We thought we'd make the presentation a bit livelier and more interesting than ordinary, but you can follow along with the photocopies. If you will, I will now begin.
First, I would like to thank you for inviting us to speak about an issue that is very dear to us, ie, French language training in the health sector, in minority communities.
I know that several people around this table are familiar with the Cité collégiale. Some of you might not be so acquainted with it. The Cité is a community college of applied arts and technology in Ontario. There are two French-language colleges in Ontario : the Cité collégiale, in Ottawa, and the Collège Boréal, in Sudbury.
The Cité collégiale opened in 1990. We serve approximately 16,000 students/clients a year, including some 3,000 to 3,500 full-time, post-secondary students who are registered in one, two or three-year programs. In the health sector, approximately one third of our programs are in community services. This is a very important sector, which attracts many students.
Today, I would like to talk to you about our commitment within the CNFS, the Consortium national de formation en santé. In passing, slide number 4 lists all the health programs offered at the Cité collégiale. In fact, they are listed on slides 4 and 5. I will not enumerate them all. The list does give you an idea of the type of programs offered at the Cité. There are three-year programs, such as the respiratory therapy program, and two-year programs, such as the dental hygiene and paramedic programs. We also offer continuing education programs.
The Cité collégiale has been part of the Consortium national de formation en santé for a number of years.
The consortium is an association that was created three years ago; it comprises ten educational institutions in Canada, outside Québec. The consortium includes three colleges: the Collège Boréal, the Cité collégiale and the Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick. The consortium also includes seven universities, which are listed here: the University of Sainte-Anne in Nova Scotia, the University of Ottawa, the University of Moncton — there are universities from all over — and the Collège universitaire in Saint-Boniface, Manitoba. The consortium is made up of these ten institutions.
The mandate of the consortium is to train health professionals in French in order to provide care and services to francophone minority communities. You have all heard of the problems and labour shortages in the health sector. The federal government's initial objective to increase as quickly as possible the number of professionals able to work in French. In francophone minority communities, this is a real problem because there often are no professionals able to serve francophones. This leads to serious problems, particularly in long-term care, for instance, in senior citizens' homes that hire practical nurses. We know that our seniors often have a hard time speaking English. And several studies have shown how important it is to be provided with health care services in one's own language. The consortium's mandate, therefore, is to address those issues.
The objectives of the consortium are to be aware of the needs of each community and encourage professionals to become part of those communities. The objective is not only to train health professionals, but to ensure as much as possible that they return to their communities of origin, once they have completed their studies, and to encourage access to training by all sorts of means, including distance education, partnerships and cooperation, without trying to reinvent the wheel at each step of the way. As you know, health is an area of provincial jurisdiction.
In francophone minority communities, there is little critical mass and resources are limited. Little can be done without partnerships, coordination and cooperation.
I would now like to talk about the value added of the consortium. I will do so briefly because I then want to talk about the impact it has had on the Cité collégiale. Of course, there is increased cooperation and greater networking between post-secondary institutions. Health and education are two areas with provincial jurisdiction. In many cases, minority communities work in silos, with few resources. In Ontario, for example, we are quite privileged. The province has two French-language and 22 English-language community colleges.
The problem in British Columbia and Manitoba, however, is more acute. British Columbia does not have an accredited, college-level institution. The Éducacentre College is doing some interesting things, but it is alone. In such cases, when you are working in an area of purely provincial jurisdiction and trying to provide training or develop study programs and course material, it is really very difficult to move things forward. This is where the consortium's value added of building partnerships between post-secondary institutions becomes meaningful.
Partnerships are also encouraged between health organizations and francophone communities. Although the consortium is an association of institutions, it also works with health centres, hospitals and senior citizens homes in the minority communities. The Société Santé en français, whose representatives appeared before you quite recently, if I am not mistaken, works very closely with consortium stakeholders.
As you are well aware, there are two solitudes in Canada: colleges and universities. There is no communication between the two. More and more students fail to understand this solitude. Whether they want to pursue college studies, work, go to university or transfer from college to university, students are paying the price for this situation, particularly when they try to have their courses accredited. Such is the case in several provinces, but not all. In fact, some provinces have developed very interesting initiatives. We, the members of the consortium, work together. We are forced to talk to each other which is a very good thing. We are in the process of establishing bonds.
Isolation leads to an under-appreciation of French-language health services in minority communities. Health professionals are often very isolated in their communities. In many instances, they will move to major cities, where there is a critical mass. This is really unfortunate because our small communities have enormous needs.
