Official Languages Recognition Program

Take the next step on your journey to language accessibility.

Promote access to health and social services in official languages. 

Language barriers and miscommunication in health and social service settings lead to misdiagnosis, treatment delays, lack of user satisfaction, official complaints, penalties, and poor health outcomes. 

These issues highlight the importance of investing in the right tools, processes, and training that enable quality communication between the people providing the care, and the people receiving it. 

OLRP Level 1 (Discovery) is now offered.  

Available to Canadian organizations only.

What is the Official Languages Recognition Program (OLRP)?

It refers to evidence‐based practices and procedures that can prevent or reduce the risks associated to language barriers in health and social services and improve the active offer of services in Canada’s official languages.


Download the OLRP Brochure



Program Benefits

This recognition program journey empowers health care and social service organizations to:

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Develop their official-language accessibility competencies

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Mitigate the risks associated to language barriers

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Receive program support tailored to their needs

Access bilingual expert-developed content

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Improve and expand their offer of services in official languages

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Obtain unlimited access to online resources

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Promote equity in health and social services

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Benefit from alignment with the most current guidelines

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Increase security, quality, and efficiency

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Discover the Program

This program focuses on the development and recognition of official-language accessibility competencies and includes actional criteria and guidelines derived from HSO’s evidence-based standards and supplementary resources. The program is organized into five levels:

Level 1

Participating organizations begin at Competency Level 1, where they use the program’s Self-Assessment Tool to assess their ability to meet program requirements and use the results to identify strengths and areas in need of improvement. Once the self-assessment has been completed, the organization obtains a Certificate of Participation in the program.

OLRP Level 1 (Discovery) is now offered.

Level 2

Competency Level 2 will become available to organizations that have met the requirements for Competency Level 1 and are ready to take this next step on their Recognition Program journey. In Level 2, they will complete annual activities, in addition to a self-assessment. They will obtain support in developing a continuous Quality Improvement Practice Plan (QIPP) outlining how they will achieve their goals for official-language accessibility. The organization will undergo an on-site peer evaluation, and qualifying organizations under the program will receive the OLRP Foundations Award.

OLRP Level 2 (Foundations) will be available in spring 2023.

Levels 3, 4, and 5 

Competency Levels 3 (Committed), 4 (Improved), and 5 (Sustained) are the quality improvement levels of the program. These levels include activities to help organizations and their teams build and sustain quality improvement capacities that enable access to quality health and social services in official languages.

Further information pertaining to Competency Levels 3, 4 and 5, and how they will help support organizations along their quality improvement journey through the Official Languages Recognition Program, will be made available at a later date.

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1. Who can join the Official Languages Recognition Program (OLRP)?

The OLRP is applicable to organizations of any size that provide health and social services in one or multiple settings. These organizations may be publicly or privately run and may be either for-profit or not-for-profit.

2. We are a large organization with multiple sites. How will the OLRP work for us?

If your organization has multiple sites or programs offered (i.e., service offered), each site and specific program will enroll in the Official Languages Recognition Program separately. (Ex: individual sites and programs within a site can subscribe).

3. Does my organization need to be accredited to participate in the Official Languages Recognition Program?

Your organization does not need to be accredited by Accreditation Canada to participate in the OLRP. However, OLRP can also be used by an organization and their sites that are participants in Accreditation Canada’s Qmentum® accreditation program, as Qmentum® and OLRP are complementary.

4. How does OLRP compare to Accreditation Canada’s Qmentum® accreditation program?

The Official Languages Recognition Program takes a deeper and more focused dive into a single and prioritized organizational competency, whereas the Qmentum® accreditation program assesses the organization against a broader range of requirements. With a focus on a specific organizational competency, the OLRP supports and awards health and social service organizations that are committed to building, implementing, and sustaining their official-language accessibility competencies.

5. Does my organization require existing experience in accessibility for official languages or a language accessibility program to participate in the Official Languages Recognition Program (OLRP)?

