Surgical interventions in the private sector: what impact for care in French?

Between concerns and questions, many Franco-Ontarians are still struggling to fully understand the repercussions that the transfer to the private sector of thousands of operations covered by health insurance.

We have everything to lose, we Francophones. »

A quote from France Gélinas, NDP MP for Nickel Belt

The deputy of NDP France Gélinas fears the repercussions of this expansion of the role of the private sector on services in French. In private clinics, the French Language Services Act (FLSA) does not apply. They have no motivation to offer services in Frenchsummarizes the one who is the spokesperson for the New Democrats on health.

Nickel Belt MLA France Gélinas of the New Democratic Party of Ontario.

Nickel Belt MLA France Gélinas of the Ontario New Democratic Party

Photo: Radio Canada

Equal access to services in both languages province wide will not be respected, already predicts France Gélinas.

I would be enormously surprised if we had a French-speaking surgical clinic [privée] in Ontario. I would be really really blown awaylaunches France Gélinas.

Two languages, two speeds?

The Ford government promises that it will melt waiting lists by 25% thanks to the transformations it is proposing. But will the wait also decrease for Francophones? Nothing less certain, believes France Gélinas.

According to her, patients who request services in French will be forced to receive them in hospitals, since the clinics will not be able to accommodate them. Hospitals will also retain the most complex procedures and could lose more staff to independent clinics.

It will mean that if you want your service in French, you will have to wait at the hospital. And hospital wait times will increase.

Details matter

I can’t wait to see a little more detail. It is certain that this causes great concern. The president of the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario is awaiting clarification from the Ministry of Health.

Fabien Hébert believes that the intentions behind the Ford government’s plan – to reduce wait times – are laudable, but for now, he has more questions than answers about the repercussions this announcement will have for Francophones in the province.

A man in a cafeteria.

The President of the Assembly of the Francophonie of Ontario, Fabien Hébert

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jimmy Chabot

Which clinics will be chosen? How are we going to be able to serve the francophone population through these places that will be created? wonders Mr. Hébert. Health is a file that he masters, since he was CEO of the Smooth Rock Falls Hospital for nearly 15 years.

[Je souhaite] that the government take steps to ensure that some of these clinics are able to offer services in French. »

A quote from Fabien Hébert, President of the Assembly of the Francophonie of Ontario

Fabien Hébert would also like the private clinics that provide care reimbursed by the province to be considered as third parties as part of the modernization of LSF. Such a designation would force these clinics and independent care facilities to offer bilingual services, according to Mr. Hébert.

I think it would be proof of the goodwill of the government to ensure that in their negotiations with private providers, they provide for accessibility to services in Frenchhe points out.

Mr. Hébert intends to have a good talk on this point during his next meeting with the Minister of Francophone Affairs, Caroline Mulroney.

There should be provisions in certain designated bilingual regions so that people can have services in French. It should be there. That’s the big worryadds Michel Tremblay, Executive Director of the Federation of Francophone Seniors and Retirees of Ontario (FARFO).

When it’s a matter of urgency, when it’s a matter of pain, we are no longer bilingual. Often, we take the first opportunity to be curedhe regrets.

He believes that the plans proposed by Mr. Ford may have temporary good, but should not be a permanent approach.

At the time of publishing this article, the Ministry of Health had still not answered our questions.

With information from Camille Gris Roy

Surgical interventions in the private sector: what impact for care in French?