Why should I request services in French ?

Because I am entitled

Since 1986, the French Language Services Act guarantees Francophones in the province the right to receive services in their language, including health services, by departments and agencies of the Government of Ontario.

The Greater Toronto and Mississauga Halton Region are among the 25 designated regions of Ontario where it is possible to receive government services in French.

« Research suggests that language barriers can affect […] on the quality of care and outcomes . » [1]. »
[1]Extrait de From Language barriers in access to health care, , Health Canada (2001)

To minimize my risk

According to research, the provision of services in their mother tongue has several advantages. Of these, we have :

  • assessment of health status is more accurate;

  • patients are more satisfied;

  • the care provided is of higher quality[2].

[2] Extrait de From RH support Kit : Pathway to Bilingual Services, , Rifssso (march 2012)

Our role

Commissioned by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for Ontario, Reflet Salvéo works closely with service providers to ensure Francophones access to quality health care in French.

How to request services in French ?

Anyone who has particular knowledge of French as an official language and who uses French at home has the right to receive services in French from the Government of Ontario and any agency providing services on its behalf. The experience of receiving services in French should be pleasant and efficient. It is the role of the service provider to be proactive in this regard.

 

It is important to request services in French. In a context where Francophones have few opportunities to use their language in everyday life, each service will broaden the continuum of life in French in your community. In addition, in each minority language community, there is a certain percentage of people who do not speak English fluently. As explained by the French Language Services Commissioner in his Special Report on French Language Health Services Planning in Ontario:

« It simply is not true that all Ontario Francophones are bilingual and therefore do not really need French language services. Patients are not going to insist on being heard, understood or cared for in French when they are at their most vulnerable and legitimately preoccupied with their health ».

If your experience in receiving services in French, whether you are bilingual or not, was difficult, you can complain to the Commissioner of French Language Services.

Here are general reasons that make a complaint admissible:

  • The person who serves you does not speak French well enough ;

  • The wait time for the person who speaks French is too long ;

  • There is no one available to serve you in French ;

  • The agency tries to serve you in English without making any effort to serve you in French.

In filing a complaint, you must distinguish between an organization that provides services on behalf of the government and a private company. A private company, like the company that provides your cable and telephone services, has no obligation to serve you in French under the French Language Services Act. It does so purely out of economic interest.

 

Filing a complaint :

 

It is your fundamental right to demand quality services in French at any institution that provides services on behalf of the Government of Ontario. If you find your experience of accessing services in French unacceptable and you believe that your rights have been violated, you may complain in confidence to the French Language Services Commissioner. The Office of the Commissioner will assess and investigate your complaint and will keep you abreast of progress. However, it is important to be able to provide e date, time and place of the incident. Remember the facts and describe the situation well. Gather as much documentation and information as possible about the circumstances of your complaint. You can send your complaint to the French Language Services Commissioner at the following link : csfontario.ca/en/plaintes/comment

 

Note that although you can complain about any available service, it is best to do so primarily about services that have been rated as “Ready to receive people in the community.” You must understand that considerable efforts are being made to increase access. A regular visit to our service availability section will inform you of services “Ready to receive people in the community.”

 

Source:
Healthy Communities Consortium. (2011). Working Together with Francophones in Ontario: Understanding the Context and Using Promising Practices (1sted.). Toronto, ON: hclinkontario.ca/images/Uploaded_files/2011/francophones_guide_English.pdf


French Language Services Commissioner. (2009). Special Report on French Language Health Services Planning in Ontario, Toronto, Ont. : csfontario.ca/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/FLSC_report_french_health_planning_2009.pdf