Your organization does not require experience in accessibility for both official languages or a formal language accessibility program to participate in the Official Languages Recognition Program. An organization participating in the OLRP will be able to use the program tools to develop their official-language accessibility competency, and more specifically, an official-language accessibility program. Developing a program for accessibility in both official languages is a requirement to achieve the OLRP Foundations Award in Competency Level 2.

6. Why isn’t there a program award for Competency Level 1?

For Competency Level 1, a certificate of participation is provided to each participating site or program that completes their self-assessment. This certificate of participation can be publicly displayed to show the organization’s commitment to increasing access to health and social services in both official languages. The main goal of Competency Level 1 is to self-reflect and evaluate your current state and identify areas for improvement through completing a self-assessment. Competency Level 1 prepares your site for Competency Level 2 activities (e.g., developing Quality Improvement Practice Plan and undergoing a peer review assessment).

7. Is there a time limit for remaining at Competency Level 1?

No, there is no time limit for staying at the same Competency Level. For Competency Level 1, at a minimum, a self-assessment is required annually to maintain the Competency Level, including the payment of the yearly program subscription fee.

8. My organization has well-developed language accessibility practices. Is it possible to skip Competency Level 1 and start the Official Languages Recognition Program at Competency Level 2?

The starting point for the Official Languages Recognition Program for any participating organization is Competency Level 1. Once an organization has completed and met the requirements of a specific competency level, they may elect to progress to the next competency level as it becomes available.

9. When will Competency Level 2 of the OLRP be available?

Competency Level 2 will be available in 2023. An announcement on the release of Competency Level 2 will be communicated and posted on the website. Please subscribe via our News page to be added to our mailing list for future updates.

10. Does Accreditation Canada decide when our organization is ready to progress to the next competency level?

No. The decision on progressing to the next Competency Level is made by your organization once the Competency Level requirements are successfully completed. You may elect to stay at your current Competency Level or progress to the next one.

11. How long do we have to wait before our organization can progress from Competency Level 1 to Competency Level 2?

The organization must complete the Competency Level 1 requirements prior to deciding if they wish to register and strive for Competency Level 2 of the Official Languages Recognition Program. Competency Level 1 has been released first to help organizations begin their journey to improve their official-language accessibility competencies.

12. What happens if our organization is not successful in achieving the requirements for Competency Level 2 of the OLRP?

The objective of this program is to learn and improve. If the Competency Level 2 requirements are not met to achieve the OLRP Foundations Award, the organization may decide whether they want to repeat the peer review assessment after a minimum of 6 months, or whether they wish to remain at Competency Level 1 for a longer period of time.

13. Is the OLRP Foundations Award given at the site level or organization level?

If an organization has multiple sites and/or programs, the Competency Level 2 Award, “OLRP Foundations”, will be given to each site/program (i.e., at one program level for each site) that has met the requirements for Competency Level 2.

14. What are the quality indicator requirements?

Quality indicator identification will begin in Competency Level 2 through your development of the Quality Improvement Practice Plan (QIPP) for your site/program. However, quality indicator data collection will not be monitored until Competency Levels 3-5. Further information on the collection and reporting of quality indicator data will be provided in future program releases.

15. Our organization already has a quality improvement plan. Can we submit it instead of the OLRP Quality Improvement Practice Plan (QIPP)?

No. An organization participating in the Official Languages Recognition Program will need to develop a QIPP in Competency Level 2, based on the results of the self-assessment activity achieved at Level 1. To ensure consistency of the collected information and to reduce the development time, a QIPP template will be provided.

16. Our organization has multiple sites. Should we complete the self-assessment and develop our Quality Improvement Practice Plan at the site level or at organization level?

The self-assessment and Quality Improvement Practice Plan (QIPP) should be completed and developed at the site level. However, it is encouraged that organizations with multiple sites consider looking at all site level QIPP and self-assessment results to identify any relevant organization-wide initiatives.

17. Will the self-assessment results be reviewed by Accreditation Canada?

No, Accreditation Canada will not review your organization’s self-assessment results. A self-assessment is your organization’s internal tool to guide you through your quality improvement progress over time and to help you to develop your Quality Improvement Practice Plan (QIPP).