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Francophones Services

A service of the Provincial Language Services intended to facilitate access to care for the Francophone community.

Using an equity-driven approach, Provincial Language Services works to ensure communication between the patient and provider is accessible. All of our services assist in creating equitable access to health care for French-speaking patients.

Funded by the B.C Francophone Affairs Program, the Francophone Services (FS) provides services linguistically and culturally adapted services to the francophone community, including immigrants and refugees.

BC health care system
B.C.'s publicly funded health care system ensures that all eligible B.C. residents have access to medically necessary health care services through the Medical Services Plan (see L'Assurance Maladie (PDF)) and to eligible prescription medications, medical supplies, and pharmacy services through the PharmaCare program (PDF in French). 

Funded by the B.C Francophone Affairs Program, Francophone Services helps organizations provide services to the linguistically and culturally Francophone community, including immigrants and refugees.

Francophone Services has served as a direct access point to health and wellness services and resources for French-speaking British Columbians since 2005 in three main ways:

  • Identifying the Francophone community's specific needs and initiating or promoting projects to improve its access to health care services.
  • Advocating for culturally adapted French resources and in-language services, and supporting the development of services to the Francophone community through initiatives, partnerships and funding.
  • Offering high-quality, on-site or remote interpreting and translation services. Free language services allow patients and their families to access health authorities, family practice practitioners, specialist offices, and other allied health professionals, eliminating cultural and linguistic barriers.
  • 995 persons and families to access health authorities, family practice practitioners, specialist offices and other allied health professionals’ services have solicited professional interpreters and translators to optimize de delivery of safe, efficient and equitable health care.
  • Over 500 individuals and families have received help from the coordinator, and most requests concerned Medical Service Plan (MSP), PharmaCare, where to get resources in French and access health care. 
  • 250 Community events and partnerships have been set up to promote service around B.C. (social media posts…).
  • The Cafe de Paris was launched in collaboration with RésoSanté. This program is aimed at improving health care professionals' French language skills with a package of 14 hours of free one-on-one coaching with trained instructors. So far, 420 people have completed the program, contributing to increasing the quality, safety and equity of the B.C health care system. 
  • PLS supported and/or coordinated 15 newcomer outreach projects to guide and facilitate immigrants' access to Healthcare services. 
  • Began a PLS lead research project on the toxic drug crisis and its impact on the Francophone community.  
  • Started to promote Cardiovascular Health Awareness Program (CHAP, or PSSC in French) throughout the provincial health care system. This patient-centred, interdisciplinary approach targets awareness and prevention for adult Canadians through risk assessment, repeated measurement of blood pressure, education materials, lifestyle recommendations, and access to community resources.

‎Our patients

With 28.3 per cent of its population recently immigrated (2016 census), British Columbia’s linguistic diversity continues to grow. The Provincial Language Services actively engage with the Francophone community, including immigrants and refugees, to better understand their current needs.

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Thanks & acknowledgements

The Francophone Services are available throughout the province and operated out of the Provincial Language Service of the Provincial Health Services Authority, with the financial support received through the Canada - BC Cooperation Agreement on Official Languages for the services in French.
Services in French
Unlike federal programs that must serve Canadians in both official languages, British Columbia is not required to offer its programs in French. However, services exist in your language.

Francophone Services are here to help patients navigate the health care system. You can contact Francophone Services.

The Provincial Language Services offers Interpreting and Translating services in French for health authorities, family practice practitioners, specialist offices, and other allied health professionals.

Beyond the services of interpreters, translation and orientation, the Provincial Language Services finance or implement our partners' projects to facilitate the Francophone community's access to health services in the province.

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Why choose a French-speaking healthcare professional?

International research on The Impact of Language Barriers on Patient Safety and Quality of Care (PDF) has consistently established the negative impacts of language barriers:

  • Low participation in health promotion and disease prevention activities
  • Late requests for care
  • Problematic initial access to most health services
  • Increased risk of misdiagnosis
  • Problems understanding and adhering to prescribed treatment
  • Lower patient satisfaction
  • Increased risk of experiencing adverse events
  • Poorer chronic disease management
  • Less effective pain management
The Directory of RésoSanté Colombie-Britannique and the Fédération des Francophones de Colombie-Britannique has more than 1,200 health and well-being professionals who can serve you in French in British Columbia.

"Active offer" is the principle that supports services being available in both official languages.  More concretely, it means allowing patients to express themselves and be served in the language with which they feel most comfortable.

