1.9.1. Regulated health professions
Section 86 of the Health Professions Procedural Code essentially gives a person or a member in good standing of a college the right to use French in all dealings with the college. Further, it states that its “Council shall take all reasonable measures and make all reasonable plans to ensure that persons may use French in all dealings with the College.”34
The Commissioner’s Office has received complaints in the past about regulatory colleges that were sometimes slow in implementing section 86. In some cases, there was clearly resistance to the Commissioner’s intervention because his power to investigate was in question. In other cases, there was reluctance to recognize members’ right to receive information and documentation in French about their profession. This presents a significant challenge for Francophones who want to become members of a regulatory college. For example, a nurse from Quebec, even if she has years of experience, is not recognized by the Ontario college. The same may also be true of Francophone immigrant nurses. But how can one join a college when the forms, examinations and information about the membership process are in English? A complaint about this in the past was quickly resolved with the College of Nurses of Ontario.
Thus, the Commissioner’s Office has a number of reasons for keeping an eye on the health professions. The members and especially the public, including the Francophone public, must be reassured that they are being listened to and properly protected. A revised French Language Services Act must cover the regulatory colleges, at least the ones that govern the health professions, and include sections that spell out their obligations to provide French-language services for their current and future members.
The Commissioner therefore recommends that the Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs propose the explicit inclusion in the amended French Language Services Act of the regulatory colleges’ obligations related to French services, both with respect to the public and the colleges’ members. This would automatically give the Commissioner the power to investigate, a power that is currently being contested by several colleges.
34 Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, c. 18, Schedule 2, s. 86 (2).