Exemplary Practices

Honourable Mention: Building Health Service Providers’ Capacity to Deliver French-Language Services

Throughout the past year, the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network (TC LHIN) has focused on increasing awareness amongst its health service providers about the shared responsibility to deliver health services in French. To help them comply with the French Language Services Act, the Toronto Central LHIN initiated a capacity survey last year which required each health service provider ─ including those that are non-designated ─ to conduct a self-evaluation of its capacity to deliver French-language services. The objective of this survey was to identify gaps in these services, and to outline areas where assistance was needed from the LHIN to implement adequate French-language services.

The Toronto Central LHIN is working with agencies to build their collective capacity to deliver French-language services through collaboration, shared knowledge and resources. This is part of the French-language services strategy that the Toronto Central LHIN has adopted, which includes mandates to provide Francophones with access to French-language services across the full range of health services, create formal and informal partnerships among French-language services providers to optimize the use of scare resources, and work with French Language Health Planning Entities to build awareness of the active offer of French-language services. These are just some of the mandates that constitute the Toronto Central LHIN’s strategy to improve the active offer of services for the Francophone clientele, and I believe this strategy will prove to be an effective method to achieve several targets.

The Honourable Mentions Series is a series of 15 blog posts that the Commissioner is releasing to individually highlight initiatives by government ministries and agencies that demonstrate efforts to expand the delivery of high-quality French-language services, as listed in his 2012-2013 Annual Report. The full list of honourable mentions and the relevant blog posts are available here.

Honourable Mention: Raising Awareness of the Importance of French-Language Services Among Supervised Access Program Staff

The Supervised Access Program offers separated families a safe, neutral and child-focused setting to facilitate exchanges and visits in order to deal with difficulties that may arise as a result of the difficult circumstances that these families are facing. The program is funded by the Ministry of the Attorney General and delivered by third party providers ─ supervised access centres ─ under the supervision of trained staff and volunteers.

In order to raise awareness amongst staff about French-language services and ensure that these services are offered for those who need them, the Supervised Access Program of the Ministry of the Attorney General created a French Language Services Subcommittee with membership from both the ministry and the supervised access centres in order to exchange best practices, share tools and resources, and create protocols for providing French-language services to its clientele.

I am aware that this subcommittee created an interactive user-friendly French-language services orientation e-learning module for all supervised access centres’ employees to help them better understand and fulfill the needs of their Francophone clientele. The module includes French-language services legislative requirements and clarifies the concept of active offer of services in French for the staff, by providing practical tips and tools to support them.

The staff participating in the French Language Services Subcommittee is confident that the e-learning module will support Supervised Access Program employees in their duties by enhancing their understanding of requirements and best practices related to services in French as applicable to everyday situations. This will ultimately result in a higher quality of service and a more satisfied Francophone clientele. I congratulate the Ministry of the Attorney General and, the Supervised Access Program in particular, for this important initiative.