French-speaking residents of Kingston now have the option of receiving some health services in their native language.
The French Language Health Services Network of Eastern Ontario (the Réseau) and VON (Victorian Order of Nurses for Canada – Ontario Branch) have announced a major step forward for French-language health services in South Eastern Ontario: VON’s Kingston site was recently partially designated under Ontario’s French Language Services Act.
Becoming designated under the French Language Services Act is a long-term endeavour, as designated health service providers must carefully and fully develop and structure their French language services, according to a release from the Réseau.
The designation of VON is an important milestone, the Réseau stated. This is the first time a health care agency has been designated in the Kingston area.
“The Réseau would like to congratulate VON on the scope of the work accomplished,” said Jacinthe Desaulniers, Chief Executive Officer, French Language Health Services Network of Eastern Ontario. “This is excellent news for the local community, which will henceforth be able to count on receiving home care in French! Access to care in French is a fundamental issue for us: when we are sick, we are not bilingual. And as we all know, miscommunication can lead to complications. French language services are therefore a factor in the quality and safety of care for Francophone patients.”
According to the release, the following programs will now be offered in French in the Kingston area:
- Assisted Living Services
- Meal Delivery
- Congregate Dining
“We are proud that VON’s Kingston site is the first designated health care organization in Kingston,” shared Jo-Anne Poirier, President and Chief Executive Officer, VON Canada. “As a partner and corporate member of the Réseau, this designation will enhance access to exceptional home and community care through VON to Francophone clients and their families in the Kingston area.”
Currently, designated health care agencies must comply with 34 requirements that ensure they have the capacity to provide French-language services that are available at all times, offered in an equitable fashion, and equivalent to the quality of services offered in English, according to the release. Designated agencies must also submit a statement of compliance every three years to demonstrate that they still meet designation requirements. As legal recognition, designation is rather like a seal of quality for French-language health services.
To learn more about designation and the benefits it offers the Francophone community, please consult the Réseau’s FAQs on designation under the French Language Services Act.