Ottawa, April 3, 2019 – The Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario (AFO) has submitted its brief to the Standing Committee on Social Policy studying Bill 74, The People’s Health Care Act, 2019. As the representative organization of Franco-Ontarians, the AFO believes that the bill gives the Government of Ontario the opportunity to ensure that access to French language health services will be protected if a few amendments are included.
The AFO’s president, Carol Jolin, notes that “neither the French Language Services Act, nor Bill 74 in its current form, provide effective protection to organizations providing French language health services to Francophones in the event of an amalgamation of institutions. What will happen when an organization designated under the FLSA is integrated into another organization that isn’t designated? There have been many cases in the past where French language services were lost when services were integrated, for example, when two campuses of Georgian Bay General Hospital were combined.”
In its brief, the AFO submits four (4) recommendations:
1. Provide legislative assurance that organizations which provide French language services and are designated or in the process of obtaining designation under the French Language Services Act will retain their designation following integration;
2. Clarify the role of the French Language Health Planning Entities;
3. State that the integrated health service delivery systems (Health Ontario teams) are designated under the French Language Services Act (FLSA);
4. Strengthen the Bill’s preamble.
« I expect that the Government of Ontario will respect its campaign promise to maintain the French language health services provided to the people of Ontario. Tabling Bill 74 was a first step in that direction. Another key step forward would be to protect current designations under the FLSA and to further define the role of the French Language Health Planning Entities”, says Mr. Jolin.