Here's How Quebec's New French Language Bill Would Impact Stores & Businesses

Quebec released its Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec — Bill 96 — on May 13. The bill proposes changes to the current Charter of the French Language and would have major implications for businesses in Quebec, along with government offices, communication, education and more.

Here's a closer look at how Bill 96 would affect stores and businesses in the province.

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Francization Committees

The current Charter of the French Language requires companies with 100 or more employees to form francization committees.

These committees evaluate the state of the French language at the company and report to the management of the company as well as the Office québécois de la langue française. 

The new bill would apply this to companies with 25-99 employees as well. 

Complaints To The OQLF

In a press conference on May 13, Quebec's French-language minister, Simon Jolin-Barrette, said that a customer who is refused service in French at a Quebec business may file a complaint with the OQLF, or may seek civil recourse — meaning go to court — for a business with more than five employees.

"The idea behind this proposal is to change, to take concrete action to ensure that, in downtown Montreal, we can be informed and served in French," Jolin-Barette said.

"From now on, it will be possible to file a complaint with the OQLF, so that the OQLF can accompany the company to bring about a change within the company to ensure that, from now on, Quebec consumers can be served and informed in French."

Signs With Non-French Trademarks

In the same press conference, Premier François Legault explained that if a company is using a registered trademarked name in a language other than French, the French-language description of a company's services should be larger than the trademark itself.

"The majority of the sign has to be in French. If, for example, you have Canadian Tire, the words like, "centre de rénovation" will need to be a bit bigger than Canadian Tire," Legault said.