By Gordon Lambie
Local Journalism Initiative
English-language advocacy groups in the province of Quebec are worried about changes that they say could dramatically impact the way English-speaking people in the province receive health services in their own language.
Quebec’s Act Respecting Health Services and Social Services has, for the last 35 years, stated that “English-speaking persons are entitled to receive health services and social services in the English language.” Access to those services is supposed to be outlined in an access program specific to each establishment, which is then to be reviewed every three years under the guidance of a regional committee. Those regional committees then provide feedback to a provincewide committee which does its own review before sending recommendations on to the Minister of Health.
“The right to services in English depends entirely upon the quality of the access program, and the quality of the program depends on the quality of the committees,” said Eric Maldoff, Chair of the Quebec Community Groups Network’s Health and Social Services Committee, pointing out that an active and engaged provincial committee that is able to interact with different parts of the province’s English-speaking communities is well placed to highlight the issues that come up in conversations around healthcare.