In a statement shared with MTL Blog, the OQLF said that its "publications [...] in social networks, such as those concerning take-out orders, Good Friday and After-Christmas sales, aim to promote French expressions and terms and to enhance the use of the French language."
"The Office's linguistic resources help equip Quebecers and the various workplaces to help make French the normal and usual language of work and the public space."
The OQLF has been making headlines all year and is set to expand thanks to new investment from the government.
Some Quebecers have questioned the Office's tactics during the pandemic, even calling for the organization to be abolished.
Ah, the OQLF, the Quebec agency charged with promoting the French language and enforcing laws that protect it.
In addition to providing resources for French learners and launching campaigns to encourage its use, the office also investigates possible violations of the Charter of the French Language, or Bill 101. Commonly referred to as the collection of the province's "language laws," Bill 101 establishes rules for the use of French in commercial activity.
On its website, the OQLF publishes the names of businesses its investigations found violated the Charter. If found guilty, these businesses could be liable to a fine imposed by a Quebec court.
Here are the Montreal businesses that have been slapped with a fine for violating language laws in 2021.
Qiang Zhong Inc. Real Estate
In October, a $1,500 fine went to Qiang Zhong Inc., a real estate company in Montreal.
The OQLF cited a violation of section 52 of the Charter, which states that "catalogues, brochures, folders, commercial directories and any similar publications must be drawn up in French."
According to the OQLF, the company posted advertising on Facebook that wasn't translated to French.
Dress 2 Impress/Agence D2I
Earlier in October, this modelling agency was fined $600, also for violating section 52.
The OQLF said in its announcement that the company "was accused of having a website (www.d2i-agency.com) with content that was not in French."
Guy LaRue Notary
In May, this notary business in Verdun was slapped with a $600 fine after the owner pleaded guilty to violating section 58 of the French language charter, according to the OQLF.
Section 58 states that "public signs and posters and commercial advertising must be in French" or French and another language so long as the French is "markedly predominant."
The office says the notary business had signs on which French was not predominant.
In April, this company in Saint-Laurent was given a $1,500 fine after pleading guilty to a Charter section 52 violation.
The OQLF says that a complaint was issued in 2019 because the company's website didn't have a French translation.
Le Marché Fooderie
In April, Le Marché Fooderie was fined $1,500 for a violation of section 52 of the Charter of the French Language. We're seeing a theme on this list.
In what looks like a classic situation, the OQLF says the business was accused of not having French content on its website.
Diebold Nixdorf Canada, Limited
Diebold Nixdorf Canada, Limited paid a $1,500 fine in April for violating section 140 of the Charter, according to the language watchdog.
Section 140 stipulates that the OQLF can order a business to "adopt a francization program" if it finds that "the use of French is not generalized at all levels of the enterprise." The business then has six months to send its program plan to the office for approval.
The OQLF says Diebold Nixdorf was accused of not sending in a plan on time.
The OQLF is working to keep French as the language of business. The office announced that on October 21, a Quebec court fined a Montreal-based real estate broker $1,500 for violating the language law on ads and publications.
Qiang Zhong Inc., a real estate broker, was accused of "not having written in French the commercial publications posted on its Facebook page," according to a press release. The accusation followed a complaint.
The OQLF recorded the infraction on October 23, 2019.
The office explained Zhong was in violation of Article 52 of the Charter of the French Language, which states that "catalogues, brochures, folders, commercial directories and any similar publications must be drawn up in French."
According to the OQLF, "This includes posts of this nature disseminated on websites and social media."
In its press release, the OQLF reiterated that its job is to ensure "that French is the normal and usual language of work, communication, commerce, business and administration."
MTL Blog reached out to Zhong for comment and will update this article when we get a response.
The OQLF was under a lot of pressure during the height of the pandemic, with calls to abolish the organization after a series of high-profile incidents involving Montreal-area businesses.
Meanwhile, the CAQ government has committed to expanding the organization, opening new offices in Laval, Longueuil and Drummondville so that it can "intervene more effectively where its presence in francization is a necessity," according to a September 2020 press release.
The new offices will also give the Montreal office room to "focus solely on the metropolis," the government said.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
Over the past year, two Quebecers, Florence-Olivia and Marie-Emmanuelle Genesse, started The.SisOfficial platform on both TikTok and Instagram, where they share information from their research on violence against women.
One of their TikTok videos, which showcased a hand gesture for individuals to use when they're experiencing violence at home, went viral and was shared with a caption saying, "This can save lives." And it turns out it did.
MTL Blog got the chance to speak with the creators of The.SisOffical platform on their background in research about violence against women and the importance of sharing different signals with the public. You can read our interview below.
What made you start The.SisOfficial account?
We started The.SisOfficial a bit more than a year ago, when Covid started and we were both at home because [our] school was now fully online. Flo is doing her Masters in Legal Philosophy (her area of research is sexual violence) at Johns Hopkins University and Emma is doing her Masters in Feminist Philosophy at Concordia University and her research focuses on domestic violence. We wanted to find a way to share our research with as many people as possible, but in a way that everyone would be able to understand and enjoy learning about these facts.
Sometimes, philosophy and research on violence against women can be difficult to understand, so we wanted to create a platform where people could go to get educated on these important issues, while not having to read hundreds of pages or research.
When we saw that some people were getting millions of views to dance on TikTok, we decided to combine our dance background (we danced semi-professionally for 18 years) with our research so that these millions of views could also help save lives and educate people.
We did not expect the platform to grow as much as it did, but we are so happy that our work can have an impact on women's lives. We have received many testimonies where young girls and women told us about their stories and that seeing our page has helped them in many ways.
We also receive messages from men saying they did not know they could be feminist as men and that we have helped them see that the word 'feminist' is not a bad word, but rather the basic notion that women should be treated as human too.
How did you learn about the hand signal? Why did you think it was important to share it?
As violence against women researchers, we are always on the lookout for signals, hand signs or new ways to incorporate in daily life safety tools to help women, so we were already aware of this hand signal for domestic abuse (which comes from the Canadian Women's Foundation).
For us, it is important to discuss violence against women as much as possible because it is very often taboo in society. To have a platform like we have with The.SisOfficial (350K followers on TikTok and almost 50K on Instagram) means that we have a duty to share these hand signals and safety tips for women, but also so that other people will recognize it and [be] able to help them, like with that happened in the US recently.
It was important for us to share it in a manner that was also like a real-life situation (we reenacted a FaceTime call) because since COVID-19, women are more than ever stuck at home with their abusers and FaceTimes are very often their only way to communicate with people outside their home.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
The campaign, entitled Partage ton français, targeted teens aged 13 to 17 and included posters offering French alternatives to common internet lingo like selfie (égoportrait), binge-watching (visionnement en rafale) and newsfeed (fil d'actualité), among other casual terms relating to fashion, sports and video games.
The OQLF also designed shareable social media stickers on Giphy encouraging students to "partage ton amour," "partage ton exploit," "partage ton humour," "partage ton œuvre" and "partage ton escapade."
High school teachers could also find workshops that challenged students to think about the language they use on social media.