Bill 96: New French language obligations affecting workplaces, business, contracts and more (2023)

(Updated on June 9, 2022)

Is Bill 96 law?

After much debate, Bill 96 was finally adopted by the Québec legislature on May 24, 2022. Despite opposition, the Government of Québec has moved forward to adopt Bill 96, thus significantly paving the way for major changes to the Charter of the French Language (Québec) (the Charter) and other laws, such as the Civil Code of Québec and the Consumer Protection Act (Québec).

(Video) Bill 96: A town hall

Bill 96 was assented to a week later, on June 1, 2022.

(Video) Issues that Keep Employers Up at Night

What will Bill 96 change?

Bill 96 imposes new French language obligations affecting the language of work, commerce and business, contracts, signs, communications between the Government and businesses, education, the courts, and more.

(Video) Bill 96, Zoom presentation by MNA Greg Kelley

Our first bulletins on Bill 96 summarized some of the key legislative amendments initially proposed by the Bill. See our previous bulletins on Bill 96, from May 2021: Linguistics 101: Our take on language reform in Québec's Bill 96and Bill 96: What about the workplace?

(Video) QCGN Public Hearings on Bill 96: September 17, 2021

It is important to note that, since its introduction, Bill 96 has undergone a detailed clause-by-clause study in committee, and many of its provisions have been modified. Some changes were even made recently, after the conclusion of the committee’s analysis. Although the modifications have addressed some of the issues and concerns raised during public consultations, many other issues and concerns remain. We remain hopeful that at least some of these will be addressed in upcoming amendments to the regulations adopted under the Charter.

(Video) RAWQ's Virtual Community Information Session

Here are some of the key amendments to the Charter, which impact businesses and are non-exhaustive (for instance, they do not address amendments to education or the courts):

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Workplace

  • Businesses with 25 to 49 employees in Québec will be subject to the same francization rules as those with 50 to 99 employees. These businesses will have to generalize the use of French across all levels of their enterprise.
  • Businesses employing between 25 and 100 persons will also have to set up a francization committee if required by theOffice québécois de la langue française (Office).
  • TheOfficewill be able to impose French language learning services to businesses that have fiveor more employees.
  • Employers will have to comply with new rules regarding the drafting of employment documentation and offers to fill a position, as well as the requirement of knowledge of a language other than French from an employee or a candidate for the position.

Business Matters

Civil Administration / Public Bodies

  • All public contracts (that is, contracts entered into by the Civil Administration) will have to be drafted exclusively in French. There are certain cases where a version in another language may be attached to the French version (notably, in certain agreements relating to Native affairs, intergovernmental or international agreements, etc.). Public contracts may be drafted exclusively in a language other than French in prescribed and limited circumstances.
  • In addition, any communication between a business and an agency of the Civil Administration concerning a permit, subsidy or other authorization or financial assistance of a similar nature will need to be made exclusively in French, with a few exceptions.
  • Any business providing services to the public on behalf of the Civil Administration will also have to comply with the provisions of the Charter that would be applicable to the Civil Administration if the latter had provided these services to the public directly.

Commerce and Business

  • The Bill reinforces the obligation of businesses offering goods and services to consumers to respect their right to be served in French. Businesses offering goods and services to a public other than consumers must inform and serve that public in French by default.
  • Any business entering into contracts of adhesion in their relations with clients and suppliers (as opposed to contracts by mutual agreement negotiated between the parties) must ensure they remit the French version of such contracts to their clients and suppliers before the latter can express their wish to be bound by versions written in another language. This requirement also extends to any document related to such contracts but excludes a number of contracts, including contracts used in relations with persons outside Québec.
  • As for real estate transactions, contracts by mutual agreement of sale or exchange respecting part or all of residential buildings with fewer than five dwellings, as well as certain other documents related to the sale of real estate, will need to be drafted in French, unless the parties expressly indicate their wish to draft them in another language.

Public Signs, Advertising and Products

  • As for public signs and commercial advertising, using a trademark in a language other than French will still be permitted when no French version of the trademark is registered in Canada and when a French generic description or slogan is added. If these conditions are not met, the trademark will have to be accompanied by amarkedly predominant French translation.
  • In addition, the French language will need to be markedly predominant in exterior signage when expressions from another language appear in the business name found on an exterior sign.
  • As for inscriptions on products, they must be drafted in French. The French inscription may be accompanied by a translation, but no inscription in another language may be given greater prominence than that in French or be available on more favourable terms. Despite the foregoing, a registered trademark may appear on a product in a language other than French where no corresponding French version appears in the register kept under the Trademarks Act. However, if a generic term or a description of the product is included in the trademark, it must appear in French on the product or on a medium permanently attached to the product.

