Air Canada Has Registered With The OQLF More Than A Year After Its CEO's Major Anglo Blunder

Bienvenue à bord, or else!

Staff Writer
An Air Canada Boeing 787 Dreamliner flies over snowy mountain peaks.

An Air Canada Boeing 787 Dreamliner flies over snowy mountain peaks.

Air Canada, the nation's flagbearing airline, has taken the bold step of voluntarily registering with the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) following "several months of discussions," according to a recent company press release.

"Air Canada is proud of its commitment to the French language in Quebec and across its global network," the company wrote, saying that this move "reflects its aim to contribute to the protection, promotion and reach of the French language, while complying with the Official Languages Act."

This voluntary subjection to the OQLF may come as a surprise to those familiar with the airline's rocky history with the French language, including one notable incident in which the company's CEO lauded the fact that he'd lived in Montreal for 14 years without speaking any French.

People were pissed, so much so that Canada's official language watchdog recorded over 2,500 individual complaints related to the incident — far and away a record number.

Now, Air Canada is facing stricter requirements in terms of the use of French throughout the company. Thanks to Bill 96, businesses registered with the OQLF will have to complete an analysis detailing the use of French across company workplaces. The OQLF will then decide whether to issue a francization certificate.

If they decide not to issue that certificate, the business in question will have to adopt a francization program intended to improve French across the company. Should Air Canada fail to receive a francization certificate and then fail to adhere to a francization plan, the company would be subject to fines.

Montreal-based firm CN has also recently registered with the OQLF, saying that "French is the official and common language of Quebec and we are proud to do our part in promoting and protecting French," according to a CN press release.

We'll just have to wait and see whether Air Canada is able to meet the francization guidelines laid out by the OQLF. Perhaps their CEO will finally say his first "bonjour."

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Willa Holt
Staff Writer
Willa Holt is a Creator for MTL Blog, often found covering weird and wonderful real estate and local politics from her home base in Montreal.