A Word from the Chair of the Board of Directors
As we mark our 20th anniversary, I thought I would go back to the Réseau’s origins. The Réseau was born in the wake of a major transformation of the health system, the transformation that almost led to the disappearance of Hôpital Montfort. Twenty years later, it is important to recognize the progress made over our two decades of existence. In light of this reflection, it is also time to remind ourselves that transformations are opportunities to be seized to achieve new gains for the Francophone community.
In 1999, Francophones created the Réseau with the objective of establishing an organization serving their interests in the area of health services. This was a very ambitious vision at the time, yet it certainly has produced lasting results.
Over the last 20 years, the Réseau has been a stakeholder in all the various restructuring processes. It has also often been a pioneer: a pioneer of the national Mouvement Santé en français, a pioneer for French Language Health Planning Entities, a pioneer in the collection of evidence-based data on the health of Francophones and the French language services capacity of the system. Our journey has not always been an easy one. However, one thing remains constant: the Réseau has been able to adapt to change to achieve continuous progress for its community.
In 2019, we once again find ourselves at the centre of a major reorganization of the health system. With strong backing from our members – renewed during our strategic thinking exercise on community engagement and Réseau membership – we are ready to seize the day.
Together let us plan for better access to health services so Francophones can live healthy lives in French.
Finally, I would like to thank all those who have contributed to the Réseau over the last twenty years: our individual and corporate members, the members of the Board of Directors, the President-CEO and her team as well as all our collaborators. I would also like to thank our partners: the Société Santé en français, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Champlain and South East LHINs.
I also wish to salute the Champlain and South East LHINs, with whom we have had the opportunity to work since their creation in 2006. This collaboration intensified when we were appointed as a Planning Entity in 2011. On behalf of the Réseau, I thank you most sincerely for your contribution to the achievement of our shared objectives.
MBA, CMC, Colonel (Honorary) FAC-CAF
A Word from the President-Chief Executive Officer
This year marked the end of our first joint Réseau-LHIN three-year French Language Services Strategy. 2018-2019 was also the first year of Société Santé en français’ Healthbound 18-23: Toward Access programming. Finally, this was also the second year of our contract to collect and analyze data for the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
How do we reconcile all these priorities? By relying on a Strategic Plan that aligns our efforts with what matters most to the Francophones in our region. It is important to remember that our organizational aspiration is still the following: “Partner in the transformation of the healthcare system, the Réseau shapes the active offer and strategies to improve access to French language health services. The Réseau monitors the implementation of these strategies and contributes to viable solutions to provide high-quality French language health services”.
And so, against the backdrop of the impending system reform, the Réseau continues its collaboration with its many partners: senior officials, elected representatives and Francophone and community organizations. We intervene upstream so that French language services are not forgotten by the system transformation. This is why we submitted – through the Regroupement des Entités de planification des services de santé en français de l’Ontario – a brief to the Standing Committee on Social Policy of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario on Bill 74: An Act concerning the provision of health care, continuing Ontario Health and making consequential and related amendments and repeals. (The Regroupement des Entités was one of 30 stakeholders invited to appear before the Committee – of the over 1400 people who sent in a request!) This is also why we took part in the various regional consultations held by the Premier’s Council on Improving Healthcare and Ending Hallway Medicine; we also helped the Council with the active offer of French language services during the consultations.
In line with its organizational aspiration, the Réseau remains vigilant to ensure that the requirements for designation are maintained. It is continuing its work with health service providers to support the sustainability of high-quality French language services. Finally, thanks to OZi, it is sharing with all actors in the health system the data needed for implementation of French language services across the province.
Despite the ongoing restructuring, the Réseau is maintaining the course it set in its Strategic Plan. Of course, we are dealing with new players and new government priorities, but our mission and vision remain the same.
The Réseau’s team is changing along with the health system, which does not stop us from continuing to work on improving access to a continuum of high-quality French language health services. Thank you to all our staff who have, once again this year, embodied our organizational values: collaboration, excellence, inclusion, respect and perseverance. Thanks to your work, the Réseau is ready to face change with confidence.
With the creation of Ontario Health Teams and the upcoming restructuring of the health system, some local healthcare providers, programs or services will likely be subject to integration. Under these circumstances, designation under the French Language Services Act remains a pillar in ensuring the maintenance of French language health services within the healthcare system. That is why the Réseau continues to focus on designation as a means of fostering the local and permanent active offer of high-quality French language health services.
To this end, the Réseau is continuing its proactive support to service providers who must submit a designation plan or statement of compliance to the Ontario Ministry of Francophone Affairs. As of the end of 2018-2019, 58 identified or designated providers in the Champlain and South East regions had submitted a French Language Services Report via the OZi portal. And no fewer than ten designation plans or statements of compliance have been presented to the Réseau’s designation committee. Of these, two plans – from the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Ottawa and the Eastern Ottawa Resource Centre – were sent to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to obtain their designation or statement of compliance on the Réseau’s recommendation. Congratulations!
In the interests of continuous improvement, the planning and community engagement team also put together a status report on designation in the region. As a result, we are pleased to say that identified and designated providers’ rate of compliance with designation requirements has been steadily increasing over the last three years in the Champlain region, in all care sectors. This exercise will also enable us to propose strategies for supporting designation progress in the Champlain and South East regions.
The Réseau thus has the tools and knowledge it requires to foster French language services capacity building, namely by offering a personalized support service to providers wishing to develop and structure their French language services provision, but also by making sure that designated services are maintained post transformation.
Governance and Thought Leadership
The Réseau continues to exercise collaborative thought leadership that enables it to understand the environment in which it operates and to anticipate the impact of the upcoming changes. The Réseau wishes to collaborate, as a full partner, in the success of the health system transformation so that Francophones have access to the health services they need.
This is the spirit in which the Réseau, through the Regroupement des Entités de planification des services de santé en français de l’Ontario, made a presentation and submitted a brief during passage of Bill 74: The People’s Health Care Act, 2019. This document put forward three recommendations: that Ontario Health Teams be subject to the French Language Services Act (FLSA) and that service provider integrations respect obligations under the FLSA; that Ontario Health Teams have the obligation to collaborate with the Planning Entities; and that a new regulation regarding the Planning Entities be adopted at the same time as Bill 74 to reflect the collaboration between the Entities, Ontario Health Teams and the Ontario Health “super agency”.
Following the crisis of November 15, 2018, it goes without saying that the Réseau stands in solidarity with the Francophone community. That is why it has supported the steps taken by its community partners to emphasize the importance of accountability mechanisms for French language health services in Ontario.
Finally, for the Board of Directors, 2018-2019 was marked by an important reflection on the Réseau’s community engagement model. Following a consultation process and a strategic retreat, our governors chose to reaffirm the importance of membership and community engagement as organizational foundations.
Indeed, individual members represent the Francophone community, which remains at the centre of the Réseau’s mission. In anticipation of the coming systemic changes, the Réseau will be relying on the feedback and experience of its individual members to guide its actions.
Similarly, corporate members provide high-quality French language health services and are essential partners in French language services planning. The Réseau will thus need to strengthen its collaboration with them to improve the provision of French language services, and in particular through the future Ontario Health Teams initiative.
In conclusion, many of our achievements in 2018-2019 would not have been possible without the support of our financial partners: Health Canada and the Société Santé en français (SSF), the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Champlain and South East LHINs.