Sanctions

Civil Sanctions

  • A contract, judgment or any other act containing a provision that contravenes the Charter may be nullified at the request of the person who suffers the damage. The latter may also request a reduction in his or her obligations under the act. The nullity will be deemed absolute if an agency of the civil administration is a party to the act, even without prejudice.
  • Upon application for the imposition of a sanction, the court may make any order as it sees fit.
  • In an adhesion or consumer contract, any clause not written in French will be deemed unintelligible (irrebuttable presumption) unless the adhering party has expressly requested the contract to be written in that other language, in accordance with applicable restrictions.

Administrative Sanctions

  • The Minister of the French Language may suspend or revoke a permit or authorization for contravention of the Charter. In other words, the Minister will have the power to suspend or revoke a permit delivered by another authority in Québec.

Penal Sanctions

  • The fines for contravening the Charter now range between $700 and $7,000 for individuals, and between $3,000 and $30,000 in other cases. These amounts are doubled for a second offence and tripled for any additional offence. For each day that the offence continues, fines are applied. In addition, directors and officers of a company will see their fines doubled in comparison to the fines applicable to other individuals.

When will Bill 96 come into force?

While some of the amendments proposed in the Bill came into force upon its sanction on June 1, 2022, others will only come into effect later. For example, the amendments extending francization rules to businesses with 25 to 49 employees in Québec will come into effect three years after the Bill’s sanction. As such, it is important to inquire about your particular situation to assess what actions you need to take to comply with the new Charter provisions, and how much time you have to do so.

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Be sure to read our upcoming bulletins, which will discuss the impact of Bill 96 in more detail. In the meantime, if you would like to know more about the impact of Bill 96 on your business, please contact one of the BLG team members listed below.

(Video) QCGN Town Hall: Bill C-13

FAQs

What does Bill 96 mean for businesses? ›

Bill 96 expands the francization requirements for companies. Until now, only companies employing 50 or more people in a 6-month period had to register and obtain a francization certificate from the Office.

What do I need to know about Bill 96? ›

Bill 96 imposes new French language obligations affecting the language of work, commerce and business, contracts, signs, communications between the Government and businesses, education, the courts, and more. Our first bulletins on Bill 96 summarized some of the key legislative amendments initially proposed by the Bill.

Who introduced Bill 96? ›

CBC contacted the office of Quebec's justice minister and minister responsible for the French language, Simon Jolin-Barrette, who introduced Bill 96.

Can Bill 96 be overturned? ›

The EMSB says Bill 96 contravenes Section 23 of the charter, which covers minority language education rights and cannot be overridden by the notwithstanding clause.

How will bill 96 affect businesses? ›

Businesses which offer goods or services in Québec must inform and serve their clientele, both consumer and business clients, in French. This principle is now an express obligation which, if contravened, is an offence punishable by fines. This comes into force immediately upon assent: June 1, 2022.

How does bill 96 impact employers? ›

Effective June 1, 2022, Bill 96 requires that French become the main language for all employment matters in the workplace. This includes all policies, training documents, termination letters and documents related to the hiring processes (i.e. job application forms and postings).

What will happen with Bill 96? ›

The bill proposes taking away the bilingual status of any municipality that does not have a population of at least 50 per cent English speakers. Cities and boroughs that want to preserve their status can adopt a resolution to that effect.

How will Bill 96 affect education? ›

Bill 96 places enrolment caps on the English system, which will limit how many francophones and allophones can access English CEGEPs. All students will be required to take three more courses in French.

What is the significance of the Bill of Rights which was included in the 1996 Constitution? ›

1. This Bill of Rights is a cornerstone of democracy in South Africa. It enshrines the rights of all people in our country and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom. 2.

How was Bill 96 passed? ›

On May 12, 2022, the National Assembly adopted Bill 96 with amendments after taking into consideration the report of the Commission on Culture and Education. On May 24, 2022, Bill 96 officially passed into law with the majority of the National Assembly voting in favour of it.

