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About Sickkids
About SickKids

April 24, 2009

SickKids receives $9.2 million in federal funding for immigrant support network

Newcomer families will have improved access to health-care services at SickKids as they settle and integrate into Canada, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today during a press conference at SickKids.

“The Hospital for Sick Children is a vital resource for many immigrant families, whose first contact with the medical system may well be through this hospital,” said Minister Kenney. “This government is committed to helping make the integration easier for newcomers. When we invest in these kinds of projects, we are investing in the future of all Canadians.”

SickKids has received $9.2 million in funding for an immigrant support network that will improve access to health-care services for immigrant newcomers and assist the staff at SickKids to better meet the needs of their patients. The support network will include the translation of core patient health education articles into the most commonly required languages at the hospital; these articles will be available online and as audio files. Another component of the network is cultural awareness education for health-care professionals, including a comprehensive needs assessment to determine the nature and frequency of issues faced by immigrant children and their families. It is anticipated that approximately 73,800 newcomers will benefit from this investment.

“SickKids is thrilled to partner with Citizenship and Immigration on creating accessible health information for new immigrant families in Ontario,” said Mary Jo Haddad, SickKids President and CEO. “The funding provided will allow us to adapt current information and processes to better meet the health needs of this important population and make best practices available to other hospitals across Ontario through workshops and training on cultural competence.”

Did you know? At SickKids, Interpreter Services provides oral and sign language assistance in approximately 45 to 50 languages per year. Requests for Chinese languages (specifically Cantonese and Mandarin) account for approximately one-third of Interpreter Services’ total requests. Other frequently requested languages are Spanish, Vietnamese, Tamil, Punjabi and Portuguese. Since French is one of the country's official languages, one of the staff Medical Interpreters provides French language service. The top languages that we provide service for can vary depending on international and immigrant activity.

The primary mandate of Interpreter Services is the oral exchange of information necessary to provide treatment, between the health-care provider and the patients/families who do not share a common language. Typically, Interpreter Services is involved in informed consent, disclosure of diagnoses and protocols, pre-operative and post-operative instructions, pharmacy/diabetic/transplant teaching, social work/psychology/psychiatry assessments and palliative care.