French Language Primary Care Services – An Essential Service for Francophones

April 13, 2021  

In the one year since the government enacted a Declaration of Emergency because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a radical shift has occurred in how many Ontarians access primary care services. What has not changed is the vital role of primary care as the entry point of the health system.

‘’When we are sick, when we are worried about our health, we need to feel reassured and understood,’’ says Yves Lévesque, Entité 4 Board Chair. ‘’Today’s campaign is about ensuring the Francophone communities we serve know that seeking care in French is an option and know where to turn for primary care services in French.’’

‘’One of the fundamental characteristics of primary care is an ongoing relationship between the patient and the professional providing care,’’ adds Lisa Gotell, Interim Executive Director. ‘’This relationship is built through communication, and language is at the heart of communication.’’

Entité 4 is partnering with TAIBU Community Health Centre, the Centre francophone du Grand Toronto and CHIGAMIK Community Health Centre to promote the French language primary care services available for Francophones living in the Scarborough, North York, Barrie and North Simcoe areas.

‘’Primary care includes programs and services to treat illness, promote health and prevent disease,’’ continues Ms. Gotell. ‘’Providing these services in French for Francophones increases an individual’s understanding of their condition and empowers them to play an active role in maintaining their health.’’

‘’This year, CHIGAMIK CHC is celebrating 10 years of services in our community,’’ says CHIGAMIK’s Executive Director David Jeffery. ‘’For us, providing primary care services in French is a first step in taking a patient’s linguistic needs into consideration throughout their journey.’’

 ‘’In January of this year, TAIBU CHC achieved designation under the French Language Services Act for our primary care services,’’ says Liben Gebremikael, Executive Director at TAIBU CHC. ‘’Offering primary care services in French for Francophones is helping break down barriers to care for the community we serve.’’

‘’The Centre francophone du Grand Toronto is proud of the work we do with our partners like Entité 4 and other health service providers in the GTA to help bring French language health services closer to Francophone communities,’’ says Florence Ngenzebuhoro, Executive Director of the Centre Francophone du Grand Toronto.

‘’There are many reasons to choose primary care services in French. For a Francophone, choosing health services in French is always a question of safety,’’ concludes Mr. Lévesque.

With a mandate to improve access to French Language Health Services, Entité 4 provides guidance and support to health service providers to increase their capacity to provide French language services and help promote existing services. Entité 4 facilitates community engagement and provides innovative advice on planning, organizing and integrating French Language health Services.

For information about Chigamik’s French language services and programs, please contact Céleste Lalonde, Chigamik’s French Language System Navigator at celeste.lalonde@chigamik.ca or 705-527-4154 x7258.