Newcomers to Windsor, Ontario are able to access health care easily enough, but find that language barriers remain a strong challenge, according to a new survey of immigrants.
The survey, conducted and released this month by local resettlement agencies, found that almost 90 percent of the 530 respondents have a family doctor. At the same time, however, nearly half – 45 percent – relied upon the services of a translator when seeking health care.
Most of said interpreters come in the form of a family member – most often of which being a child or younger member of the family. This can cause difficulties in understanding as well as strain the relationship as the information might be private and unsuitable for children of other family members to know.
The results of the survey will be used by immigrant advocate groups, as well as health care professionals to design future services. One change, for example, that the results could instigate would be to have more translators on hand at health institutions for at least the most commonly spoken immigrant languages such as Punjabi or Chinese.
Such a policy has been implemented in other urban centers that have seen a jump in immigration in recent years such as Surrey, British Columbia.
Experts warn however, that the sample for this survey was quite limited, as it was administered only in English and used students in language classes, most of whom were female.
Sources: Windsor Star