Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I'll try to speak more slowly. I don't often make presentations to committees.
Allow me to say a few words about the Société Santé en français.
We are a national organization supported by Health Canada. We celebrated our 20th anniversary this year. We are a network of networks, essentially as a result of the administration of health services. Since we need to have bases in all provinces and territories, we support 16 independent French-language health organizations across Canada. Those 16 members are directly connected to their health systems and to a group of essential partners: governments, health institutions, health professionals, training institutions and the communities themselves. Our job is to make known the needs of francophones and the contributions that these health partners can make. We support the development of capacity to serve francophones in order to transform programs and public health policies in a sustainable manner.
As you will have understood, we receive funding from the federal government for the purpose of offering our support. We cannot intervene directly in the delivery of services. Consequently, we engage in support work to foster systems and capacity development, but it's a David and Goliath struggle.
The federal and provincial governments spent a total of $300 billion on health in 2021. Keep that figure in mind. However, federal government support for the official language communities amounts to $40 million a year. That money is earmarked for 13 separate English and French health systems for professional training and capacity development. Essentially, one penny for every $100 spent in Canada every year is allocated to official language communities. We really are a tiny canoe competing with big ocean liners.
All of which brings me to two recommendations respecting Bill C‑13.
I want to start by noting that we have been a member of the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada since December 2021 and that we support all the proposals that the FCFA has made regarding, for example, management of this issue by a central agency. However, the two proposals I am presenting today are more specifically related to health.
Our first recommendation is that authority to subject the federal government's spending power to official-language-related conditions in sectors essential to the vitality of the official language minority communities named in part VII be reaffirmed in the act.
What kinds of conditions are we talking about? I am suggesting two. First, they may be conditions respecting the collection of data on the health status of official language minority communities. We still don't have a clear picture of the health status of French-speaking official language minority communities relative to the majority population. The data are collected by system or by institution and are not standardized nationally. However, it seems essential that we have a clear idea of the situation in order to provide official languages support programs. A second type of condition would be that the delivery of services in both official languages be reflected in the government's priorities as set forth in its bilateral agreements for both mental health and long-term care.
Our second recommendation is that it be clearly stated in the act that health is divided into two parts: health services and public health. Allow me to explain the distinction. By health services, I mean the public system, health professionals, hospitals and everything falling under provincial jurisdiction. By public health, I mean the health status of populations, healthy habits, prevention, vaccination and health promotion. This is a field in which the federal government makes a direct contribution because it is a shared responsibility.