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Old 02-21-2006, 06:04 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Mississauga
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Woman fights French-only policy at health centre

WTF? I thought all public services were supposed to be bilingual. Merd!


A woman in Cornwall who was turned away from a government-funded health centre for not speaking French is demanding that it open its doors to her.

Shirley Ravary says she was denied medical attention at the Centre de santé Communautaire de l'Estrie, which provides health services primarily to the French-speaking population.

"I couldn't believe it because I've lived in Cornwall all my life," said Ravary. "There is French people, but they also offer you services in English, or they can talk to you in English."

For weeks, Ravary struggled with a bad cold. She finally decided to visit a clinic last week.

She normally sees her doctor at his own practice, but since he also works at the health centre, she decided to drop in there.

When she tried to make an appointment, she was turned down.

The centre insists it is not a walk-in clinic and requires registration by patients. One prerequisite is patients must speak French.

Marc Bisson, executive director of the centre, says the facility has the right to reject Ravary's request to see her doctor.

"The thing is, I'm funded to do the target population," said Bisson. "If I let everyone in without taking care of language issues and things like that, it will be francophones at the end who won't have the services they were supposed to have."

Bisson denies any charge of discrimination, because the woman was able to attend an English-speaking clinic instead.

The Ontario Ministry of Health says if the situation is non-urgent, specialized centres such as the one in Cornwall have the right to turn patients away.

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