What are my rights to receive health care services in French?

In Ontario, hospitals and health agencies don’t have to provide health care services in French. But some hospitals, long-term care homes, and other health-related agencies give all of their services in French and English. This is because they have applied to be a “designated agency”.

Some hospitals and health agencies only have partial designations. This means that only some of their services are offered in French and English. For example, a hospital may offer administrative and emergency services in French and English, but not services like physiotherapy.

If a hospital or health agency is a designated agency, all their French services must be provided by employees who speak French well. If they have a partial designation, then only the services offered in French must be provided by employees who speak French well.

To find out if your local hospital or health agency provides services in French, check this list.

Provincial government

You have the right to services in French from Telehealth Ontario and Health Care Connect. These services are provided by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and the Ministry of Community and Social Services.

To speak to a registered nurse for information and advice about your health concerns, use Telehealth Ontario. This phone service is confidential and free. It is available in French and English, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you don’t have a family doctor or nurse practitioner, you can make an online request to Health Care Connect to find one. They will send you contact information for a doctor or nurse practitioner in your area who is taking new patients.

Home and Community Care Support Services

Ontario also has 14 Home and Community Care Support Services (HCCSS’s) that manage health services locally. Every HCCSS has a French Language Services Coordinator who can tell you where you can access French services.

Complaints

If you don’t get services in French from a public hospital, long-term care home, or home and community service coordinated by an LHIN, talk to them. If they can’t resolve the issue, you can complain to the Patient Ombudsman.

If you don’t get services in French from a designated agency, or their French services don’t meet your needs, you can complain to the Ontario Ombudsman French Languages Services Unit. Complaints are confidential. You can make a complaint online or in person, by mail, email, phone, or fax.

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