Community Care Access Centres
Ontario’s Community Care Access Centres (CCACs) are non-profit agencies managed by independent boards of directors. There are 14 CCACs in the province; each one is independent and receives funding from its Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).
The CCACs act as health service providers in their localities. In particular, they coordinate admissions to long-term care facilities and manage access to in-home health care. As health service providers and in accordance with their accountability agreements with the LHINs, the CCACs are required to comply with provincial laws and government regulations.
Rights to French-language services
The Community Care Access Corporations Act, 2001, which establishes the Community Care Access Centres (CCACs), contains the following provision: “A person has the right to communicate in French with, and to receive available services in French from, a community care access corporation.”Under this act, the CCACs’ boards of directors are responsible for taking all reasonable measures to ensure that French-speaking citizens may exercise this right.
The Commissioner’s Office is delighted with the fact that Francophones have this right entrenched in the statute governing the CCACs, because it wasn’t always so. The right to service in French prescribed in the act stems from legislative amendments made in 2012 following the change in the CCACs’ status and a 2009 recommendation by the Commissioner to maintain the CCACs’ obligation to comply with the French Language Services Act.
Complaints against the CCACs
The Office of the French Language Services Commissioner receives, accepts and processes complaints against the Community Care Access Centres. When the investigation team receives complaints about the CCACs, the process involves bundling them together and bringing the entire bundle, rather than individual complaints, to the attention of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. In some cases, the Commissioner’s Office will take citizens’ complaints directly to the centres concerned.
While anyone can use French in his or her dealings with the CCACs, the law does not solve every problem. Much remains to be done, particularly with regard to human resources planning for designated positions. Consequently, filing a complaint with the Commissioner’s Office can lead to changes and positive measures such as the hiring of bilingual staff, the planning of French-language services and the availability of materials and documents in French.
History of the 2009 status change
On April 1, 2009, the Community Care Access Centres ceased being government agencies and became non-profit organizations managed by independent boards of directors. Needless, to say, this change came as a surprise to many people, including the Commissioner himself, who responded immediately by criticizing it as a step backward for Francophones and French-language services.
Under the amendments to the Community Care Access Corporations Act, 2001, board members and CEOs were no longer appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, a change that had a direct impact on the CCACs’ obligation to provide service in French. This diluted the accountability relationships between the CCACs, the LHINs and the Ministry.
The fact that the CCACs were no longer subject to the French Language Services Act resulted in complaints from citizens who were, rightly, concerned about these changes affecting the provision of French-language services.
Contacts were initiated with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to rectify the situation, which in turn led to a recommendation in the Commissioner’s 2009-2010 annual report. The issue was resolved as the Ministry made a commitment to amend the act governing the CCACs to ensure that Francophones would continue to have the right to communicate with them in French. The Commissioner’s Office was satisfied with this response from the government, which fulfilled its promise in 2012.