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  • Writer's pictureTrevor Greenway

English rights advocate for healthcare opening new office in Wakefield

The head of a local English health network organization is calling on anglophones to tell them how Bill 96 has affected them since it was adopted last year — and people will be able to do that from the organization’s new satellite office in Wakefield.


Connexions Resource Centre is opening its new office on Riverside Drive and is inviting the public to its open house Sept. 28 to learn more about what the local health organization can do for anglophones.


“I am proud and excited to begin building strong, authentic community connections,” said Paul Brown, Connexions’ community outreach and engagement coordinator. “I want to gain a more in-depth understanding of the evolving needs of the English-speaking community to, in turn, better support its residents when collaborating with public and community organizations in the Collines-de-l'Outaouais MRC.”


Have you had issues finding health resources? Have your rights as an anglophone been respected? Are you hitting barriers when trying to access health services in English in Quebec?


Connexions Resource Centre Director-General Danielle Lanyi said she wants to hear all about the good, the bad and the ugly health care stories so she can help improve the quality of care.


“We're watching closely the implementation of Bill 96 and the impact, and we're documenting feedback that we're getting,” said Lanyi.


In May 2022, Bill 96 was officially passed by Quebec's National Assembly and became law. The act, officially known as “An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec” recognizes French as the common language of Quebec, but is considered controversial by many, including anglos, because it limits the use of English in certain settings, which may include access to healthcare.


“We have the opportunity through the secretariat for relations with English-speaking Quebecers that when we see or hear something that is off, we will go to them and say, ‘Something is not right here,’ and we have that link with the government to bring these issues to the forefront,” said Lanyi.


Lanyi said that her organization has “heard a few” healthcare horror stories within the context of Bill 96, but added that she is surprised at how seldom those complaints have been made. But she said she also wonders if the English community knows that Connexions is an advocate for them.


Connexions Resource Centre is a non-profit organization that promotes the health, social well-being and vitality of the English-speaking community. The organization hosts a series of free classes and workshops for English citizens – everything from navigating the complicated Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec, the province’s healthcare plan, to finding a family doctor in the province. It also offers classes for seniors, speech-language therapy for parents and children and resources for those on the autism spectrum. The organization also helps connect English residents to end-of-life care, organ donations and vaccinations — all in English and all free. Connexions receives funding from the Secrétariat aux relations avec les Québécois d’expression anglaise.


Connexions is also an ally for English-speakers facing addiction problems, as the organization has resources for eight different rehab centres in the Outaouais — some as close as Masham. The centre also has extensive resources for mental health, with suicide prevention programs, crisis lines and mental health and wellness check-ins.


The open house on Sept. 28 will take place at Connexions’ new satellite office at 721 Ch. Riverside in Wakefield. The event runs from 7 to 9 p.m. and will boast an art show by Wakefielder Nathan Vanek.


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