After several highly-publicized stories involving the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) in Montreal over the past couple of weeks, the language debate has once again been placed under the microscope. 

And with a pandemic already ravaging small businesses in the city, some have expressed frustration with the OQLF, even petitioning for the province's language authority to be abolished

While the debate rages on, a group of concerned marketing experts in Quebec is taking the opportunity to provide a service for small business owners looking to navigate the province's language laws. 

Meet the Office québécois de la langue anglaise (OQDLLA). We spoke with George Zikos, founder of the OQDLLA to find out what it's all about. 

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Why does the OQDLLA exist? 

"We want to help smaller businesses and even larger businesses navigate the language laws so they’re not getting fined and they do things properly because this is Quebec — we have to follow the laws," Zikos told MTL Blog. 

Utilizing the grand dictonaire terminologique of the OQLF, the OQDLLA helps business owners make sense of sometimes subjective signage standards and regulations. 

"I’ve seen firsthand the stress that inspectors can bring to owners of mom and pop businesses," said Zikos in a press release.

"After seeing the news stories about Italia Patisserie and Kitchen 73, I had an idea of how I could help."

Why do companies need this service? 

Zikos explained that the OQDLLA services both French and English businesses but that many of the organization's clients hire the OQDLLA to guarantee their English communications are clear and make sense. 

"We notice a lot of companies using Google Translate for their communications and you can tell that their websites aren’t written well," he said. 

The OQDLLA doesn't exclusively service Quebec-based businesses, either. The organization has clients from all over the French-speaking world. 

"We work with French people every single day. They require excellent English communications to speak to their clients either in this province or in other countries," said Zikos. 

Improving the quality of English services in Quebec

What the OQDLLA isn't is a tongue-in-cheek insult of the OQLF.

Instead, the OQDLLA aims to work with the province's language watchdog more closely to ensure that Quebec businesses have the potential for success not only in the province but across the globe. 

"There are many Québec products and services we believe offer consumers everywhere a unique experience — from food to film and music to technology," he said. 

"If we make certain that everybody knows the rules and the laws, they will follow them." 

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