leadership responsibility, and accountability for the ministry, that rest with the Sponsors.

The proposal was unanimously approved by the delegates at the Annual Assembly. With that vote the Catholic Health Association of Canada ceased to exist. It was replaced by a new organization -- the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada. During 2009-2010 the Association offices that had existed at the Diocesan Centre in Ottawa were closed, A new governance and operational structure was established for the new organization. This structure was put into place in 2010 at which time the new Alliance established an office at St. Vincent's Hospital in Ottawa (part of Bruyère Continuing Care).

Faithful to a mission
Faithful to the Mission
Fifty Years of the Catholic Health Association of Canada
by André Cellard & Gérald Pelletier
Compendium cover

A Compendium of the Catholic Health Association of Canada
by Greg J. Humbert

nurse image

The Great Canadian Catholic Hospital History Project

History Book Cover

Catholic Hospital Books/Booklets Digital Project