Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre Celebrates Franco-Ontarian Day

From L-R: Angèle Brunelle, Executive Director, L'Accueil Fracophone de Thunder Bay; Dr. Rhonda Crocker Ellacott, President and CEO, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC), and CEO, Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute; Jennifer Wintermans, Vice President, Quality and Corporate Affairs, TBRHSC; and Mouhammad Coly, representing Réseau du mieux être francophone du Nord de l’Ontario (Réseau).

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC), joined by representatives from the community’s Francophone organizations, recognized the rich Francophone culture in Northwestern Ontario by raising the Franco-Ontarian Day flag today.

“We are raising the Franco-Ontarian flag in celebration of the rich history and social, economic and cultural contributions of the Francophone community. We want to encourage you to take this opportunity to learn more about francophone language and heritage,” said Dr. Rhonda Crocker Ellacott, President and CEO, TBRHSC and CEO, Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute.

Franco-Ontarian Day officially recognizes the contribution of Ontario’s Francophone community to the cultural, historical, social, economic, and political life of the province. There are more than 622,000 Francophones and 1.5 million who can speak French, making Ontario the largest Francophone community outside of Quebec. September 25th marks the anniversary of the first raising of the Franco-Ontarian Flag in 1975.

Today, there are 8,000 Francophones who call Northwestern Ontario home. “We know that providing care that is culturally sensitive can improve health outcomes and quality of care” said Dr. Crocker Ellacott. “Our goal is to meet the social, cultural and linguistic needs of all our patients. We are committed to ensuring that we are respectful and responsive to Francophone cultural preferences, needs and values, and all the other diverse populations we serve.”

A number of initiatives have been done at TBRHSC to better care for Francophone patients and families in the region. Bilingual educational documents and care instructions, such as consent forms, are available to patients and families.

TBRHSC is fortunate to have a number of volunteers who speak French. Being able to support Francophone patients and families or provide comforts and friendly visiting in a patient’s language of choice can make a huge difference for people going through stressful situations in the health care system.

TBRHSC also promotes French language training and eligible staff are encouraged to further develop their French language by taking advantage of a tuition reimbursement program.

For more information French Language Health Services in Northern Ontario, please visit If you’d like to learn more about Franco-Ontarian history, please visit