What is the role of 96 of the Constitution Act 1867? ›

96 of the Constitution Act, 1867 is a bar to a plan whereby the federal government and a provincial government would by conjoint action transfer the criminal jurisdiction of Provincial Superior Courts to a new court to be called the “unified criminal court” the judges of which would be provincially appointed.

Who proposed Bill 96 Quebec? ›

Originally an idea of Jacques-Cartier Liberal MNA Greg Kelley, Jolin-Barrette made it happen in Bill 96. June 2023 is also the date where French will be used exclusively as the language of communication by the government.

Who can stop a bill from becoming a law? ›

If the President refuses to sign it, the bill does not become a law. When the President refuses to sign the bill, the result is called a veto. Congress can try to overrule a veto. To do this, both the Senate and the House must vote to overrule the President's veto by a two-thirds majority.

Can the government take away the Bill of Rights? ›

The government cannot limit your rights to just those listed in the Bill of Rights.

Does the Emergency Act override the Charter of rights? ›

Under the Emergencies Act, a declaration of an emergency by the Cabinet must be reviewed by Parliament. Any temporary laws made under the act are subject to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Bill of Rights, and must have regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Has Bill 96 been passed? ›

On June 1, 2022, Bill 96 received “Royal Assent,” meaning it has been approved by the Lieutenant-Governor and has now become a law. Some of its sections are now enforceable while other sections are subject to various “transition periods.”

Does Bill 96 affect Ontario? ›

Bill 96 affects all businesses with operations or employees in the province. However, the law has implications beyond Quebec. Ontario businesses have also begun noticing the impact of the new language bill.

Is French mandatory in Montreal? ›

All services must be provided in French, as speaking French is a requirement to work in any job that deals with the general public. Locals who run small businesses will speak English if their client base is Anglophone and/or if they deal with other Canadian provinces.

Who does the Employment Rights Act 1996 apply to? ›

All your workers are protected by the Employment Rights Act 1996, as amended, against suffering any harm because of any reasonable actions they take on health and safety grounds. This applies regardless of their length of service.

Is the Workplace Relations Act 1996 still current? ›

The Act was repealed on 1 July 2009 by the Fair Work Act 2009 passed by the Rudd Labor Government, and superseded by the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009.

How does the Employment Equity Act impact the workplace? ›

The Employment Equity Act is the law that promotes equity in the workplace, ensures that all employees receive equal opportunities and that employees are treated fairly by their employers. The law protects you from unfair treatment and any form of discrimination.

How does Bill 96 affect international students? ›

The Bill's effect on immigrants and international students

Bill 96 has made it so that all new immigrants have six months to learn the French language. After six months, all government services will be provided to them in French only.

Do you have to speak French to work in Quebec? ›

Since the new law was passed, speaking French is now mandated in companies with more than 25 employees across the province. The Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ) has released a 15-second ad demonstrating the differences between at-work French and English.

What does Bill 96 mean for CEGEPs? ›

Bill 96 will limit the number of francophones and allophones that can enroll in the English system. The government says it's to promote the French system, to keep the language going strong.

Who will Bill 96 affect? ›

Bill 96, adopted by Québec's National Assembly in May 2022, brings significant amendments to the Charter of the French Language that will affect all businesses with operations or employees in the province.

How does Bill 96 affect English schools? ›

It caps enrolment at English-language junior colleges and requires students who do attend those CEGEPs to take three additional French classes. It also extends some of the provisions of the province's existing language charter.

Does Bill 96 affect university students? ›

The changes to education in Bill 96 mean students at junior colleges (CEGEPs) will be obliged to take either three core courses in French or three in French-language education if they enrol in an English institution.

What is the purpose of the Bill of Rights and why is it so important? ›

It spells out Americans' rights in relation to their government. It guarantees civil rights and liberties to the individual—like freedom of speech, press, and religion. It sets rules for due process of law and reserves all powers not delegated to the Federal Government to the people or the States.

What is the most important value of the Bill of Rights and why? ›

The Importance of the Bill of Rights The Bill of Rights is really important for many reasons but a really big one is our American Freedom. It protects our freedom of speech, religion, assembly, and due process of law.

What are the 3 most important Bill of Rights and why? ›

The most important rights in the Bill of Rights are the ones guaranteed by the 1st Amendment. They include the freedoms of religion, speech, and the press. The right of the people to assemble (gather together) is also guaranteed.

Which Privacy Act was passed by the US Congress and signed into law in 1996? ›

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law that required the creation of national standards to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient's consent or knowledge.

