Health Bulletins

Update: Health System Integration

July 7, 2017

Welcome to our July issue! We are pleased to share this update on the French language services (FLS) work supported by the Patients First Act, 2016.

Commitment to Improving Access to High Quality French Language Health Services:
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (“ministry”) is committed to improving access to high quality French Language Health Services across the province. The passage of the Patients First Act, 2016 provided a solid framework for renewed partnership, and brings increased focus on enhancing equity, cultural and linguistic sensitivity, the delivery of health care services to Francophones and Indigenous peoples, and strengthening patients’ and families’ voices in their health care planning.

To highlight the importance of FLS, the Patients First Act includes a requirement “to promote health equity, reduce health disparities and inequities, and respect the diversity of communities and the requirements of the French Language Services Act (FLSA), in the planning, design, delivery and evaluation of services.”

The Minister’s 2017-18 Mandate Letter issued to the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) further outlines the importance of promoting health equity and reducing health disparities. The letter also highlights other key priorities for the LHINs, including assessing the FLS capacity of health service providers within LHIN sub-regions, as well as the extent to which Francophone citizens are provided with an active offer of health services in French, and emphasizes the need for improved planning to strengthen health services in French.

In order to support the implementation of the Patients First Act and improve access to FLS, the ministry will continue to engage and collaborate with key stakeholders and informants, including the French Language Health Services Advisory Council (Council), French Language Health Planning Entities (Entities), the FLS Commissioner, and the Office of Francophone Affairs.

Collaboration on French Language Services:
In August 2016, the FLS Work Stream was established with membership from the ministry, LHINs, Entities and Community Care Access Centres (CCACs) to explore mechanisms to improve French language health service accountability and performance, and to support access to linguistically appropriate services in the LHINs.

The Work Stream has:

Proposed Regulatory Changes to support French Language Services:
The ministry has now proposed amendments to Regulation. 515/09 under the Local Health System Integration Act, 2006, which if passed, will strengthen accountability for the planning and delivery of FLS and will better reflect the collaborative relationship between the LHINs and the Entities.

The proposed changes have been publicly posted on the government’s Regulatory Registry website and published in the Ontario Gazette for 60 days period from July 1, 2017 to September 1, 2017. The ministry welcomes feedback on the proposed amendments and will consider any comments received during this period during the final preparation of the regulation.

French Language Services Realignment Update:
In order to better integrate planning for the delivery of FLS into health care system transformation, the ministry’s French Language Services Office (FLSO) has been realigned from the Corporate Management Branch (CMB) in the Corporate Services Division (CSD), to the LHIN Liaison Branch (LLB), in the Health System Accountability and Performance Division (HSAPD).

While under the purview of CMB, the FLSO has done important work in providing strategic advice, guidance and support to the ministry related to the requirements of the French Language Services Act, FLS obligations and performance measures, as well as initiatives impacting the French-speaking community of Ontario.

To this end, effective as of Monday June 5, 2017, Tim Hadwen, Assistant Deputy Minister, Health System Accountability & Performance Division is responsible for the French Language Health Services file. This realignment will effectively support our goal of further strengthening health services in French.

As we forge ahead with LHIN Renewal, LLB and HSAPD look forward to working with the FLSO and stakeholders to create a more equitable health care system for Francophones across the province.

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