Celebrating Franco-Ontarian Day with Access to French Language Health Services on the Rise

September 25 2014

In the past three years alone, the NE LHIN has supported 10 designation requests, bringing the total to 42 health service providers to be officially designated to provide services in French in the North East LHIN region. Meeting the health care needs of those who speak French is a focus for both the North East LHIN and the Réseau du mieux etre francophone du Nord de l’Ontario (RMEFNO) in an area of the province that is home to more than 125,000 Francophones.

With today being Franco-Ontarian Day, evidence of collaborative progress – like another five health care providers actively working toward designation – is cause for celebration.

As part of the health service planning process, the NE LHIN engages with and requests advice from the RMEFNO on the needs and priorities of French-speaking communities. The Réseau supported the NE LHIN’s patient engagement strategy sessions this year with The Change Foundation, held in North Bay and Sault Ste. Marie, by bringing forward the voice of Francophone clients.

As part of the RMEFNO’s accountability agreement with the NE LHIN, a Recommendation Report is submitted to the NE LHIN on a yearly basis. The recommendations guide the work and endeavours of the LHIN with respect to French language health services.

The NE LHIN and the RMEFNO are pleased to report that more than 75 per cent of the 2013-2014 recommendations have been put into action.

The RMEFNO also provided information toolkits on ‘active offer’ of French language services to more than 90 health service providers in the Northeast. An ‘active offer’ means that the onus is on the provider to inform the public of the availability of services in French and how to access them. As a result of the toolkits, 15 health service providers have requested information sessions on how they can enhance access to French language services in their organization.

“I understand how important it is to maintain and support the development of access points to French language health care services for fellow Northerners, and I regard our work with the RMEFNO and other partners as key to this improvement in access,” said Louise Paquette, EO, NE LHIN.

“I am very pleased with the collaborative effort of all parties. This clearly demonstrates the NE LHIN’s commitment to the provision of quality health service in French and the value placed on the recommendations brought forth by the RMEFNO,” said Diane Quintas, Executive Director, RMEFNO.


  • More than 600,000 Francophones live in Ontario, which is 4.8% of the population. However, in the NE LHIN region in Northeastern Ontario, there are 125,085 Francophones and they comprise almost 23 per cent of the total population. This is the largest number of Francophones, by region, in the province.
  • The largest proportion of Francophones in the North East is in the Cochrane District (46.76%), followed by Nipissing/Temiskaming (22.16%), and Sudbury (21.38%).
  • The RMEFNO Recommendation Report 2013-14 is available here on the NE LHIN website, and also on the RMEFNO website.
  • The NE LHIN and RMEFNO have worked together, along with local health service providers, since 2012 to improve access to quality health services in French. Much of the focus has been on supporting health service providers seek designation under the French Language Services Act; improving access to quality health care services in French by evaluating the capacity of providers regarding services in French; increasing awareness on the importance on of an Active Offer and improving strategies for the collection of data on Francophones.

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For more information, please contact:
Kathleen Bain
Communications Officer