It’s an impressive accomplishment. In 15 years Québec has witnessed the launch of more than 50 health services co-operatives, of which about 40 are active. They aren’t confined to rural areas or small centres, but have spread to the cities as well. Like it or not, health service co-ops are no longer the "hiccup" they were taken for in the 1990s. They are now card-carrying members of Quebec’s health service network. In light of that, co-op specialist Jean-Pierre Girard retraces their route to date and reflects on the factors that spurred their progress: an entrepreneurial spirit, a desperate shortage of rural doctors, Québec's legislative recognition of the solidarity co-operative, and a determination to widen the horizons of mainstream health care.
An additional report by the same author summarizes the work that has gone into promoting and informing the health co-operative movement in Canada since 1996, especially with respect to the models originating in Québec and Japan. Research, study tours, conferences, and incessant tending of international and national networks have all been very important to making the co-op better understood by co-operators, as well as the general public.