The youth population in our region is growing. There are 10% more — the equivalent of about 330,000 young people — in 2021 than in 2016explained Alex Munter, co-chairman of the steering committee of the health team.
Demands for care services are on the risehe observes.
At the same time, the demand for pediatric services in French is just as high. In Eastern Ontario, he says, the need is dire.
The report finds that health and social service providers in the Champlain region are unable to offer services in French to all young Francophones.
During our investigations, we discovered that several agencies did not have the tools to make an active offer of health services in French, although they had theexplained Jacinthe Desaulniers, President and CEO of the French Language Services Network of Eastern Ontario (RSSFE).
Some agencies do not know where the young French-speaking patients are and what their needs are. The territory is vast, Francophones are dispersed and information about them is difficult to find, explains Ms. Desaulniers.
Another challenge: recruitment. Several agencies have to deal with a shortage of French-speaking staff.
The most important issue in the health system is access to human resources. For Francophones, it’s a double challenge because you don’t just need employees who are competent in the services they offer, but they also need to be able to do it in French.pointed out Ms. Desaulniers.
Funding is also an issue.
In health, for Francophones, there are often initiatives, but they are project-based and there is not necessarily sustainability. [dans l’offre]explained the President and CEO of the RSSFE .
An interactive platform to the rescue
The health team
Children first relies heavily on its brand new interactive digital platform in which it has gathered a lot of information on young Francophones and their health needs.
This platform should solve a first problem of access to customer information, believes Ms. Desaulniers.
There is data on Francophones, where they are, their socio-demographic factors, and data that we have been able to obtain from all kinds of studies such as indices of deprivation she detailed.
The platform also identifies service points.
On the subject of funding, the federal Minister of Official Languages, Ginette Petitpas Taylor, who made an appearance at the unveiling of the report, recalled that her government is already doing its part.
In our action plan for official languages, we have invested more than $22 million to improve health care for official language minority communities, including $10 million to specifically support health services for young people childrenshe pointed out.
She also recalled another federal initiative. If Bill C-13, which aims to modernize the Official Languages Act, is passed, the federal government will be obliged to protect official language minority community institutions such as health care.