Organizing Knowledge on the Health of OLMCs

Organizing Knowledge

A key question for researchers and knowledge users alike is the need to understand and assess the impact of minority language on the health of populations, and on the quality and safety of services. A few research assumptions emerge: OLMC membership constitutes a determinant of health; linguistic discordance between professionals and beneficiaries constitutes a determinant of the quality and safety of healthcare; linguistic insecurity affects the demand for services in a minority official language, and the active offer of services in the minority official language constitutes an equity policy.

In order to organize knowledge around this central issue, we propose a research analysis framework that integrates five dimensions: i) the legal and political environment of health services; ii) health states and their determinants; iii) services in the minority official language; iv) human resources and linguistic and cultural competencies; v) experience with health care and services. This framework provides a systematic vision of the determinants of health and well-being of OLMCs.

The Rise of OLMC Health Research

Since 2003, the Government of Canada has developed and implemented several action plans to invigorate the country’s two official languages, French and English. More specifically, these plans support official language minority communities (OLMC): Francophones living outside Quebec and Anglophones living in Quebec. There has been remarkable growth in a number of areas, such as professional training, the organisation of services in the minority official language, and research, which now plays a key role in guiding decision-making.

In the context of intensive knowledge production, the notions of application, transfer or mobilization of knowledge have taken on greater importance over time. We hope that our analysis framework will help researchers identify the studies that interest them.