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

1. Learn about designated agencies

Ontario has 243 designated agencies, including some hospitals and community health agencies. Designated agencies have agreed to provide services in French and applied for French-language designation.

Services in French include services provided in person, over the phone, by email, and in writing. You must be given a choice to use either language from the time of first contact. An example of this is the use of “Hello-Bonjour”. This is sometimes called an active offer.

If your hospital is a designated agency, they must offer services in French. And, they must employ people who speak French well.

The entire hospital can be designated or only parts of the hospital. If the entire hospital is a designated agency, they must offer all of their services in French. But if the hospital only has a partial designation, only the services listed on the designation must be offered in French. For example, a hospital may offer administrative and emergency services in French and English, but not services like physiotherapy.

Even if your local health care provider isn’t a designated agency, you can ask if services are provided in French. You can also ask if they have French-speaking staff who can help you.

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