“Franco-Ontarians face challenges obtaining health services in French. To meet their needs, and improve their patient experience and health outcomes, we must ensure that the health care system is culturally sensitive and readily accessible in French.” – Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Patients First: a Proposal to Strengthen Patient-Centred Health Care in Ontario, Discussion Paper, December 17, 2015.

Beyond the need for the patient to be served in French, the development of services in French in Ontario is part of a legislative context.

French Language Services Act

In Ontario, the French Language Services Act confers upon members of the public the right to receive services in French from the provincial government, notably in the designated areas. Every government ministry and agency in these areas must offer French-language services to their clientele, even if their offices are located outside the designated area. Thus, regardless of where government offices are located, it is the location of the clientele that determines the offer of French-language services in the designated area.

As of the 1st of July 2018, there are 26 designated areas under the French Language Services Act.

List and Map of designated areas

View the video created by Improtéine on the French Language Services Act. A humoristic approach published but the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner

Organizations that are partially funded by public funds (eg, hospitals, children's aid societies and long-term care homes) and that work on behalf of provincial ministries are not legally bound to offer services in French. However, they may apply to be officially designated as organizations offering services in French.

The full list of designated organizations is available under the Ontario Regulation 398/93

For more information on the designation, read the section FLS Planning

Bill 74, The People's Health Care Act, 2019 was passed by the Ontario Legislature on April 18, 2019. This bill outlines significant changes to the health care system including:

  • the creation of Ontario Health, a single agency to take on the responsibilities of 20 pre-existing agencies, including Cancer Care Ontario and the 14 Local Health Integration Networks, to oversee health care delivery
  • the creation of 30 to 50 Ontario Health Teams across the province to deliver 'a full and coordinated continuum of care to a defined geographic population'

To highlight the importance of FLSaccording to the People's Health Care Act: 

  • Ontario's public health care system must comply with the French Language Services Act, including in the planning, design, delivery and evaluation of health care services for Ontario's French-speaking communities
  • Ontario Health is subject to the provisions of the French Language Services Act
  • The Minister's Advisory Committee on French Language Services is maintained
  • French Language Health Planning Entities will collaborate with Ontario Health