It is well known that Francophones living outside of Quebec live very different realities than their brothers and sisters in la belle province. A Francophone who wants to live his or her life in French within a province where Francophones are in a minority situation must actively seek opportunities to do so.
For example, Francophones outside Quebec must actively seek French language services, recreation and cultural centers as these are not widely available to us.
A recent exploratory study by Robert McCreight, a student intern at Reflection Salvéo, presents us with The Situational Behaviour of Bilingual Francophones in Toronto. The study highlights some key findings as they relate to Francophones living in the GTA.
Limited access to health
Focusing on the relationship between the active offer of French Language Services and well-being, the study presents the various challenges faced by Francophones who seek health services in French. Often, "it is frowned upon to speak French in the presence of Anglophones." Additionally, Francophones often select English language services in order to prevent a delay in service.
The study confirms what we already know about Toronto’s Francophone community; it is very diverse and in order to better answer their needs we need to learn more about the specific needs of this community.
What can we do?
One proposed solution to reduce barriers to access health services for Francophones that resonated with me was related to communications. The study suggests that "the effectiveness of the technology and social media could certainly play an important role. . . to open a window on La Francophonie of Greater Toronto. "
Our recent French series on social media has this same goal in mind, but with a provincial context. These new social media tools allow Francophones to support one another and distribute more broadly news, resources and events within the various communities across the province.
You can read the full report here.