French Services in Manitoba

This section of our site provides background information about the context in which Santé en français works: that of French-language health and social services in Manitoba. To learn more, read the context below and select links from the menu on the left.

Current context

In 1989, the Government of Manitoba established its French-Language Services Policy. Its purpose was to provide French‑speaking Manitobans, and the institutions that serve them, with government services in French comparable to those provided in English. Click on “French Services Regulations” from the menu on the left to learn about the Policy.

The fifth regional health authorities (RHAs) that are designated bilingual, the four child and family services authorities and various social and health service delivery organizations are affected by the policy. Each is required to deliver a specified level of French-language services in accordance with the active offer concept. Select the link from the menu on the left to learn more about designated bilingual organizations.

In 2004, the CCS was designated the official representative of Francophone communities in Manitoba in the areas of health and social services by the Government of Manitoba. It is currently working with the government to establish an official process for the designation of Francophone and bilingual health and social services institutions and programs with a view to enhancing access to these services in French.

Historical context

French and English have been the two official languages of Canada since 1867, the year of Confederation. The importance of this linguistic duality is, moreover, recognized in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which contains constitutional guarantees with respect to the status and use of the official languages.

The province of Manitoba was established in 1870 when Louis Riel, a bilingual Métis, signed the Manitoba Act, giving equal status to the French and English languages in the newly created province.

Shortly thereafter, in 1890, the Government of Manitoba passed the Official Language Act making English the only official language in the province. It took until 1979 for the Supreme Court of Canada to declare this act unconstitutional.

In 1969, Canada’s Parliament passed the Official Languages Act, which recognizes the equal status of French and English. Its primary goal was to ensure that people had access to services from federal institutions in the official language of their choice. Twenty years later, the Act was amended to specify the rights of citizens with respect to the language in which services are provided, and also to state the government’s commitment to the promotion of the linguistic duality.

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