April 28, 2017 (Ottawa)Health Standards Organization (HSO) and Société Santé en Français (SSF) announced a collaboration to create the Organizational Competency Recognition Program and a Communication in Minority Language Situations Standard to assess the quality of linguistically appropriate services in health services providers.

The Organizational Competency Recognition Program is a multi-step process to assess the quality of linguistically appropriate services in health services providers. The new program includes the Communication in Minority Language Situations Standard.

This new standard, sponsored by SSF and being developed through a co-design process with HSO, aims to ensure that Language minority groups, such as French Canadians and Acadian minority communities, have access to linguistically appropriate health services across the continuum of care.

The standard will also address the necessary organizational structures and processes required at the governance and leadership levels that support and ensure effective communication: service planning, data collection, development of policies and procedures, adequate resources, staff education and training.

The standard will be structured around the main points of care where effective communication is crucial to safe, high-quality health services and will assess the quality of linguistically appropriate services offered by health services providers in Canada and around the world. This includes admission, assessment, treatment, end-of-life and discharge and/or transfer of care.


“Linguistic barriers in healthcare lead to poorer health outcomes, diagnostic and medication errors, and lengthier waits and stays. These new standards will provide health establishments with a roadmap for increasing the quality of services delivered, a win both for Official Language minority communities and for healthcare providers.” – Dr. Aurel Schofield, President of SSF

“HSO is committed to developing world-class standards in partnership with people who share our passion for achieving quality health services for all. Language barriers can be a real – and dangerous – roadblock to integrated care with patients and families as full partners. We hope to break down these barriers with these sponsored standards, and replicate this process in other areas to the benefit of minority populations across Canada and around the world.”– Leslee Thompson, Chief Executive Officer, HSO

Call for Technical Committee members

To support the development of this standard, HSO is recruiting experts to join the Communication in Health Services Technical Committee. For more information or to find out how to apply, visit HSO’s Technical Committee Recruitment page.

Quick Facts

  • HSO is committed to unleashing the power and potential of people who share our passion for achieving quality health services for all.
  • HSO offers more than 100 customizable standards that work to improve health care and social services globally.
  • HSO delivers and develops global standards and innovative assessment programs, and the tools and services needed to save and improve lives in local jurisdictions around the world.
  • This is the first HSO standard to be developed for the Organizational Competency Recognition Program.
  • Applicants who have successfully completed the program will be issued a Recognition status certificate, indicating the specific minority language for which the organization has been assessed against.
  • As a valued sponsor of the assessment program and the standards, the SSF logo will appear alongside the Accreditation Canada logo on certificates.
  • SSF works in collaboration with French-language health networks in each province and territory.
  • SSF is focused on contributing to the cultural, social, and linguistic values of Francophones and Acadians living in minority communities that experience barriers within the health system that limit a person’s ability to obtain quality health services.

Related Links

Media Inquiries

HSO and AC Media Relations
1-800-814-7769 ext. 410

SSF Media Relations
1-888-684-4253 ext.233