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.

Across our local communities - northern Toronto, York Region, South Simcoe - 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%

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, including:

  • City of Markham 
  • City of Toronto    

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 appointed six French Language Health Planning Entities (FLHPEs) to advise 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.  

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. 

Many other local HSPs offer some, or all, services in French, including Home and Community Care Support Services Central as well as York Support Services Network which provides 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 

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.