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Provincial Language Services

Provincial Language Services strives to create equitable language and communication access to all health information for patients and clients.


Provincial Language Services supports organizations providing services to their linguistically and culturally diverse clients, including immigrants, refugees, official minority language speakers and members of the Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing community through addressing language and communication access issues and barriers. 

Services we provide
Provincial Language Services offers high quality language access services to health authorities, family practice practitioners, specialist offices, and other allied health professionals.

Services that Provincial Language Services provides:

Service benefits

Using an equity-driven approach, Provincial Language Services works to ensure that communication between the patient and provider is accessible.  All of our services assist in creating equitable access to health care for patients who speak immigrant and refugee languages, official minority language speakers (French in B.C.) and members of the Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing community.

Services include interpreting (rendering of oral language), translation (rendering of written language), community outreach, health navigation services, and knowledge translation promotion. 

Our services optimize the delivery of safe and equitable health care for patients with various cultural and language needs.
About us
Provincial Language Services is committed to providing equitable language access for people accessing health care across B.C.

We believe in building stronger connections and improving equitable access to health services for immigrant and refugee language speakers, Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing, and Francophone patients. We have actively engaged with community members to understand their current needs better.

The Provincial Language Services grew out of the Office for Cross-Cultural Care and Diversity, which provided culturally and linguistically appropriate services at BC Children’s Hospital, Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children and BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre. 

In 2003, the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) created Provincial Language Services so all PHSA programs and other B.C. health care organizations could benefit from these specialized language services. Provincial Language Services was created to address the needs of immigrant and refugees language speakers. Since its creation, it has grown to serve the Francophone community and the Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing community.

‎In 1997, due to a Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms challenge (Eldridge v British Columbia), the Supreme Court of Canada ruled equitable communication access for Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing patients was required when they access health services in B.C.  


The court found a constitutional right to effective communication in health care settings. As a result, in B.C., sign language interpreting services, where the following three factors are simultaneously present, are available at no cost to the patient:


In 2014, the Provincial Health Service Authority made a decision to expand the service to include any health care service provided directly by a B.C. health authority. In 2021, the service was further expanded to include Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) services as a service offering.

Our team

Our team consists of equity-minded leaders, customer service specialists, interpreters and translators with many years of experience working across languages and cultures in: 

  • Project management
  • Linguistics
  • Business administration
  • Communications
  • Other related areas
Provincial Language Services welcomes qualified language professionals to join our team

Privacy

We collect your personal information as authorized under section 26(c) of the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act ("FIPPA") to provide interpreting services to you. We collect your name, address, telephone number and purpose of visit. If you have questions or concerns about collecting or using your information, you may contact Provincial Language Services (see contact information in side bar, or at the bottom of the page in mobile view).
Quality assurance
At Provincial Language Services, quality assurance is a multi-level process embedded in all aspects of our service delivery. Our processes contribute to a culture of continuous improvement of our services and organization.

Provincial Language Services adheres to strict policies and procedures on professional conduct. Any compliment or complaint/incident regarding Provincial Language Services procedures, staff, contract staff and service providers (interpreter, intervenor, captioner and translator) is documented, investigated and tracked.

To make a compliment or complaint

If you are a patient or a patient's loved one, and you have a compliment or complaint about an interpreter, intervenor, captioner or translator, please contact Provincial Health Services Authority - Patient Care Quality Office.

If you have a complaint about health care providers not providing services for your care or your loved one's care, contact your health authority's Patient Care Quality Office.

If you're unsure which health authority to contact, find your health authority by community name.
To report adverse events, good catches (near misses) and safety hazards related to language access, use the Patient Safety & Learning System.

To make a compliment or complaint, please contact Provincial Language Services Quality Assurance.


CameraVideo Call:  Email PLS to schedule a video call

FaxFax: 604-297-9304

PhonePhone:  604-297-8400

mailMail: Provincial Language Services Quality Assurance
                             1795 Willingdon Avenue, Burnaby, B.C. V5V 6E3

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