Federally chartered companies do not comply with "Bill 96" – Le Devoir

Alexandre Fallon

Mar 3, 2023

The federal government’s Bill C-13, designed to strengthen and modernize the Official Languages Act, is stricter on employers than Québec’s language laws, says Alexandre Fallon in an interview with Le Devoir.

In Alexandre’s view, the federal proposal to protect French provides a more precise list of obligations towards companies. For example, the Bill states that computer tools must be in French, while Québec law leaves the Office Québécois de la langue française (OQLF) with a case-by-case assessment for workplaces with more than 25 employees. “In C-13, we go a little further, in the sense that we come to say (…) that there is also the aspect of being supervised in French,” says Alexandre. "That is not present in Québec law.”

The Québec law and the federal text of C-13 have certain similarities. Both have the objective of guaranteeing the right to work in French in Québec. Both offer remedies for employees or consumers who feel aggrieved in their right to use French, although the federal commissioner would not have the power to fine most private companies under his jurisdiction.

The main difference is the Charter of the French language of Québec requires companies to obtain a francization certificate, which requires a plan on increasing the use of French in day-to-day operations, under the supervision of the OQLF. Québec also limits the ability of employers to require knowledge of a language other than French.

Read the full article by authors Boris Proulx and François Carabin published by Le Devoir on March 3, 2023.