What's covered

About Our Standards

HSO standards are the foundation on which leading-edge accreditation programs and great public policy are built. Standards create a strong health care structure that the public, providers, and policy makers can rely on, assuring high quality health services where it matters most.

HSO’s standards are formatted using the following structure.

  • Section Title: A section of the standard that relates to a specific topic.
  • Clause: A thematic statement that introduces a set of criteria.
  • Criteria: Requirements based on evidence, that describe what is needed by people to achieve a particular activity. Each criterion outlines the intent, action, and accountability.
  • Guidelines: Provide additional information and evidence to support the implementation of each criterion.

About This Standard

This is a reaffirmation of CAN/HSO 11012:2018 Access to Health and Social Services in Official Languages. The standard is aimed to align with other HSO standards that apply to health and social services organizations offering services in both official languages, English and French.

The standard content is grouped into five sections:

  • Establishing the Active Offer of Services
  • Clinical Research
  • Governance and Leadership
  • Workforce
  • Quality Assurance

This particular standard is intended to be used as part of a conformity assessment. This standard will be undergoing periodic maintenance. HSO will review and publish this standard on a schedule not to exceed five years from the date of publication.



This standard specifies the requirements for health and social service organizations to promote access to safe health and social services in the patient’s preferred or required language. The standard provides:

  • Health and social service organizations with guidance on how to ensure quality and safety within their unique organizational and language contexts;
  • Policymakers with a blueprint for the requirements to recognize health and social service organizations that offer quality health and social service to the official language communities in their jurisdictions; and,
  • External assessment bodies with measurable requirements to include in assessment programs of health and social service organizations that offer services to Canada’s official language communities.


This standard applies to health and social service organizations providing health and social services in Canada’s official languages, English and French.


Société Santé en français

This Standard was commissioned by Société Santé en français and was supported by the Government of Canada (Health Canada).

Société Santé en français is a Canadian leader who, in close collaboration with the Santé en français networks in each province and territory, provides better access to quality French-language health and social services programs and services. Such efforts improve the state of health and social services of all Francophone and Acadian people living in official language communities.

Société Santé en français

223, Main St., Office L396

Ottawa, Ontario K1S 1C4



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