Ottawa, February 27, 2019 – With the introduction of Bill 74, The People’s Health Care Act, 2019, the Government of Ontario shows that it intends to keep its campaign promise to maintain the gains made by Francophones in the area of health care.
○ The preamble to the Act explicitly states that the public health care system should respect the French Language Services Act.
○ The French Language Health Services Advisory Council will remain in place.
○ The French Language Health Planning Entities will remain in place; they are key to ensuring access to French language health care services.
○ The French Language Services Act will apply to the Super Agency (Ontario Health).
The president of the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario, Carol Jolin, sees this bill as a step in the right direction. “Including the Francophone perspective at the very beginning of decision-making processes is not a matter of identity politics. It’s about ensuring the quality, safety and efficiency of health care services”, he said. “The efficiency of the health care system is maximized when French language health care services are taken into consideration, as recommended in our White Paper on health care.”
The Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario will continue to examine the bill with its members in the health care sector over the coming days to understand all of its ramifications. The AFO will submit a brief when the bill is discussed in committee and will ask to appear before the committee. There are still outstanding concerns.
“There is still the question of maintaining the bilingual designation of health care organizations in the context of the upcoming consolidation. The government has assured us that the designations will remain in place after organizations are merged. We will continue to discuss these types of questions with the government,” said Mr. Jolin.
The Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario (AFO) is the umbrella organisation and the political voice of Ontario’s Francophone community. Its mandate is to assist the Francophone community across the province in working together and to provide community representation, in particular to advocate for the rights of Ontario’s 744,000 Franco-Ontarian citizens.