The French Language Services Act (FLSA) guarantees an individual's right to receive services in French from Government of Ontario ministries and agencies in 26 designated areas, and at government head offices. The FLSA provides legislative and political recognition of rights acquired over 400 years in Ontario.
French-language services are not limited to correspondence, telephone or translation procedures. The needs of the French-speaking population are taken into account in the development and implementation of programs, policies and procedures. Furthermore, services received in French must be equivalent to those offered in English, offered at the same time, and of the same quality.
The FLSA applies equally to all Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care classified/statutory agencies for which the majority of members of the board are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor-in-Council such as Local Health Integration Networks.
26 designated areas: In 1986, the FLSA designated specific areas where FLS must be provided by government agencies. Regulation 407/94 designates additional areas. About 80% of Franco-Ontarians live in a designated area. In the HNHB region, those areas are Niagara (Port Colborne and Welland) and the city of Hamilton.
A designation under the FLSA is recognition that an agency has met the government’s designation criteria in providing French-language services to its French-speaking clients and has demonstrated its ability to continue to do so.
Before the government will designate an organization, the organization must:
Agencies can be designated in full or partially. In other words, an agency’s designation may be limited to a specific service or program. This means partial designation, because it does not cover all the services available from the agency in question.
In HNHB, there are two fully designated health service providers: Centre de santé communautaire Hamilton/Niagara and Foyer Richelieu.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care adopted an administrative procedure that consists of identifying health service providers (HSPs) for the provision of French language services. This procedure is not in the French Language Services Act but is considered by government stakeholders to be a transitional or preparatory step towards designation.
Identification is the process by which the LHIN or before it, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, chooses a service provider to deliver specific services in French. The decision not only takes into consideration the location of Francophone communities, but also their health care needs, gaps in existing services, and the capacity of the identified service provider to deliver quality services in French. The LHIN consults the agencies concerned and the French Language Health Planning Entity, but ultimately, the LHIN is responsible for the decision to identify an agency.
Agencies can be identified in full or partially. In other words, an agency’s identification may be limited to a specific service or program. This means partial identification because it does not cover all the services available from the agency in question.
HNHB has 29 identified providers, that are either partially or fully identified.
On June 4, 2009, the Government of Ontario introduced a new, broader definition of the Francophone population to better reflect Ontario’s Francophone community. This broadens the definition of Francophones to “persons whose mother tongue is French, plus those whose mother tongue is neither French nor English but have a particular knowledge of French as an Official Language and use French at home.”
Source: Office of the French Language Commissioner (2009)
EXAMPLES OF FRANCOPHONES WHO ARE NOW RECOGNIZED BY THE IDF
For example, the IDF includes a person born in:
Source: Office of Francophone Affairs