Merger of a Designated Agency with a Non-Designated Agency

As part of my series of blogs about the designation of agencies, I am today emphasizing the question of merger of a designated agency with a non-designated agency.

As I mention in my 2011-2012 Annual Report, when a designated agency merges with a non-designated agency, the services and programs that were the object of the designation must not undergo any change in terms of the delivery of French-language services.

The supervising ministry must submit an application to the Office of Francophone Affairs to amend the regulation in order to better reflect the name of the new, merged agency and to update the directory of services provided, as applicable. Therefore, in my view, no merger between a designated agency and a non-designated institution should be considered if the new facility created by that merger does not maintain all of the services and programs that were originally designated.

In the case of Cornwall Community Hospital, which was created out of the merger of two health care facilities, including Hotel Dieu Hospital, that is precisely what happened. And given the fact that Hotel Dieu Hospital was designated under the French Language Services Act, the new medical facility was then obliged to also apply for designation under the Act. Having acted any differently would have been disastrous for the Francophone community and, more importantly, illegal under the Act and unconstitutional according to the unwritten principles of the Canadian Constitution, as was illustrated in the Montfort court case.

After the Holidays, I am convinced you will appreciate to read comments the Commissioner’s Office received from different agencies that chose to ask for designation and were then given status. Beyond benefits and criteria, it is interesting to hear what the Francophone community has to say.

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