Recognizing the French-speaking population of Manitoba as a significant part of one of the fundamental characteristics of Canada, the Government of Manitoba's French Language Service (FLS) Policy, tabled in 1989, allows the population of Manitoba and the institutions serving it to access government services in both French and English.
The implementation of this FLS Policy is guided and monitored by Southern Health-Santé Sud FLS Unit, the Tables de concertation (regional community), the Conseil communauté en santé (provincial) and the Société Santé en français (national).
In accordance with the policy, Southern Health-Santé Sud provides bilingual health care services (English and French) within, but not limited to, designated bilingual areas of its region. These bilingual areas correspond to existing concentrations of Manitoba's French-speaking population. Under this policy, bilingual services are provided through "Active Offer" to the public:
- Through verbal, written and electronic communications
- At a comparable level of quality to those offered in English
- In a manner that is:
- Evident – Facilities, services and staff offering French service are well identified to the public
- Readily available – Service is maintained at appropriate levels to meet demand when and where needed
- Easily accessible – People should receive little to no delay in service
In other words, it means informing the client at the first point of contact that services are available in both official languages and striving to follow through throughout the service..
The purpose of the active offer is to:
- Ensure that the public is aware that service in French is available
- Make the public feel comfortable in communicating in the language of their choice, either French or English.