12/23/2011 09:58 EST | Updated 02/22/2012 05:12 EST

Medicare agency limiting English allophone services

Quebec's Medicare agency is reportedly preparing to limit English service for new arrivals.

The Canadian Press reports that under new rules to be implemented on January 30, the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) will only provide English service to allophone immigrants for one year.

Right now, if a new arrival speaks to a RAMQ agent in English, a note is placed in their file ensuring they always receive service in that language.

Under the new rules, that same immigrant will reportedly be given a special code and will be served in English for only the first year.

After that, the language will change to French automatically unless the client makes a special request for an exemption.

Language Minister Christine St. Pierre said she thinks the changes will encourage more immigrants to integrate into francophone society.