Quebec Blocks American Websites Because They Are English

Photo cred - Michael la-Cour

Forcing stores and companies in Quebec to operate in French isn't a hard concept to grasp, it's the official language of the province after all. Does that apply to the online world of the internet? Maybe in some cases, though a recent blocking of an American website to Quebec users by the OQLF simply due to the language difference has justfiably miff'd some citizens, reports CJAD.

Dale Wright, a resident of Ste-Catherine de Hatley, Quebec, was trying to access Williams-Sonoma's online store, only to find that the his computer repeatedly had an error occur when he tried to make a purchase, Wright recounted to CJAD.

The same thing happened to Wright's neighbors, and after a quick phone call to WS's IT department, the Quebecer found the OQLF was to blame.

According to the Office québécois de la langue francaise, any company that physically exists in Quebec needs to have a French version of their website. If not, the site will be blocked to Quebec users, as was the case in Wright's experience.

Defending their stance, the language police told CJAD that they always give a company plenty of time to create a bilingual add-on to their website and tells them to do so. Apparently Williams-Sonoma didn't follow the OQLF's directive.

I doubt anyone is really surprised the OQLF would take such measures, this is the government office that spawned Pastagate, after all. But while the OQLF may feel justified in their actions (they're just protecting the French language, right?) the people who really lose out are the citizens of Quebec. How are Wright and many others supposed to order their Williams-Sonoma Calphalon Unison Nonstick Short Order Griddle if they can't access the website? Seriously though, not okay.

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