With regard to value added, I would like to talk about the specific example of the Cité collégiale. There are 10 such institutions. We have facilitated access, which has led to 410 additional registrations, or an increase of some 55 per cent over projections.
When the consortium was created, we had to apply and specify the number of registrations we planned to receive. Phase 2 of the consortium still has two years left to run. So far, we have obtained 410 additional registrations, i.e., registrations we would not have had without the consortium's funding. I will indicate which sectors benefited a little later on. I represent a college, and there are three. There are also seven universities. After only three years, we have had 110 additional graduates. This represents an increase of 108 per cent over projections, which is enormous.
Why are there fewer graduates? Well, because study programs last one, two or three years, and it takes some time before students graduate. That is even more so with medical studies at university.
The radiation oncology program has been developed but will only be launched in September 2007. We have developed a partnership with the University of Ottawa. There are huge needs in radiation-oncology. This will be a 2-2 program, or two years at both the college and university levels. The program will be launched next September.
There are also the paramedic programs. We even trained paramedics for anglophone cities such as Toronto. We were surprised when the City of Toronto called us asking for bilingual graduates. They asked us to send them some. Last year, Toronto hired seven paramedic graduates. We were not expecting that. We usually get this type of request from Ottawa, Sudbury or Moncton, but coming from the City of Toronto, that was somewhat surprising.
The new programs being developed include palliative care.
We have also developed some partnership programs that are unique in Canada, such as the clinical electro-neurophysiology program. If you ask me what this program is about, I would not be able to answer. That is why Linda is here with me this morning. So that is a new program.
There is also an autism program. Increasingly, parents are asking that schools hire professionals to work with autistic children. This is a whole new area. The Cité collégiale has announced some 14 courses.
The new partnerships have led to the creation of many new sites for clinical placements. Why are clinical placements important? In the course of training health professionals, we have to encourage regional retention, that is to say that people return to their home communities. We could take the example of Hearst or any other town for that matter. We determined that 75 % of students who do their internships at local hospitals are hired to stay on after they graduate. That way, students return to their communities of origin. These new sites for clinical placements are crucial, with regard to regional retention. Partnerships with other institutions are also important. I would like to give you some examples of new partnerships that have been developed.
The Éducacentre College in British Columbia was able to launch a program for personal support workers. The program trains people who provide long-term care for older people. This new program is offered in class in Vancouver and through distance education in Victoria and Whitehorse, Yukon. This brand new program was made possible thanks to the Consortium.
Together with New Brunswick, we developed palliative care and electro-physiology programs for college students. I mention it in passing because I mostly want to give you examples. At the Collège Boréal, in northern Ontario, there has been sharing and development teaching material for existing programs.
Sainte-Anne University, in Nova Scotia, wanted to offer a paramedic program. The people responsible were unable to develop such a program, but the Consortium was able to help them out. It worked with them to adapt the curriculum and develop teaching material.
Because health is a provincial area of jurisdiction, I want to underscore the fact that transferring programs that were created in one province to another is not always an easy task. In fact, standards vary from one province to another. We therefore have to see how existing programs can be adapted to different provincial standards, as we did in the case of Nova Scotia. We cannot simply transfer a program, we have to find ways to develop and adapt it, and make sure it complies with provincial standards.
In the university sector, there are joint offers of nursing programs. I have already spoken about radiation-oncology. I have also listed the names of partners in health services: Montfort Hospital, les Soeurs de la Charité of Ottawa, the Ottawa General Hospital and the Sudbudy Hospital. In New Brunswick, placements are being considered for programs not being offered, in such areas as respiratory therapy. At Bathurst Hospital, Enfant-Jésus Hospital in Caraquet, the Regional Hospital of Campbellton and Georges-Dumont Hospital, we were able to develop placements together with the New Brunswick Community College in Campbellton.
There is an example in Manitoba. We also have examples for placement sites in British Columbia.
In the handout, you will also find examples in the community sector. I remind you that our college has developed agreements with these centres.
I know wish to talk about the question of value added.
Up until now, I've spoken to you about value added in its relation to access. The notion of value added also comes into play in the quality and relevance of programs. The Cité collégiale was able to hire additional teachers and strike advisory committees made up of approximately 400 people.
We were also able to develop pedagogical material and purchase new equipment. For better or for worse, the health care sector is one in which training cannot be easily provided because of the very high cost. As you know, equipment used in the health care sector evolves very quickly.
Linda, would you like to comment?