Bill 96 and business: How Québec’s proposals will affect its companies, employees and labour rights

Jan 10, 2022 2 MIN READ
Alexandre Fallon

Partner, Disputes, Montréal

There has been significant debate during the last year over the proposed changes to Québec’s Charter of the French Language, amendments commonly known as Bill 96. This legislation aims to fortify and expand the use of French as the language of commerce and the workplace within the province, though critics have suggested that it may cause unintended consequences that will make Québec a less attractive place to do business. One of the main pillars of Bill 96 is its provisions related to employment and labour law, covering everything from hiring practices to internal human resources processes. Lexpert asked Osler litigation partner Alexandre Fallon to address these changes and what they mean for businesses that are located or do business in Québec.

What businesses will be most affected by the suggested amendments to the Québec Charter of the French Language? Will federally regulated businesses be forced to comply? What is the rationale behind amending the French Charter, and why now?

The amendments will affect all businesses, albeit sometimes in different ways. Businesses that have employees in Québec will have to deal with new requirements on job postings and communications with their employees. Businesses that sell goods and services in Québec, even if they have no brick and mortar operations in the province will face greater litigation risk in terms of their advertising and product packaging practices. Finally, all businesses face increased risk in terms of enforceability of agreements that are not in French, including employment agreements.

Read more of Alexandre’s discussion of Bill 96 and how Québec's proposals will affect its companies, employees, and labour rights.