What is the difference between identification and designation?

Identification is a selection process used by the Ministries of Health and Long-Term Care to plan the delivery of services in French. An organization is identified based on its internal capacity to offer services in French (such as number of employees with French proficiency or number of French-speaking patients using the agency’s services). Unlike the designation under the French Language Services Act, 1990 (FLSA), being identified as a French language service (FLS) provider does not create legal obligations for health service providers (HSP). However, identification can be a step towards partial or full designation.

What is designation?

The designation of an organization is the official recognition by the provincial government of the organization’s ability to offer services in French according to the criteria defined by the Ministry of Francophone Affairs (MFA) under the FLSA. It demonstrates a firm commitment to offer quality services in French, and thus meeting the needs of Francophone clients. It carries a legal obligation towards delivery. The organization must report on FLS matters every year as part of their MSAA.

Types of designation

The designation of an organization can be complete or partial. It is complete when it covers all the organization’s services and programs, and partial when it is specific to a given service or program.

There is no need to be an identified or designated Health Service Provider to offer French language services.

Entité 3 encourages your organization to get invested in this process if:

  • You notice that some of your patients would benefit from French language healthcare services;
  • You have the internal capacity (e.g. staff with French proficiency, staff available and interested in creating a FLS committee, in-person interpretation procedures, bilingual volunteers) to offer some of your services to Francophone patients.

That being said, identification and designation could enhance access to funding options to help your organization provide FLS.

Before starting the FLS designation process:

  1. Connect with your French language health planning entity to get support through the many steps of a designation process.
  2.  Identify, if possible, the number of Francophone patients already served by your HSP.
  3. Identify the number of staff and volunteers with French proficiency in your HSP : HR plan.
  4. Learn about the Francophone community in your catchment area.
  5. Determine if your organization can meet the Ontario Ministry of Francophone Affairs’ criteria.
  6. Assess if your organization can meet all requirements to become a designated HSP.
  7. Explore the Guide to Requirements and Obligations relation to French Language Health Services to obtain more details regarding the role and responsibilities of all parties (MHLTC, LHIN, HSP, French language health planning entity).
  8. Create a FLS committee within your organization.

Once you have a better picture of your internal capacity and the needs of the Francophone community, you must lead your actions towards meeting of the Ministry’s requirements.

When it comes to the identification or designation process, Entité 3 can guide the HSPs with the potential to proceed with the implementation of French Language services. Our contribution is as follows:

  • Provide information on the identification and designation process – this can be done at all levels of an organization, from the Board of Directors to front-line and intake workers.
  • Provide the latest data on local French-speaking populations and their health needs.
  • Guide and support the completion of the designation request form or the identification request letter.
  • Submit forms and letters to the LHINs or to Ontario Health for validation and forwarding to the Ministry of Health.
  • Monitor the administrative process until the request’s approval by the Ministry of Francophone Affairs or other relevant authorities.
  • Share tools and best practices used by health providers to implement health services in French, and give support throughout the entire process.
  • Offer customized training of Active Offer for all decision-making levels of an organization.
  • Make customized tools available as needed.
  • Develop webinars.
  • Connect with other organizations which can contribute to the implementation of FLS plans.
  • Support outreach efforts towards the Francophone clientele and the development of sustained relationships with the Francophone community, its groups, institutions and media.
  • Propose communication tools to promote the availability of French services – depending on resources available.
  • Active Demand workshops for French-speaking customers of health services in your catchment area.

To help you implement French Language Services, use our Toolbox
To access key guidelines and documents et à la fin de la page idem Find useful tools and documents in our Toolbox.