The Commissioner asks the government to remedy the precarious situation of Francophone patients
TORONTO, November 23, 2016 – The French Language Services Commissioner, François Boileau, today submitted a brief to the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly expressing his dissatisfaction with Bill 41, an Act to amend various Acts in the interests of patient-centred care.
“The clear lack of an offer of French-language health care services persists. The government is very aware of this gap, but nothing has been put in place to address the situation. This bill is a golden opportunity for the government to ensure that Francophone patients are offered health care services in French. It must act and close the legal loopholes, because this issue affects the health of the Francophone population,” explained Commissioner Boileau.
In his speech, the Commissioner also referred to the concerns of the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care who indicated in his 2015 “Patients first” discussion paper that Franco-Ontarians are not always well-served by the health care system. The minister also admitted that service providers and even health care specialists had observed these gaps in French-language health care.
Despite these findings, the government has only proposed band aid solutions that fail to address the heart of the problem. As a result, Francophone patients remain at risk because they still cannot receive health care services in their language, in spite of the multiple reports and recommendations issued by the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner.
“It is inconceivable that today Francophone patients still cannot access health care services in their language. The gravity of the situation is only increasing because the proposed changes do not solve the real problem: health care service providers are not accountable for the lack of health care services in French,” added Commissioner Boileau.
- The brief highlighted a series of changes that would grant Francophones an official role in planning French-language health care services.
Several recommendations were made, including:
- The LHINS must recognize the French Language Health Planning Entities as partners when planning French-language health care services. To this end, the LHINs should work closely with these entities to identify French-language service providers, but also to define expectations in terms of the quality of services required;
- Add the statutory obligation of LHINs to ensure that service providers comply with their obligations under the French Language Services Act.
The Office of the French Language Services Commissioner reports directly to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Its principal mandate is to ensure compliance with the French Language Services Act in the delivery of government services.
Lead, Strategic Communications
Office of the French Language Services Commissioner
Telephone: 416‑906‑7021 or 1‑866‑246-5262 (toll free)
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