Maison McCulloch Hospice board members held a small celebration at their annual general meeting on Sept. 11 in honour of being officially designated under the French Language Services Act.
While the hospice has been offering services to their francophone residents for years, this designation now establishes the hospice as a bilingual facililty where offering service in both English and French is listed as a best practice.
Sudbury MP Paul Lefebvre was in attendance for the celebration and spoke highly of the work of the board to attain this designation, a process that began more than four years ago.
"I really wanted to be here tonight for this designation," said Lefebvre. "The fact that we have this bilingual designation ensures the continuity and vitality of this awesome institution. When I get up in Ottawa and talk about palliative care in Sudbury, I'm so proud of what you have accomplished."
The process of attaining this designation is one that began back in 2013 in an effort to better serve a region where nearly a quarter of its residents identify as francophone.
"This will ensure that in the years to come, people will continue to receive quality hospice palliative care right here in both Francais and English," said Kim Morris, board member with the Northeast LHIN.
"We know that as people age and encounter health issues, they revert back to their first language, and that is why this designation is so important. Francophones will be able to receive the care they need at the end of life so they can focus on making every day count."
With this designation, residents at Maison McCulloch Hopsice now have the right to receive services in French.
According to the Act under section 5(1):
"A person has the right in accordance with this Act to communicate in French with, and to receive available services in French from, any head or central office of a government agency or institution of the Legislature, and has the same right in respect of any other office of such agency or institution that is located in or serves an area designated in the Schedule."
"We know that 23 per cent of people in the Northeast LHIN district who are Francophones. We recognize and celebrate our region's cultural diversity as well as the hard work of our staff, board, and partners to include the needs of Francophone people in our decision making at the Northeast LHIN," said Morris.
"(This) designation certainly falls in line with that. The hopsice understands that residents deserve to live their remaining days in dignity and comfort, in the setting of their choice and receiving care in their preferred language.