Creating and sharing innovative models for language interpreter services and cultural bridging in health care: A health equity approach

In many areas of healthcare, language interpretation and cultural brokering services either do not exist or are underutilized. As a result, newcomers avoid healthcare, receive less adequate healthcare due to lack of understanding, or experience additional risks due to reliance on family members for interpretation services. As a result, newcomers’ healthcare needs are inadequately addressed across primary care, urgent care, mental health care, and acute care contexts. This can lead to poorer health outcomes and significant costs to newcomer families and to our healthcare and social systems. Our proposal addresses these healthcare inequities for newcomers. Overcoming access barriers remains a human rights issue provincially and across Canada. Building on our teams’ longstanding collaborations across the Capital Region, we will collaboratively identify promising practices related to navigating provincial and local language and cultural resources to assist newcomer communities. This urgent issue will only become more pressing as Victoria continues to increase in ethnic, racial, and linguistic diversity due to the Canadian government’s commitment to increasing rates of immigration and refugee settlement across the country.