In the field of health, active offer not only allows patients to communicate their needs more easily and to be understood, but also allows professionals to provide quality, safe, ethical and equitable care to Francophones in BC.

The language of communication between health care service providers and patients is a factor that has a significant effect on the quality of this service, on its efficiency and on the security. The linguistic minority situation is a determinant of health.

Integrating the needs of Francophones into the implementation of quality health services, in French, throughout the continuum or services, makes it possible to improve health care. We are working not only to increase the availability and offer of services centred on the person in all its diversity, but also to make this offer active.

The active offer of health services in French:

  • respects the principle of fairness;
  • aims for a quality of service comparable to what is offered in English;
  • is linguistically and culturally adapted to the needs and priorities of the Francophone community, and fits into the overall approach of person-centred services;
  • is inherent in the quality of health services provided to people and an important factor contributing to their safety.


John-Baptiste, A., Naglie, G., Tomlinson, G., Alibhai, S. M., Etchells, E., Cheung, A., ... & Krahn, M. (2004). The effect of English language proficiency on length of stay and in-hospital mortality. Journal of general internal medicine, 19(3), 221-228.  Available:


The Cafés de Paris are implemented by RésoSanté C.-B. and supported by the Francophone Services of the Provincial Language Service (PLS) and funded by Santé Canada through the Société Santé en Francais.

The objective of this program is to increase the number of health professionals in British Columbia who use French in their activity and to offer them the possibility of exercising an active offer.

In British Columbia, 11.5% of healthcare professionals who can speak French use this language regularly in their professional activity.

The Cafés de Paris are a key program to promote the “active offer”, which makes it possible to offer safe, ethical and good quality health services to French-speaking minority communities.

Find Healthcare Professionals in British Columbia who speak French by clicking here!


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Health insurance - Medical Service Plan

BC's Medical Services Plan (MSP) (see L'Assurance Maladie (PDF)) is the provincial health plan that provides universal, comprehensive coverage for essential medical care. As a province resident, you must join the medical plan and enrol your dependents.

To be eligible for coverage under the medical plan, an individual must be a resident of B.C. A resident is someone who meets all of the following conditions:
  • must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident legally admitted to Canada;
  • must have taken up residence in B.C.;
  • must be physically present in B.C. at least six months per calendar year.
Dependents of Medical Services Plan beneficiaries are eligible for coverage if they reside in B.C.

As of January 2020, MSP coverage is free.
Certain holders of work or study permits issued under the federal Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other persons are considered residents.

But tourists or visitors to B.C. do not qualify. 

If you have questions about eligibility or coverage:
  • Visit the  Medical Services Plan website; or 
  • Connect by phone at 604-683-7151 / 1-800-663-7100 and select option 5 to be served in French 
    • Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
You must complete the form if you are applying for a Self-Administered Health Plan account. You can: 
If health plan coverage is available through your employer, union or pension plan, contact the appropriate office for information on group plan claims.

 Once your group plan application is processed, the medical plan cancels existing self-administered accounts. People who receive – or are eligible for – medical care benefits through Health Canada (Indigenous Canadians) or the Department of Housing and Social Development should contact these agencies. 
Newcomers or people returning to settle in B.C. can receive coverage after a waiting period that usually includes the remainder of the month of arrival plus two months. 

For example, if an eligible person arrives in July, coverage begins on October 1. If your absences from Canada exceed a total of 30 days during the elimination period, your eligibility for coverage may change.

You should apply for medical plan coverage as soon as you arrive, rather than at the end of your elimination period, to allow sufficient time for treatment.
During the waiting period, new residents from other parts of Canada should continue to be covered by their old insurance plan.
New residents from outside of Canada or those relocating to Canada should contact a private insurance company for coverage during the waiting period.

If you are awaiting a personal health number (PHN) and have had or need urgent medical follow-up, you should contact Health Insurance BC so that arrangements can be made to expedite the application process for your Medicare card.

On the other hand, if you consult a doctor without a health insurance card, you may be billed for the services rendered at the rates applied to non-residents (which are higher than the rates of the health care plan). The health care plan can only reimburse charges incurred in accordance with the MSC Payment Schedule and the data subject will be responsible for all additional charges.
Visit Supplementary Health Care Benefits on the Ministry of Health website for more details.

Disclaimer: If there is any discrepancy between the information on this website and that provided by the Ministry of Health or Health Insurance BC, the information provided by the Ministry of Health or Health Insurance BC prevails.

