Québec tells federally regulated firms to guarantee use of French among employees – CBC

Alexandre Fallon

Jul 12, 2022

As the federal government considers changes to the Official Languages Act that would affect federally regulated companies, the government of Québec is stepping in. The province’s recently adopted Bill 96 — which made significant amendments to the Charter of the French Language — expands the reach of its language laws to federally regulated industries like transportation, banking and telecommunications.

Earlier this month, the Office québécois de la langue française told more than 800 companies to start developing their plans to allows their employees to work in French, requesting within 30 days the name of a contact person and the number of employees from those organizations under federal jurisdiction. Large companies with at least 50 employees will have six months to finalize their plan. Simon Jolin-Barrette, Minister of Justice and newly Minister of the French Language, says that the province has the power to set these requirements for all businesses in Québec.

Osler litigation partner Alexandre Fallon tells CBC’s Daniel Leblanc that this move could end up in court.

“There is clearly scope for some conflict with federal legislation in the employment sphere, and one would expect that the federal Justice department could intervene in such cases to preserve federal jurisdiction,” Alexandre says.

You can read the full article, “Québec tells federally regulated firms to guarantee use of French among employees,” on the CBC’s website.