Health care and social services

Following the decentralization of federal responsibilities, most health services are now the responsibility of the territorial government. Health care services are still clearly inadequate as the two transfer agreements between the federal and territorial governments did not provide for the development of French-language health services or the establishment of a plan to deliver these services or even global social services in French, despite the fact that Yukon Official Languages Act recognizes the obligation to serve the Francophone population in French in priority sectors, including health.

French-language services at Whitehorse General Hospital and the Health Centre are minimal. The Francophone community continues to lobby for better services. In 2003, Les EssentiElles conducted a study on behalf of AFY on the health care needs of Francophones. In this study, more than 70% recognized the importance of obtaining health services in French; the study also identified priority intervention sectors in terms of addressing the concerns of Francophones. The same year, the Government of Yukon, in partnership with AFY and the Partenariat communauté en santé, developed a five-year plan on the delivery of French-language health services, but to no avail, since the plan will not be funded.

The study and subsequent planning mostly served to help develop programs and services for Francophones as projects at the community level:

  • The French-language health networking initiative, thanks to the Partenariat communauté en santé (PCS), a member of the national group Société santé en français (SSF);

  • The health resources centre open to the public and health care professionals (PCS);

  • The availability of training and professional development through the Consortium national de formation en santé (CNFS) in collaboration with the PCS and the Service d'orientation et de formation des adultes;

  • The S'aider pour mieux aider les autres [Helping yourself to better help others] initiative by the caregivers support group (PCS);

  • The Vieillir en santé [Growing old healthy] project aimed at Francophone seniors with social (Les EssentiElles) and health (PCS) components;

  • The Mamans, papas et bébés en santé project, made possible by the Canadian program on prenatal nutrition (Les EssentiElles);

  • Le Nombril, a magazine on perinatal issues (Les EssentiElles);

  • The French-language services directory, which includes a section on health (AFY and PCS).

Recent, some planning work was carried out by the Partenariat communauté en santé and its partners to develop a model for the delivery of bilingual health services and implement better practices in the area of French-language health care in Yukon. As the main representative of the Francophone community, AFY continues to lobby the governments for the full implementation of the Official Languages Act in the area of health care. This would give Francophones and visitors in Yukon access to more French-language health services in the territory.