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Medicines - BC Fair PharmaCare

The provincial drug reimbursement plan is intended to provide relief from the cost of certain eligible prescription drugs and medical supplies.

The lower your income, the more the government will help pay for your medications. There is no registration fee and no premium to be paid.

B.C. residents are already enrolled in Medicare.

Health Insurance BC

For all family members:

  • personal health number (found on provincial health card) and date of birth.

For yourself and your spouse:

  • social insurance number;
  • your net income from two years ago (line 236 of your income tax return); and
  • the amount of any universal child benefit or registered disability savings plans you received two years ago (lines 117 and 125 of your tax return).
  • If you were not in Canada two years previously or had no declared income, send your request to the following address:

Fair PharmaCare plan

Fair PharmaCare Administration

PO Box 9655 Stn Prov Govt

Victoria BC V8W 9P2


By phone (in French):

  • Vancouver & Lower Mainland: 604-683-7151
  • From the rest of BC: 1-800-663-7100
Additional information on how Fair PharmaCare works is available in French:

Questions about the health system

  • How is the health system organized in British Columbia? 
  • From obtaining the personal health number (PHN) to the BC Services Card, what are the steps to follow when you arrive in the province? 
  • What are the access conditions, and what does the Medical Services Plan, the “Healthy Kid” program or even “Fair Pharmacare” cover? How do I find a family doctor?
Check out our brochures to find all this information and access many useful resources:

Are you moving to British Columbia? The health system is explained in French (PDF).

Brochure cover: Votre sante et vous: Le system de sante de la Colombie Britannique explique en Francais

Always keep at reach the key services available in French: download our poster “Your key health resources”!

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Health essentials in videos

Do you know the essential services accessible free of charge in French around health?

The "Madame Santé" mini-series tell you more about the topics that concern you!

There are many resources in French across the provinces. 



BC Children's Hospital - Family Support and Resource Centre have over 500 resources in French available for free. Borrow resources for 30 days. Order and deliver directly at home.   We also provide the return envelope.  “Et voilà! “

For the first approach to existing resources, the free copy of the British Columbia Health Guide is developed by HealthLink BC.


Regarding mental health issues, the Kelty Resource Centre addresses many topics.


The Fédération des Parents Francophones de C.-B. offers practical sheets, a Francophone baby kit and other tools to support children's development. Workshops, videos etc., are accessible via their website.

  • HealthLink BC has developed a Guide for Seniors in BC (PDF).
  • The Francophone Assembly of Retired and Seniors of British Columbia (AFRACB) also offers many resources on the subject (events, publications, etc.) - see Carrefour50+
  • RésoSanté has workshops and programs on preventing falls, nutrition, etc.
Réseau-Femmes Colombie-Britannique also offers a network and many resources (workshops, newsletters, webinars, etc.) for women in the province. 

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Our partners

Within the health care sector, we partner with the five regional health authorities. We then work with the following community partners to deliver health services that meet the needs of residents:

The Fédération’s mission is the development of a welcoming and inclusive Francophonie. It aims to expand the Francophone space and build the capacity of Francophone and Francophile civil society in British Columbia.

To achieve this, it relies on the support of more than forty organizations and more than 80,000 Francophones and 300,000 Francophiles across the province.

RésoSanté Colombie-Britannique is a provincial non-profit organization that helps you find a health professional who can speak French and programs in French according to your needs.

Check RésoSanté's online directory to find a health care professional near you. More than 1,200 professionals are listed there.

The federation's mission is to bring together, represent, support and equip parents in their role as primary educators and promote their commitment and participation in creating a living and exemplary Francophone environment.

The PIF offers settlement, integration and employment assistance services to French-speaking immigrants settling in British Columbia.

Collège Éducacentre is the only Francophone college in British Columbia. They offer a wide variety of college courses and programs tailored to the needs of the labour market. All courses and programs are offered remotely and only in French.

La Boussole Centre is a non-profit organization that helps Francophones in need in Greater Vancouver.

They are also the only Francophone community centre in the region offering social services, community activities, job search assistance and health projects for all Francophones.

Réseau-Femmes Colombie-Britannique is a non-profit organization whose mandate is to represent, promote and defend Francophone women in British Columbia and to contribute to their development.

The Conseil Scolaire Francophone is a public school board recognized nationally for its dynamism and innovative spirit.
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SOURCE: Francophones Services ( )
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