May 8, 2022
Bill 96, the legislation that imposes far stricter French language requirements on small business and companies in federally regulated industries recently passed into law. In an article for The Canadian Press, Christopher Reynolds writes that the bill applies to thousands of businesses that had previously been exempt from “francization,” the name given to government certification of generalized French language use in the workplace. Increased francization will result in a multitude of fees and expenses, which has caused much anxiety among business owners.
Businesses will also be subject to increased scrutiny if they do not follow new regulations. Members of the public and employees can incite an investigation from the provincial Office Québécois de la langue française if a business is not abiding by the new rules. The basis for a case can include customer service encounters, receipts, brochures, product packaging, menus and advertising. Under the previous legislation of Bill 101, instances of non-compliance with language regulations had been resolved between the company and the watchdog with negotiable deadlines. The introduction of Bill 96 will change this process.
“Now any Québec resident who feels that in an interaction with a business their rights under the Charter of the French Language have not been satisfied … could make a claim for damages,” explained Alexandre Fallon, a partner in the Litigation practice at Osler’s office in Montréal. He continued to say that “Even if an agreement is reached with the regulator, private litigation could still ensue… Businesses small and large are very worried.”
Read the full article, “‘Making monsters of each other’: Businesses fear impact of Québec language law,” by Christopher Reynolds which appeared online May 8.