Concept of linguistic minority


A linguistic minority

Since 1990, the French Language Services Act (FLSA) has guaranteed Francophones in the province the right to receive services in their language, including health services, from Government of Ontario ministries and agencies. The Greater Toronto Area and Mississauga Halton Region are among the 26 designated regions where it is possible to receive government services in French.

Statistical data indicate that Francophones in Ontario have made great strides over the years. They are more numerous, better educated; they earn more money and are less unemployed; the population is more diverse. However, because of the high level of immigration to Ontario, the demographic weight of the Francophone minority is diminishing.

The Double Minoritization of Francophone Immigrants

Experience shows that Francophones do not always request services in French, even if the provider has put these services in place. The weak sense of belonging of Francophones in Ontario partly explains this phenomenon of disengagement and assimilation, which is closely linked to the minority situation of Francophones in Ontario.

In addition to the complexity of the sense of belonging and the minority situation, there is the factor of the diversity of the Francophone community in Ontario. Ontario’s Francophones share the French language, but the Franco-Ontarian community is marked by diversity: in ethnicity, religion, origin, education, culture, income, values and experience.

If Francophones are therefore most often in the minority within their communities, this is even more true of recent immigrants and racialized communities. Visible minority Francophones face a double minorization:


Linguistic minority in predominantly English-speaking Ontario


A visible minority in a predominantly white French Ontario.

They bring with them cultures and values different from those of native-born Francophones; they face the challenges of integrating into a new society (marginalization, job search, poverty, adaptation). Sometimes they have experienced the trauma of war or terrorism. They often do not speak English and are often unaware of or have difficulty accessing services in French.

There is often a lack of cultural awareness on the part of service providers and practitioners in general regarding the definition of illness, means of healing and cultural behaviours used in some cultures. The result can be deteriorating health, stigmatization, and the double exclusion of French-speaking immigrants by their culture AND their language.

It is therefore essential to take into account the diversity of Francophone communities in the planning, implementation and delivery of health services in French.

That is why, on June 4, 2009, the Ontario government adopted a new and expanded definition of the Francophone population to better reflect the new realities and diversity of Ontario’s Francophone community. Previously, Francophones were classified according to mother tongue, defined as “first language learned at home in childhood and still understood at the time of the census.

Francophone Inclusive Definition (FID)

The new FID is based on three census questions on mother tongue, home language and knowledge of official languages. The FID measures the number of people whose mother tongue is French and adds those whose mother tongue is neither French nor English, but who have a specific knowledge of French as an official language and who use French at home, including recent immigrants to Ontario for whom French is the language of integration.

Why ask for health services in French?

Research shows that there are several advantages to providing services in one’s mother tongue. Among these, we have :

  • The assessment of health status is more accurate;
  • Patients are more satisfied; and
  • The care offered is of better quality.

In other words, receiving health services in one’s first language, even if one understands English very well, ensures better health outcomes and reduces the risk of adverse consequences related to, among other things

  • Diagnosis;
  • To the treatment(s);
  • To the follow-up of medical advice ;
  • When taking medication or reacting to medication;
  • To the healing process;
  • Complications; and
  • Unnecessary tests and specialist services.

That is why it is important for francophones to request health services in French. Entity 3 strongly encourages active demand and informs Francophones, but also lobbies FSSs to provide health services in French.


1 Yonge Street, 3014
Toronto, ON M5E 1E5


L – F: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm




to our newsletter
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Visit us at

on social networks