Action on French Language Health Services urgently required, according to the Commissioner



    TORONTO, May 7 /CNW/ - François Boileau, Ontario's French Language
Services Commissioner, is urging the government to take action on French
language health services. In his Special Report on French Language Health
Services Planning in Ontario, made public today, the Commissioner made eight
recommendations, including a recommendation that the proposed regulation on
Francophone community engagement be amended without delay.
    The Commissioner wants the government to equip the Local Health
Integration Networks (LHINs) with planning entities, as provided in the Local
Health System Integration Act, 2006. "An advisory committee is not a planning
entity. Clearly, the proposed regulation needs to be amended to create
planning entities, as provided for in the Act. These planning entities will
enable the LHINs to understand the needs of the Francophone communities they
serve, once and for all," stated Mr. Boileau.
    The Commissioner also recommended the creation of a French Language
Services Coordinator position within each LHIN. "This position must be added
to each of the LHINs so that they are accountable for their decisions to the
government and to the Francophone community. They must be able to justify the
actions they take on French language health services. Having a coordinator
position filled by a senior official will put an end to inadequate French
language health service planning," added Mr. Boileau.
    For the Commissioner, failure to take action will have serious
consequences for the Francophone community. Action is urgently needed because
access to French language health services is an issue in quality of service.
For this reason, Mr. Boileau is insisting that the Francophone community be
involved in the planning of its health services. He is calling on the
government, service providers, and the community to work together as never
before to improve the health of Francophone citizens.
    "The Francophone community must no longer be put on a waiting list. It
has specific needs. It has an aging population. Hence the urgent need for
action. We cannot ask a vulnerable, eighty-year-old patient to fight to
receive medical services in French. For this reason, it is vital that French
language services be developed and offered on the basis of the specific needs
of Ontario's Francophones. It is up to the ministries and the LHINs to more
adequately plan and adapt the health services that are offered to
Francophones," emphasized Mr. Boileau.
    The Commissioner expects that the government will respond positively to
his report and follow up on his recommendations.
    "The government has demonstrated that it has good intentions and it has
listened in recent months, particularly during the controversy over the
proposed regulation. Consequently, I expect to see the same openness when it
comes time for the government to respond to my special report," concluded the
Commissioner.

    
    QUICK FACTS

    -  This special report is the first of its kind since the French Language
       Services Commissioner was appointed in August 2007.

    -  The French Language Services Act enables the French Language Services
       Commissioner to present to the Minister Responsible for Francophone
       Affairs special reports on any matter relating to the Act.

    -  The Office of the French Language Services Commissioner was created in
       2007. It has a mandate, under the French Language Services Act, to
       conduct independent investigations in response to complaints or on its
       own initiative; to prepare reports on its investigations; and to
       monitor the progress made by government agencies in the delivery of
       French language services in Ontario.

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                                                      Disponible en français
    




For further information:

For further information: LEARN MORE: Marie-Eve Pépin, Communications and
Public Relations Officer, Office of the French Language Services Commissioner
of Ontario, Phone: (416) 314-8247, Toll-free line: 1-866-246-5262, E-mail:
marie-eve.pepin@ontario.ca; To download the Commissioner's Special Report:
www.flsc.gov.on.ca/en/content/publications


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