Francophone Community

Imagine arriving at your health care appointment, and not being able to communicate your needs or appropriately understand the advice of your health care practitioner?

According to a special report prepared by Ontario’s French Language Services (FLS) Commissioner, the absence of active offer of services in French can make certain situations such as accessing health care difficult, particularly for vulnerable users.

In the Central LHIN, there are nearly 31,000 Francophones, or 1.7 per cent of the population (Inclusive Definition). The following chart provides a closer look at where our local Francophone population lives on a sub-region basis.

  French Mother
Francophones by Inclusive
Definition (IDF)
English Mother
No Knowledge of
English or French
North York West   1.0%  1.4%  49.5%  5.9%
North York Central  1.5%  2.3%  40.9%  5.1%
Western York Region   1.1%  1.6% 46.6%   4.7%
Eastern York Region  1.0%  1.4%  42.7%  9.1%
Northern York Region   1.4%  1.6%  80.5%  1.2%
South Simcoe  1.5%  1.8%  77.3%  1.6%
Central LHIN  1.2%  1.7%  50.0%  5.4%
Ontario  4.3%  4.7%  69.5%  2.4%

Provincial Mandate

Central LHIN, which receives its mandate from the Government of Ontario and the Local Health System Integration Act, 2006  is committed to understanding the health needs and improving health services access and outcomes for Francophone residents.

To support our planning, funding and delivery of health care services for the local Francophone community, Central LHIN engages and collaborates with multiple stakeholders including :

French Language Services Act 

Ontario’s French Language Services Act (FLSA), 1990 outlines that Ontarians have the right to “receive available services in French” from any government agency head office, or the offices of these agencies located in designated areas. There are 26 French Designated Areas across Ontario. Within Central LHIN, designated areas are:

  • City of Markham 
  • City of Toronto (Central LHIN sub-regions include North York Central and North York West)

Connecting Care Act

Ontario's Connecting Care Act, 2019 further states that our “public health care system should recognize the diversity within all of Ontario’s communities and respect the requirements of the FLSA in the planning, design, delivery and evaluation of health care services for Ontario’s French-speaking communities”.

Active Offer

To support government offices and others in proactively offering services in English and French, Ontario’s FLS Commissioner published the Active Offer of Services in French: The Cornerstone for Achieving the Objectives of Ontario’s FLS Act special report in 2016. This special report outlines concrete measures to support FLS being clearly visible, readily available, easily accessible and publicized.

French Language Health Planning Entities

In 2010, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care appointed six French Language Health Planning Entities (FLHPEs) to, among other accountabilities, advise 14 LHINs on:

  • Methods of engaging local French-speaking communities;
  • Identifying health needs and priorities of the French-speaking community;
  • Strategies to improve access, accessibility and integration of French language health services in the local health system; and
  • Identification and designation of HSPs to provide services in French.

The Central LHIN, Central East LHIN and North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN work with Entité 4 through a shared Funding and Accountability Agreement.

Local Actions

Central LHIN FLS Action Plan Multicultural, multigenerational group

Working in collaboration with Entité 4, other LHINs, and community representatives (see working groups noted below), Central LHIN is currently advancing implementation of our 2019-2022 LHIN-Entity Action Plan (LEAP).

Guided by this collaborative three-year action plan, we are committed to building, enhancing and sustaining FLS capacity across the continuum of health care – including primary care, palliative care, home and community care, and mental health and addictions services.

Also in support of our action plan, Central LHIN engages with all our funded HSPs to submit an annual FLHS capacity report.

Across the Central LHIN, progress in FLHS awareness and capacity is being made. We are pleased to share a summary report of engagements, actions and successes stemming from our 2016-2019 Action Plan, which was also based on extensive consultation and developed in collaboration with Entité 4 and three LHINs (Central, Central East, North Simcoe Muskoka).

If you have questions or suggestions about our FLS Action Plan, please feel welcome to contact us any time.

FLS Outreach and Engagements 

In 2019/2020, three critical FLS working groups in the Central LHIN include: the North York & York Region Advisory Committee; the Central LHIN FLS Identified HSP Group; and the LHIN-Entité FLS Liaison Committee. As well, Central LHIN has an internal FLS Working Group for consideration of our own staff and operational needs.

In 2018/2019, the Central LHIN co-hosted and participated in several education and information sessions in support of French language health services.

In March 2018, the Central LHIN invited all Central LHIN-funded Health Service Providers to participate in an education session on Active Offer and to prepare for the City of Markham’s French Language Designation which took effect in July 2018.

In November 2018, the Central LHIN invited all local Health Service Providers along with members of the public to attend a special forum on health services for Francophone communities, hosted by Entite 4. This excellent session was entitled “Cap Sur Votre Santé”.

Also in 2018, the Central LHIN invited all local Health Service Providers to participate in a province-wide project to collect data on health sector capacity for the provision of services in French. Results from this activity are being used to identify current service availability and gaps.

If you have questions or suggestions for FLHS outreach, please send us a note.

FLS Designated or Identified Agencies

To be FLS Designated or Identified is an official recognition by the Government of Ontario, and reflects an organization’s ability to provide FLS in accordance with certain criteria. Designated agencies are required to be able to provide services in French, while Identified agencies are those identified to seek official designation at a future date. Within the Central LHIN, the following are FLS Identified agencies:

Many other local HSPs offer some, or all, services in French.  This includes Central LHIN and our provision of home and community care services. As well, Central LHIN funds York Support Services Network to provide FLS Case Management support. Please feel welcome to ask a provider if you can be served in your language of choice.

Additional Resources for Patients, Caregivers and Family Members 

Additional Resources for Health Service Providers 


For more information on Central LHIN’s planning for FLHS, contact Daniel Mainville at, or for information on Central LHIN home and community care services contact Charlene Brown at

Thank You - Merci! 


iInclusive Definition of Francophone, 2011 Census IDF, Health Analytics Branch, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

*Francophones are defined as “those persons whose mother tongue is French, plus those whose mother tongue is neither French nor English but have a particular knowledge of French as an Official Language and use French at home”, as per the inclusive definition of the Francophone population (IDF) adopted by the Ontario government in 2009.