History of La Coopérative Le Chez-Nous ltée
La Coopérative Le Chez-Nous ltée is a non-profit community care facility that has operated under a co-operative management structure for more than 25 years. Under this structure, members of the community own the co-operative; it is managed by a volunteer board of local people; profits are reinvested into the co-operative and the local community; and there is a deep commitment to develop local human and social expertise.
Le Chez-Nous was founded and incorporated in 1991 by a group of volunteers who wanted to provide community care for their families in their community. The first resident was admitted in March 1993. Le Chez-Nous’ mission is to offer a secure and comfortable environment for residents by providing them with personalized care, services and activities in their chosen language.
Today, 198 members have capital shares in the co-operative and a vested interest, not only financially, but in delivering quality personalized care and services to residents. Many of these members are also volunteers. The solidarity among members has created a prosperous organization with a strong sense of community.
The co-operative has approximately 250 volunteers of all ages who support Le Chez-Nous in ensuring residents receive the best care possible while staying connected to their community. Volunteers assist with meal service and social activities such as bingos and card games, planting and taking care of the vegetable gardens, playing music, providing foot care , esthetics and hair styling services and religious services. Volunteers make an enormous contribution towards improving the daily lives of residents and help bring community life and spirit inside Le Chez-Nous. Volunteers are regularly recognized, and Le Chez-Nous is confident that they will continue to play an important role in the quality of life of its residents.
Expansions were made to the building in 2009 and 2013; Le Chez-Nous has 43 single rooms and two double rooms, accommodating a total of 47 residents. Twelve rooms are set up according to provincial standards to house residents requiring personalized long-term care when the appropriate license is obtained. Another expansion for the addition of 12 private rooms is presently under construction. This expansion will include a large room devoted to activities for seniors of the community.
Providing a high quality of service to residents remains a paramount consideration at Le Chez-Nous at all times. The co-operative offers family members assurance that other interests will not override the interests of those receiving care. There is no incentive in the co-operative structure to shortchange service quality for considerations like profit maximization. Le Chez-Nous enjoys great financial stability because of this co-operative structure and has a loyal following and deep roots in the community.
Since the centre is a non-profit co-operative and registered charity, all earnings and donations are reinvested in the services provided to Le Chez-Nous’ residents. For Le Chez-Nous, reinvesting in the care of residents means having a well-trained, fully bilingual, well-paid and stable work force and the best services possible. The co-operative also recently acquired the assets of La Coopérative d’hébergement Le Bel-âge which include 14 profitable seniors’ apartments built in the last 10 years (six single units and eight double units). These apartments are located practically across the street from Le Chez-Nous. This acquisition allows our co-operative to continue to expand services offered to seniors in the community, including housing at a reasonable cost. The co-operative is also presently exploring a variety of services that could enable seniors to stay in their homes and in their community longer. This may include transportation services for both residents of the facility and seniors in the community for medical appointments, meal delivery at home, and equipment rentals at no cost. Currently, Le Chez-Nous invites seniors from the community to participate in some of its social activities. These types of inclusive activities could be expanded on, in order to reduce isolation of seniors who continue to live at home.
The co-operative model used at Le Chez-Nous is seen as an exemplary management model by other organizations and communities within PEI and across Canada. Outside organizations have visited the facility and met with the management team to learn more about the co-operative model, and how it can be used to successfully manage a community care facility. In 2012, the co-operative was featured in a documentary called “Building a Better World: A Co-operative History of PEI”. The film was a joint initiative of the PEI Co-operative Council and Le Conseil de développement coopératif. It features photographs and interviews that give a rich and personal account of the impact that the co-operative movement has had on PEI, including the success of La Cooperative Le Chez-Nous. Le Chez-Nous model is also listed as a success story in the book “Controlled Experience Economy” by Paul Wilkinson and Jack Quarter of the University of Toronto.
The co-operative is recognized as an excellent home for seniors where they can continue to speak the language of their choice at all times and continue to experience their Acadian culture and heritage while enjoying life in their community with families and friends close by.
Le Chez-Nous has received numerous awards over the years. In 2018, it received the national award Lauriers de la PME, Service Business Category from RDÉE Canada. In 2017, it received the Social Economy Business of the Year Award from the Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI. In 2016, the Chez-Nous management received special recognition as Diversity Champion for the integration of workers from other provinces and countries.