In early 2000, a number of social, cultural, economic and political issues drove the issue of French-language healthcare services to the forefront. The federal Minister of Health at the time, the Honourable Allan Rock, set up an advisory committee on the needs of Francophone minority communities. In a report submitted to the Minister in September 2001, that committee proposed a strategy for improving French-language services for Francophones across the country.
The committee then identified five levers of intervention: networking, service organization, training and recruitment of staff, new technologies and new research. The advisory committee then prioritized three of those: networking, service organization, and training. Those three priorities made their way into the Action Plan for Official Languages made public by the federal government in March 2003. The Action Plan allocated $119 million over five years to the effort, making it a priority in the health care sector. That is the context in which SSF was created in December 2002. The founding meeting brought together more than 125 representatives from every part of the country and from every category of partner. The advisory committee handed over to the Société the task of coordinating the networking and service organization initiatives.
At the same time, the francophone community of Saskatchewan established a Health team in 1999, which became a committee of the Assemblée communautaire fransaskoise under the name Comité de liaison d’actions en santé (CLAS). Its goal is to empower the francophone community in Saskatchewan, so that it can develop its own skills, take charge of its development and take action in the health field.
The RSFS was officially founded on May 7, 2005. Since that day, the RSFS’s mandate has been to promote, protect and improve access to health services in French in Saskatchewan.
The RSFS is part of the 16 regional, provincial and territorial networks, all members of the Société Santé en français. All networks work toward cooperation between partners involved in improving access to health services in French in all provinces where it is not the language of the majority. The work of the RSFS is based on collaboration between multiple actors: health professionals, policy makers, administrators of healthcare institutions, academic institutions and community organizations.