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Am I affected by the changes introduced by Bill 96?

An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec

Do the new requirements apply to my business?

The adoption of Bill 96, An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec, has raised some questions in the business community. This law states that the only official language of Quebec is French. Therefore, to comply with the requirements of the law, adjustments must be made without delay.

The legislative changes impact companies and organizations doing business in Quebec, i.e., having employees in Quebec and/or serving customers in Quebec.

To ensure compliance with the law, you must:

  • Serve clients in French
  • Respect workers’ rights to conduct business in French
  • Use French in job-related documents, both pre- and post-employment
  • Post job advertisements in French or in a bilingual format
  • Take all reasonable steps to avoid requiring a person to know a language other than the official language in order to remain in or gain access to the position
  • Comply with the francization requirement for companies with 25 or more employees
  • Form a francization committee for companies with 100 or more employees
  • Transmit all requests to the Administration (Quebec government, ministries and organizations) in French
  • Modify the language choice provisions in contracts of adhesion
  • Prepare any document or publication accessible to the public (including social media) in French

What is the deadline for complying with the law?

The majority of the amendments took effect on June 1, 2022 and September 1, 2022. The remaining requirements will take effect over three years, on June 1, 2023, 2024 and 2025.

Are there consequences for not complying with the law?

The penalties

Companies that fail to comply with the requirements risk significant penalties. Each day of violation is a separate offence:

  • 1st violation: $3,000 to $30,000
  • 2st nd violation: $6,000 to $60,000
  • Subsequent violations: $9,000 to $90,000

The fines

Directors and executive officers are also subject to fines. It should be noted that with this law, the inspection and investigation powers of the Office québécois de la langue française have been significantly increased.

How can I ensure that my business is compliant or in the process of becoming compliant?

We have a team of lawyers specialized in compliance and labour law to answer all your questions. They can help you identify your legal risks and assist you in setting up a management strategy.