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Recapping Bill 96 provisions and looking ahead to future requirements - webinar

Author(s): Alexandre Fallon

Jun 20, 2022

While most of the provisions of Bill 96, an Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec, are now in effect, some requirements have a three-year grace period, particularly in relation to trademark registration. Recapping the new provisions, and looking ahead to the future, was the basis of Osler’s Amendments to the Charter of the French language – What you need to know! webinar, presented by Alexandre Fallon, partner, Litigation.

With job postings, and where there is a requirement for a specific level of knowledge of a language other than French, the employer must provide the justification for this requirement within the job description itself. Employees can challenge this requirement and, for this reason, employers are encouraged to keep a file with their analysis which has led to this specification. Should the employer not be able to provide this analysis when challenged, the requirement can be deemed at law not to be justified.

Previously, employment contracts of a Québec employee had to be written in French. However, employees could request that their contract be drafted in English. Now with employment contracts where the essential provisions are non-negotiable, the contract will have to be provided in French before the employee can request that the contract be drafted in English. Failure to do so could render the contract and all its provisions unenforceable if contested by the employee.

Currently the use of a trademark with text in a language other than French is permitted if the mark has been recognized under the federal Trademarks Act and no French version of the mark has been registered. As of June 1, 2025, a trademark containing text in a language other than French can only be used in advertising, signage and product inscriptions if it has been registered under the federal Trademarks Act. Trademark registration in Canada can take a few years; so, companies which will need to meet this requirement in 2025 may want to consider acting now.

View the full webinar