Bill 10 will now protect rights of English-speakers

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After months of negotiations with Health Minister Gaétan Barrette, Quebec’s English-speaking community obtained important changes to Bill 10. These changes will preserve many of our institutions despite the loss of their
individual boards of directors. They create opportunities for meaningful participation of English-speaking Quebecers in our

After months of negotiations with Health Minister Gaétan Barrette, Quebec’s English-speaking community obtained important changes to Bill 10. These changes will preserve many of our institutions despite the loss of their
individual boards of directors. They create opportunities for meaningful participation of English-speaking Quebecers in our
institutions, and will help ensure the health and social service network is responsive
to their needs.
The community’s main goals were: to protect access to services in our own
language; the continuing participation of our community in the delivery of culturally and linguistically sensitive health and social services; accountability of the
institutions to our community; the
preservation of the bilingual status of our institutions; the continued existence of the corporations of our institutions and the protection of their assets as well as the rights of their members; and finally an ongoing connection to our foundations, universities and research institutes.
Some of the changes include granting bilingual status to two of the integrated health and social service centres, known as CISSSs (Centre intégrés de santé et
services sociaux), in the Montreal region; English-speaking representation on every CISSS across the province; and two seats for our universities on the boards of
university hospitals. The new advisory committees that were optional in the
legislation, as first proposed, will now be compulsory in all of our recognized
bilingual institutions. These statutory
committees will be critical watchdogs in ensuring the protection of the social,
cultural and linguistic needs of the
populations served by their institutions.
The legislation ensures every Integrated Health and Social Services Centre has an access program for services in English, which must include the human resource plan that enables it, and a strengthened access advisory committee. The members of these committees will be representatives of the English-speaking communities. Regional access committees will have a role in identifying the people who will sit on boards of the new regional institutions. The legislation also contains provisions that protect the integrity of our owning corporations, which will maintain their veto over any changes to the clinical mission of a given facility, the liquidation of any assets, or any modification of the bilingual status of facilities designated as such under article 29.1 of Quebec’s Charter of the French Language.  
“Now it is up to our communities to be proactive in this new environment,” remarked former MNA Clifford Lincoln. “The onus is on us to get involved in the boards of the new institutions, the
institutional corporations, user and
advisory committees, as well as the provincial and regional access committees. The law provides lots of room for our community to engage as a community. Rights are not meaningful unless you exercise them.”
Rita Legault,
The Quebec Community
Groups Network,
Montréal