Policy shift riles English advocates: Health insurance board switches from bilingual to ‘en français’ at service centre

QUEBEC – Quebecers will face a French comprehension test before being served in English at the provincial health insurance board, which recently switched its communication policy from bilingual to “en français” at its customer service centre.

The move by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) to revise its communications to comply with Bill 101, the province’s French-first language policy, worries minority-rights advocates.

In the wake of five complaints related to RAMQ’s language restrictions, a provincial English-language advocacy group says the policy will hurt patients seeking crucial health information, for example about medical therapies, psychiatric treatments or specific drug coverage for cancer and other illnesses.

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