By Jack Wilson
Local Journalism Initiative
Angela Moore, a complaints advisor at the CAAP Estrie, the region’s healthcare complaint assistance centre, said she hasn’t noticed any uptick in language-related complaints since Bill 96 took full effect June 1. Still, the complaints advisor suggested a shift in provincial language policies might be emboldening some healthcare workers to mistreat anglophones.
The CAAP Estrie doesn’t process complaints, instead helping clients submit complaints to the Service Quality and Complaints Commissioner. Its services are offered in both French and English free of charge. The CAAP handles healthcare-related complaints as well as those relating to lease issues in seniors’ residences. As the sole English-speaking complaints advisor, Moore estimated close to half of her clients are anglophones.
Many clients report difficulties accessing healthcare in English, Moore said. “People are refusing service because ‘ici on parle français.” Some call their experience “one of the first times they’ve ever felt discriminated against,” she added.
Bill 96 reformed Quebec’s language regime, further restricting access to English-language services. Some areas, including healthcare, are exempt from its restrictions. The province confirmed the CAAP is exempt from Bill 96, since it provides health services, Moore said, allowing her organization to continue distributing bilingual pamphlets and offer bilingual services.