ACCESS TO HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES IN ENGLISH
Access to health and social services delivered in English is a right conferred by Quebec’s Act respecting health services and social services (Article 15):
“English-speaking persons are entitled to receive health services and social services in the English language, in keeping with the organizational structure and human, material and financial resources of the institutions providing such services and to the extent provided by an access program referred to in section 348.”
Each public institution must develop a program of access to English-language health service and social services for the English-speaking population it serves. This is why the government must create the following statutory committees:
- A Provincial Committee on the provision of health and social services in the English language
- Regional Access Committees (one per administrative region). The mandate of these committees is to participate in the creation of regional access plans.
PROVINCIAL ACCESS COMMITTEE
The Committee’s role
Section 509 of the Act respecting health services and social services provides for the creation of a Provincial Committee for the Provision of Health Services and Social Services in the English Language, often referred to as the Provincial Access Committee. The Committee is created by regulation and its mandate is to advise the Government of Quebec on:
- the provision of health services and social services in the English language;
- the approval, evaluation and modification by the Government of each access program developed by an institution in accordance with section 348 of the Act.
The Act to modify the organization and governance of the health and social services network, in particular by abolishing the regional agencies adds two responsibilities to the Committee’s mandate:
- The approval of requests made by integrated health and social services centres for withdrawal of recognition, as provided for in the third paragraph of section 29.1 of the Charter of the French Language;
- The identification of organizations that promote the interests of English speakers in each region. These organizations will be consulted regarding the appointment of members of regional committees for English-language health services and social services access programs.
The Committee’s composition and mandate
The Provincial Committee for the Provision of Health Services and Social Services in the English Language is composed of 11 members, who are appointed in a way that ensures they are representative of the entire English-speaking population:
- four members residing on the territory of the health regions of Montreal or Laval, including at least three residents in the territory of the Montreal health region;
- a member residing on the territory of the Montérégie health region;
- a member residing on the territory of the Estrie health region;
- a member residing on the territory of the Outaouais health region;
- four members residing on the territory of the other health regions of Quebec.
Members of the Provincial Committee serve in a personal capacity. They do not represent an organization or a social or political group. This is intended to prevent any conflicts of interest.
The composition of the Committee is intended to be as representative as possible of Quebec’s English-speaking population. Members are appointed for three years and their mandate can be renewed only once.
The Committee is composed of the following members:
The Health and Social Service Committee is an advisory committee of the Board of Directors. The committee’s mandate is to inform the English-speaking community and its organizations of the changes made to the Health and Social Service network. The committee also works with organizations that represent the English-speaking community to assure that representatives of the community occupy the seats available on the boards of integrated health boards, aka CISSSs and CIUSSSs, installation advisory committees, Regional Access Committees, Users’ committees, foundation boards and owning corporation members. It also acts on behalf of the QCGN Board to represent the interests of the English-speaking community of Quebec to the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux and other stakeholders.
The QCGN coopted members of its Bill 10 Reference Group to form a Standing Committee on Health and Social Services. The Committee’s mandate is to inform the community of changes to the health and social services network; to ensure the continuing engagement of community members in our institutions; and to represent the interest of the community to the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux, the newly created Centres Intégrés and other important stakeholders. It was clear from the outset that the work of this Committee is vital and that it will require significant support and resources. As issues arise the need for resources to support volunteers is increasingly urgent.