Amended French language requirements for employers (QC)

On June 1, 2022, An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec(formerly Bill 96), received royal assent from Quebec's National Assembly and will amend the Charter of the French Language(Charter). The new law will come into force over three years.

On July 8, 2022, the Quebec government set out the following deadlines for employers to comply with new requirements to guarantee the use of the French language in their workplaces:

  • Three years to finalize the process for employers with 25 to 49 employees.
  • Six months for employers with 50 or more employees.
  • No deadline and no need to develop a plan for smaller companies.

Some provisions of Bill 96 came into effect as of June 1, 2022, and others will come into effect over three years. The following are some of the key dates and requirements for businesses and employers to take into consideration:

June 1, 2022

  • Written communications to employees must be in French (e.g., offers of employment)
  • Employers must provide employment agreements in French first
  • Employers advertising a job offer in a language other than French must simultaneously advertise the job offer in French
  • Employees can file a complaint with the CNESST if they believe they have been the victims of discrimination or harassment because they have little or no command of a language other than French

September 1, 2022

  • Certified French translations must be attached to judicial pleadings drawn up in English
  • Applications to register security at the Land Register and the Register of personal and movable fundamental rights must be in French

June 1, 2023

  • Contracts of adhesion must be presented in French first
  • Contracts with the civil administration and related documents will have to be drafted in French
  • The Office québécois de la langue française (the "OQLF") may identify businesses with as few as five employees in specific key sectors to which Francisation Québec could offer French language learning services

June 1, 2025

  • Francization rules will apply to companies with 25 or more employees in Quebec, requiring registering with the OQLF
  • Public signs, posters and commercial advertising must be modified to comply with the new trademark exception and "markedly predominant" requirement. Therefore, companies must ensure that their trademarks are registered to benefit from the "trademark exception" under the Charter

More details on employer's requirements under Bill 96 are available here.

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