Is Montreal becoming more English? ›

For the first time in the census, the number of people in Quebec whose first official language spoken is English topped 1 million and their proportion of the population rose from 12.0% in 2016 to 13.0% in 2021. Moreover, 7 in 10 English speakers lived on Montréal Island or in Montérégie.

Can I speak English in Montreal? ›

Montreal is a bilingual city; chances are that the guy or girl sitting next to you speaks both English and French. Your classmates could be quite helpful if you need help understanding a specific word, sentence or anything else.

What is the purpose of Article I Section Nine what powers are denied in that section? ›

The Meaning

Article I, Section 9 specifically prohibits Congress from legislating in certain areas. In the first clause, the Constitution bars Congress from banning the importation of slaves before 1808. In the second and third clauses, the Constitution specifically guarantees rights to those accused of crimes.

Which section of the Constitution of 1996 relates specifically to Labour rights? ›

Labour Rights in the Constitution

Section 23: Labour Relations. Everyone has the right to fair labour practices; Every worker has the right to form and join a trade union and to participate in the union's activities; Every worker has the right to strike.

What is the purpose of Section 36 of the Constitution 1996? ›

Section 36(1) provides that rights may be limited only 'in terms of law of general application'. This requirement arises from an important principle of the rule of law, namely that rules should be stated in a clear and accessible manner.

Can Bill 96 be overturned? ›

The EMSB says Bill 96 contravenes Section 23 of the charter, which covers minority language education rights and cannot be overridden by the notwithstanding clause.

Who started Bill 96? ›

2021 amendment (Bill 96)

On May 12, 2021, The CAQ Quebec government of François Legault announced Bill 96, which will strengthen the charter. Bill 96 invokes the notwithstanding clause, allowing the law to temporarily override sections 2 and 7-15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Why was the Quebec Act so controversial? ›

The British colonists, who had settled in the 13 American colonies, regarded the Quebec Act as one of the Intolerable Acts, exhibiting the British Empire's intention to deny the colonists their inalienable rights and helping to push them toward revolution.

Who can override laws? ›

The President may veto bills Congress passes, but Congress may also override a veto by a two-thirds vote in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Article I of the Constitution enumerates the powers of Congress and the specific areas in which it may legislate.

How does a bill become a law override? ›

If the President vetoes the bill it is sent back to Congress with a note listing his/her reasons. The chamber that originated the legislation can attempt to override the veto by a vote of two-thirds of those present. If the veto of the bill is overridden in both chambers then it becomes law.

Can a bill be challenged? ›

Evidently, therefore, the right to Indian judiciary to pronounce a legislation void is in the Supreme Court or in the High Court; but the question that arises for consideration is as to whether a 'bill', which is yet to receive assent of the Governor can be challenged on the ground of it being unconstitutional in a ...

What rights that Cannot be taken away? ›

What are non-derogable rights?
  • right to life (art 6)
  • freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment; and freedom from medical or scientific experimentation without consent (art 7)
  • freedom from slavery and servitude (arts 8(1) and (2))

Can your human rights be taken away? ›

Human rights are inalienable. They should not be taken away, except in specific situations and according to due process. For example, the right to liberty may be restricted if a person is found guilty of a crime by a court of law.

What are the 3 restrictions to freedom of speech? ›

Time, place, and manner. Limitations based on time, place, and manner apply to all speech, regardless of the view expressed. They are generally restrictions that are intended to balance other rights or a legitimate government interest.

What are the two fundamental rights that Cannot be suspended during emergency? ›

After the 44th Amendment Act, it was agreed by the Court that in any case no person can be stripped of his right to life and personal liberty. Therefore Articles 20 and 21 cannot be suspended even in case of an emergency.

Can the government override the Charter? ›

The notwithstanding clause, or Section 33 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, gives provincial legislatures or Parliament the ability, through the passage of a law, to override certain portions of the Charter for a five-year term.

Can Charter rights be violated? ›

Charter rights and freedoms are not absolute

The Charter itself recognizes that some laws might violate the Charter yet be justifiable in the broader public interest. Where a law violates a Charter right, a government can try to justify the violation as a reasonable limit under section 1 of the Charter.

