3. Francophone perspective
Alternative methods of service delivery are not simple service delivery mechanisms, in that they must align with their environment. The implementation framework for alternative forms of service delivery should be in three (3) phases. Respecting these three phases will ensure that the Francophone perspective is taken into account in their development and implementation.
- Choose the proper organizational structure (ministries, agencies, corporations and third parties) to perform this form of delivery service. This choice must be made while taking into account legal and organizational implications. The Francophone lens is an indispensable tool to take into account the Francophone variable in this first stage of planning the restructuring of public services.
- Create the most appropriate model for the delivery of services. This must be integrated onto a strict community consultation process. In this respect, community hubs can serve as a framework to better select the service model.
- Manage the performances of the new service delivery structure. The government must reinforce its accountability mechanism, which is essential for services in French and their providers.
The stakeholders’ communication and commitment guarantee the success of any initiative to restructure public services. It is therefore essential to continue the proactive involvement of Francophones in the planning and implementation process of alternative forms of service delivery. This proactive and ongoing involvement of the Francophone public is a strong guarantee of the success of the offer of public services for vulnerable populations.
The Commissioner shares the opinion that the restructuration of in-person services is an important, inevitable and irreversible process. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure, through a strict and inclusive process, that Francophones’ needs and priorities are taken into account during the development, implementation and evaluation of this restructuration.
The Commissioner recommends to the government, the establishment of an interdepartmental working committee under the coordination of the Minister Responsible for francophone Affairs in order to develop a guide for implementing alternative models of service that take into account the needs and specificity of the francophone population of Ontario.
For the Commissioner, it is more necessary than ever and relevant for the government to clarify the definition of government agencies and the obligations underlying the service-offering structures. He calls once again on the government to settle once and for all, between now and the end of this fiscal year, this issue that will have a particular domino effect on the delivery of in-person services.
Finally, on reviewing this text, it is clear to the Commissioner that if the Ontario government does not provide a framework for mergers of hospitals and health facilities through a strict process of consultations and commitments with Francophones communities, the results will be mitigated, to say the least. The Commissioner again sees the problem transposed in children’s aid societies. The recent Child, Youth and Family Services Act provides for possible mergers of children’s aid societies. If this happens, the Commissioner reiterates that it is fundamental to take into account the merged structures’ legal commitments to offer services in French and to ensure the continuity of these services in the new version. The Commissioner also underscores to the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services that section 16 of the Act does not always fulfil or respond to the needs of children and their families to have access to services in French “where appropriate.”