Montreal Health Agency Website in French Only

Even though bilingual services are guarenteed by law, the revamped website of Montreal's health and social services agency is currently only in French.

The English version is to go live by the end of July – about two months after the site’s inauguration in French.

The website, Portail Santé Montréal, is the virtual door into the myriad health services offered by the agency. The old version was bilingual.

Health critics are not impressed by the delay of the English site, calling it a denial of services and a violation of the spirit of the Health and Social Services Act.

Language should not be a barrier to health care in Quebec, said Paul Brunet, a patient-rights advocate and president of the Conseil pour la protection des maladies du Québec. “They could have waited and launched the site in both languages,” he said.

David Levine, president and director general of the Montreal Health and Social Service Agency, was not available to comment Thursday. But agency officials say they are not happy about the unilingual site, explaining that the delay is a problem of translation. The portal was initially created in French, and the English translation is not ready. Agency officials could not explain why they didn’t wait to launch the site.