Frequently Asked Questions

3. Who Provides Service in French? 

  • What is a designated bilingual position (DBP)? * [Note] It is a position that is filled by an employee who can communicate in both official languages and is able to adequately deliver comparable services in both.
  • What happens if my position becomes designated and I’m not bilingual? * [Note]

    Positions are designated bilingual only after a thorough review of needs. If you are working in a designated bilingual facility, program, service or agency your immediate supervisor would advise you of the change. The designation would only come into effect for the next incumbent to the position, when you choose to vacate the position. The designation would not affect your status at all. You will not be required to transfer or to learn French.

  • Do designated positions automatically go to bilingual people?

    No. The successful incumbent must meet all clinical and professional job requirements, plus the bilingual requirement. Candidates must undergo language testing to determine their ability to function effectively in French.  In exceptional cases the positions can be awarded, usually on a term basis, to non-bilingual incumbents.  Bilingual persons filling designated positions do not receive salary premiums.

  • How do we know who the designated bilingual employees are?

    Designated bilingual employees have been asked to wear either a green Bonjour/Hello pin or badge pull. Some may also wear a green Bonjour/Hello bracelet.  These items are being promoted to the general public as identifiers of staff capable of offering service in French.  

  • Do designated bilingual employees have to translate and do interpretations?

    No. French Language Services manages the translation of written materials for the WRHA. You should never be asked nor should you volunteer to translate documents (education material, form letters, consent forms, etc.) intended for an external audience, nor any internal patient-related material. Translation is a highly skilled practice, requiring several years of post-secondary studies, and specialization by industry. French Language Services uses professional, accredited translators.Designated bilingual employees provide direct care to patients and clients in French. This is not the same role as interpreters who work as a neutral third party to facilitate oral communications between two people who do not share a common language. A few bilingual (French/English) employees in the WRHA have previously been identified to occasionally work as volunteer interpreters under very specific conditions. This practice is being phased out as the capacity to provide direct care in French within the designated facilities, programs, services and agencies is being built with the hiring of bilingual staff. The WRHA Language Access Interpreter services which employs trained health interpreters will still be needed at non-designated facilities.

  • I am bilingual working at a non-designated bilingual facility.  Can I still provide services in French?

    Yes, if you feel confident in your ability to do so, however you are not obligated to provide service in French. Please keep in mind any limitations of your language skills and make your decision accordingly. Language Access should be contacted if you are unable to provide the required services to the patient/client in their language of choice.

  • Can I also wear a Bonjour/Hello pin?

    The pins have been distributed to designated bilingual employees who have an obligation to offer services in French. If you are not in a designated position, and you choose to wear this pin, your patients/clients will expect you to offer services in French.  If you wish to voluntarily accept this responsibility, contact French Language Services.

  • Notes

    * Some facilities use different terminology.  Francophone facilities do not designate positions.

    ** Does not apply to certain non-devolved facilities or funded agencies.

    *** The internal working language is French at Centre de santé Saint-Boniface and Actionmarguerite, due to their designated francophone status.