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.
Not many Canadians outside Quebec would be comfortable putting down roots in the province, a recent survey from Maru/Blue suggests.
The survey asked 1,510 Canadians in December 2021 about their level of comfort with the prospect of living in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador). Residents were not able to answer the question about their own province or region.
Results released by Maru Public Opinion show that British Columbia was the most attractive part of Canada. When asked, 65% of respondents either strongly or somewhat agreed they would feel comfortable living there.
The West Coast province was followed by Atlantic Canada (63%). Ontario and Alberta were distant thirds (49% each). 38% of respondents said they would be comfortable living in either Saskatchewan or Manitoba.
In last place was Quebec, where only 24% of poll respondents would be comfortable living.
Maru cautions, however, that the survey did not ask about respondents' reasoning.
"Remember, a place where people feel comfortable living is purely subjective — sometimes it can depend on being able to speak the local language, what you might know of the terrain, or even be based solely on what you’ve seen, read, or heard about the people, the economy, or how welcoming they can be to newcomers," the firm said in a statement.
Quebec, of course, is the only province where French is the sole official and common language. Just 3.8% of residents of Canada outside Quebec identified as francophone in the 2016 census, according to Statistics Canada.
Every city has its codes of behaviour, those norms and collective habits that give rhythm to the urban frenzy. Much of the delight of living in a city springs from those subtle moments of unspoken mutual understanding.
So what are the conventions that define life in Montreal? Local harpist Marie Hamilton, 29, took to Reddit to find out. Her post asking for a list of Montreal's "unwritten rules" has garnered hundreds of upvotes and comments.
She told MTL Blog that the post was inspired by her own experience moving to the metropolis.
"I was curious to hear what Montréalers had to say about the unwritten rules of our city," she said.
"There are so many little aspects of Montréal culture that go unnoticed until it's mentioned or god forbid someone breaks the rule!"
"So much of it I had to learn when I first moved here from Rome. I have so many funny stories of breaking or fearing I was going to break those unsaid rules."
And there seem to be a lot of them. Montrealers flocked to the comments section to give their input.
The local sense of order seems to be the most popular trait.
A few pointed to the practice of standing on the right side of the escalator to let others pass on the left. Others mentioned Montrealers' intuitive habit of forming straight lines while waiting for the bus.
"We pretty much form lines a civil way everywhere. First come, first served," a top comment reads. Another commenter raised the noted exception of metro riders, who, they say, tend to crowd around doors when entering and exiting.
There's also the weird custom of picking a bagel camp and engaging in fruitless, uninformed arguments about dough. "Pick a favorite bagel place and fight anyone that tells you another is better," one commenter wrote.
Then of course there's the famous "bonjour-hi," which, as another commenter explained it, is both a greeting and an invitation to pick a language, but not something you can say back to someone.
Other replies to Hamilton's question seem to imply that though Montreal pedestrians and motorists are mortal enemies, they are united in their complete disregard for the rules of the road.
"Crosswalks are merely a suggestion," one person wrote, commenting on the widespread culture of jaywalking.
Meanwhile, for those behind the wheel, traffic lights mean something a little bit different in Montreal.
"For drivers: yellow means gun it, light switching to red means 'attache ta tuque,'" someone wrote. "For anyone else, switching to red means a brief moment of introspection on your own life value before setting a foot on the road."
But the best part of Montreal might be its culture of tolerance.
As one commenter put it: "you can be as weird as you want and people will let you live in all walks of your life."
In a meeting of Parliament's Standing Committee on Official Languages on Wednesday, Air Canada CEO Michael Rousseau was unanimously invited to share his thoughts on the importance of speaking French.
Conservative Quebec MP Joël Godin first presented the motion to invite Rousseau to speak to the committee at a two-hour meeting "on the place and importance of official languages" at the airline.
In November, Rousseau was under fire from all sides of the linguistic divide after boasting about how he didn't learn any French after living in Montreal for over a decade.
"I've been able to live in Montreal without speaking French and I think that's a testament to the City of Montreal," he told reporters.
His comments triggered swift criticism from politicians and pundits from across the country.
Quebec Minister of the French Language Simon Jolin-Barrette called Rousseau's comment "unworthy of the position he holds." Premier François Legault called it "insulting." Provincial Liberal party leader Dominique Anglade said it was "appalling and disrespectful."
In a statement after the incident, the Air Canada CEO apologized for the remark, saying he wanted to "make it clear" that he didn't intend to "show disrespect for Quebecers and francophones across the country."
"I pledge today to improve my French, an official language of Canada and the common language of Quebec, while tackling the serious commercial challenges facing Air Canada as we move from surviving the pandemic to rebuilding to normalcy."
"I reiterate Air Canada's commitment to show respect for French and, as a leader, I will set the tone."
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.