HOW BILL 96 WILL AFFECT YOUR BUSINESS

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The upcoming amendments to the Charter of the French Language (CFL), enacted through Bill 96, have provoked an intense debate throughout Canada. Do they "augment Quebec's powers to promote the use of French," or are they "far beyond what is necessary to protect the French language"? Regardless, Bill 96 will significantly impact the daily operations of businesses operating in Quebec.

WHAT IS BILL 96?

According to the government of Quebec, Bill 96 is "An act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec.". It is a complex piece of legislation that will amend the CFL, 24 other provincial statutes, one regulation, and the Constitution Act, 1867.

Although it will affect Quebec by its very nature, it will also present challenges for businesses across Canada.

Here are three critical areas of business that will be impacted by Bill 96:

1. HUMAN RESOURCES

The existing trademark regulation in Canada states that a recognized trademark (both common and those with a pending application) may appear on public signs and posters exclusively in a language other than French. However, Bill 96 imposes that such exception can only be used for registered trademarks, given that they have no corresponding French version in the Canadian Trademarks Database.

In other words, if a trademark hasn't yet been registered once Bill 96 takes effect, it cannot be exclusively advertised in a language that is not French.

The Bill 96 regulation goes a step further than the current trademark requirements. The French trademark within public signs and advertisements must be markedly predominant over those in another language. As defined by regulation, "markedly predominant" refers to the French text in signs, posters, or commercial advertising being twice as large or otherwise carrying more visual impact than those with another language. Whereas the current legislation only requires a sufficient presence of French in the advertisements.

2. ADVERTISING

Once you’ve categorized the content, you need to engage the best translator(s). But what if you don’t know which translators to choose?

Here again, A.I. technology can help you make your selection.

You may not know if a translator has worked on similar documents in the past. However, the A.I. tool can browse the translators' database of previous works to identify if they are a good fit for your project. This frees up considerable time for project managers and helps ensure the project’s success.

3. LEGAL PROCEDURES

Under Bill 96, any legal person who is a party to legal proceedings must either draft their pleadings in French or submit them along with a certified translation at their own cost. The same rules apply to international businesses engaged in litigation in Quebec. The bill does not provide an exception for those parties that agree to hold the proceedings in English. 

Moreover, any judgment rendered in English by a court of law will be automatically translated into French, and any judgment rendered in French can be translated into English upon request of a party. In such cases, the translation costs will be borne by the province.


Regardless of your opinion of the bill, its implications and challenges must be seriously considered by companies in Quebec. We encourage businesses operating in Quebec to create a proper strategy to tackle the inevitable ramifications of Bill 96.

Many companies have started relying more on professional translation partners. However, with the stricter financial penalties for non-compliance, you cannot risk having lesser qualified translations. The most important thing you can do is ensure your translation partner offers the knowledge of industry-specific terminology.

As one of the leading translation service providers, we aim to empower you with the proper knowledge, tools, and understanding you need to navigate this adverse environment better. We are pleased to invite you to our first webinar of the year to discuss Bill 96 more in-depth.

Join us on April 28th at 1:00 PM EDT when industry experts André de Maurivez, Keyvan Nassiry, Tania Da Silva, and Gary Kalaci share their insights on the implications and challenges of Bill 96.

Position your organization for success.

Click here to register!

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