Language Rights

Language Rights

The Charter of the French language defines the obligations of organizations operating in Québec with respect to the use of French, just as the Official Languages Act does for certain entities under federal jurisdiction. As the Charter applies in a great many areas, understanding the spirit and letter of the law is essential to avoid exposure to consequences, sanctions and penalties that are at times severe.

Our team explains all your obligations and guides you in bringing your practices into compliance with the latest legislative and regulatory requirements for the use of French. Drawing on extensive experience spanning a broad range of industries including cross-border and international transactions, our professionals assist you in identifying, assessing, managing and mitigating the everyday risks you face in all aspects of your operations.

If necessary, our lawyers provide you with strategic advice and actively represent you at all stages of administrative or penal proceedings in language law matters.

We also provide resources to assist you in implementing the obligation to have certain documents translated, including contractual documents, corporate policies and documents relating to employees’ conditions of employment.

Signs, posters, advertising, marketing and trademarks

  • Assisting and advising businesses to ensure compliance with requirements relating to public signs and posters (billboards, signs, posters, etc.), commercial advertising, marketing (including rules governing product labelling and packaging, as well as documents accompanying products, such as user instructions and warranty conditions) and trademarks

Language of service and information

  • Advising companies on the fulfilment of their obligations to consumers (particularly in relation to the language of service and information)
  • Supporting businesses in reviewing and updating documents applicable to contractual relations with consumers
  • Guiding businesses to help them identify and mitigate the risks posed by legislative amendments to protect consumer interests

Contracts and policies

  • Reviewing and updating contractual documents (contracts, policies, brochures, leaflets, purchase orders, business directories, invoices, receipts, releases, etc.)
  • Advising on the risks related to the applicable contractual rules, in particular with regard to membership, enrolment and subscription agreements, known as “contracts of adhesion” in Québec

Language of work

  • Advising employers on their language of work obligations, including offers of employment, transfer or promotion, individual employment contracts, communications with employees and unions, documents relating to conditions of employment, as well as training documents for staff
  • Supporting employers in fulfilling their obligations and implementing solutions aimed at promoting respect for workers’ language rights and limiting the risks of failing to respect these rights
  • Guiding employers with respect to the rules protecting workers’ language rights, including prohibited practices

Francization of businesses

  • Assisting businesses in the various stages of the francization process established under the Charter, from registering with the Office québécois de la langue française to maintaining the francization certificate and analyzing the linguistic situation

Relations with the government, government departments and public bodies

  • Providing strategic advice on the rules governing business and contractual relations with agencies of the civil administration
  • Supporting businesses in reviewing and updating their documents and business practices in connection with relations or contracts with the civil administration