› ... › Creating a nation ›


The Bill of Rights (article)

https://www.khanacademy.org › ... › Creating a nation
https://www.khanacademy.org › ... › Creating a nation
By the time the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia in 1787, it had become clear to many American leaders that a more powerful federal government was ...
Several important issues arise in the area of “emergency” legislation – laws that are passed without going through the ordinary process of parliamentary scrutin...
The NLRA made it the official policy of the United States to encourage the practice of collective bargaining. The Act established a federal agency, the National...

What is Canada's bill 96? ›

Bill 96 proposes to revoke any Quebec municipality's bilingual status where fewer than 50 per cent of citizens have English as a mother tongue. Jurisdictions without this status must offer services only in French, with few exceptions. CBC EXPLAINS | What's in Quebec's new law to protect the French language?

What is the role of 96 of the Constitution Act 1867? ›

96 of the Constitution Act, 1867 is a bar to a plan whereby the federal government and a provincial government would by conjoint action transfer the criminal jurisdiction of Provincial Superior Courts to a new court to be called the “unified criminal court” the judges of which would be provincially appointed.

What is the HR 3684 bill? ›

This division reauthorizes Department of Transportation (DOT) federal-aid highway and transportation infrastructure finance and innovation (TIFIA) programs, revises research, technology, and workforce education programs, and addresses tribal transportation needs. The effective date of this division is October 1, 2021.

Is 500 employees considered a small business? ›

It defines small business by firm revenue (ranging from $1 million to over $40 million) and by employment (from 100 to over 1,500 employees).

How does bill 96 affect international students? ›

The Bill's effect on immigrants and international students

Bill 96 has made it so that all new immigrants have six months to learn the French language. After six months, all government services will be provided to them in French only.

Does bill 96 affect Ontario? ›

Bill 96 affects all businesses with operations or employees in the province. However, the law has implications beyond Quebec. Ontario businesses have also begun noticing the impact of the new language bill.

What is the significance of the Bill of Rights which was included in the 1996 Constitution? ›

1. This Bill of Rights is a cornerstone of democracy in South Africa. It enshrines the rights of all people in our country and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom. 2.

What is the purpose of Article I Section Nine what powers are denied in that section? ›

The Meaning

Article I, Section 9 specifically prohibits Congress from legislating in certain areas. In the first clause, the Constitution bars Congress from banning the importation of slaves before 1808. In the second and third clauses, the Constitution specifically guarantees rights to those accused of crimes.

Which section of the Constitution of 1996 relates specifically to Labour rights? ›

Labour Rights in the Constitution

Section 23: Labour Relations. Everyone has the right to fair labour practices; Every worker has the right to form and join a trade union and to participate in the union's activities; Every worker has the right to strike.

What is the purpose of Section 36 of the Constitution 1996? ›

Section 36(1) provides that rights may be limited only 'in terms of law of general application'. This requirement arises from an important principle of the rule of law, namely that rules should be stated in a clear and accessible manner.

What is the bill HR 3606? ›

H.R. 3606 - 117th Congress (2021-2022): National Institutes of Clean Energy Act of 2021 | Congress.gov | Library of Congress.

What is the House bill HR 2299? ›

This bill requires the Department of Commerce to study and report on the effects of the COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic on the travel and tourism industry, including considerations of changes in industry employment rates and business revenues during the pandemic.

What is in the HR 127 bill? ›

The bill generally prohibits and penalizes the possession of a firearm or ammunition unless the individual complies with licensing and registration requirements. Further, it prohibits the transfer of a firearm or ammunition to an unlicensed person.

What is a business with no employees called? ›

What is considered a sole proprietorship? The Small Business Administration defines a sole proprietorship as an unincorporated business owned and run by one individual, with no distinction between the business and the owner.

What are the 5 types of small business? ›

The following are the different types of businesses to help you develop your small business structure:
  • Sole proprietorship. ...
  • General partnership. ...
  • Limited partnership (LP) ...
  • Limited liability company (LLC) ...
  • Non-profit. ...
  • C corporation. ...
  • S corporation.
14 Apr 2022

How much money do you have to make to be considered a business? ›

Unincorporated Businesses

As a sole proprietor or independent contractor, anything you earn about and beyond $400 is considered taxable small business income, according to Fresh Books.

› bill-96-in-depth ›

Increased costs for business with more than 25 employees in Quebec. All internal communications and business correspondence with clients such as quotations, bus...
In June 2022, Quebec's National Assembly passed Bill 96, An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec ("Bill 96")…
Already faced with requirements around the French language, Quebec employers will have to up their game with the passing of new legislation. Bill 96, An Act res...

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