French language services supports for Ontario Health Teams

To keep up to date on all news related to Francophone services and Ontario Health Teams, please sign-up for the French versions of RISE’s monthly newsletter and the OHT supports events calendar, and visit our archive of Francophone newsletters.

Improving equitable access to care and improving health outcomes and experiences is core to the vision for Ontario Health Teams (OHTs). As outlined in the OHT guidance document, released in 2019, at maturity OHTs will be responsible for providing health services that meet the needs of their communities, including Francophones. This entails in part recognizing the value of French language health services and ensuring they are appropriately incorporated into a person-centred system of care for all Ontarians.

To support these objectives, OHTs can draw on the assets and resources that have been developed by health-system partners, including the French Language Health Planning Entities (FLHPEs), (please see distribution of Entités across the province as well as each of the Entité’s websites: Entité 1, Entité 2, Entité 3, Entité 4, RSSFE, RMEFNO), and Ontario Health’s French-Language Services Regional Representatives.

Organized below by population-health management step and by each of the eight OHT building block, the following assets and resources provide guidance for all OHTs to strengthen French-language health services planning and design and ensure adherence to the French Language Services Act (FLSA) (1990) for health-service providers that make up OHTs serving a Francophone designated area. Designation under the FLSA is a legal and administrative process that allows health-service providers to demonstrate that they have the capacity to actively offer French-language services on a permanent basis while meeting the specific needs of the Francophone population they serve.

Resources to support OHTs’ planning, design and delivery of services that meet the needs of Francophones, as well as resources to support the engagement of Francophones, organized by population-health management step

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Step in population management approach, including implementation considerations 
RISE Partner organizations Ministry Curated searches

Population identification

  • Describe the socio-demographic profile of the Francophone population using the Inclusive Definition of Francophone (in 2009, the Ontario government adopted the inclusive definition of Francophone, which states that Francophones are “persons whose mother tongue is French, plus those whose mother tongue is neither French nor English but have a particular knowledge of French as an Official Language and use French at home”) 

Segmenting and understanding barriers to care

  • Ensure navigation, case management and care coordination are available in French
  • Identify French-language service gaps and extend partnerships to design care pathways for Francophones covering full continuum of services

Co-designing care pathways and service mix 

  • Develop a community engagement plan that includes Francophones on committees and in consultations
  • Include Francophones in the co-design of programs and services
  • Develop a French-language human resources policy to support the active offer of French-language services including:
    • identification of the linguistic profile required for each position
    • recruitment of employees proficient in French

Implementation and reach

  • Provide an active offer of French-language service including in line with the FLSA:
    • bilingual reception 24-7
    • mechanisms to proactively identify Francophone patients
    • care coordination and planning available in French
    • referral to French health services based on patient needs
    • all digital tools (including websites) are available in French including admission forms and client-facing documents available in French and actively offered to French-speaking clientele
    • visible identification of employees proficient in French
  • Ensure that contracts signed with third parties that offer services on behalf of OHTs include a clause stating their obligation to ensure the offer of French-language services

Monitoring and evaluation

  • Ensure performance measures across the quadruple aim are calculated and reported by linguistic identity
  • Ensure a mechanism is in place to evaluate satisfaction with French-language services (i.e., satisfaction survey)
  • Ensure a complaint mechanism is in place for French-language services

Resources to support OHTs’ planning, design and delivery of services that meet the needs of Francophones, as well as resources to support the engagement of Francophones, organized by OHT building block

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OHT building blocks

Assets and resources
RISE  Partner organizations Ministry  Curated searches
Building block #1: Defined patient population (who is covered, and what does ‘covered’ mean?)
  • The Entités developed a provincial guide highlighting the importance of identifying Francophone patients. This guide also provides standardized and adapted data-collection tools to inform French-language health service based on linguistic identity
  • The Réseau franco-santé du Sud de l’Ontario, in collaboration with Société Santé en français, created eQUITY Fundamentals, a guide to support providers to self-assess the status of their offer of French-language services, identify next steps through recommended strategies and develop a personalized action plan
  • Statistics Canada provides census data and Canadian community health survey data
Building block #2: In-scope services (what is covered?)
Building block #3: Patient partnership and community engagement (how are patients engaged)
Building block #4: Patient care and experience (how are patient experiences and outcomes measured and supported?)
Building block #5: Digital health (how are data and digital solutions harnessed?)
  • Ministry of Health Digital Health Playbook (English and French)
Building block #6: Leadership, accountability and governance (how are governance and delivery arrangements aligned, and how are providers engaged?)

Building block #7: Funding and incentive structure (how are financial arrangements aligned?)

Building block #8: Performance measurement, quality improvement, and continuous learning (how is rapid learning and improvement supported?)

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