Our second Bill 96 webinar focused on how the recently adopted bill will affect traditional tasks within a human resources context. Topics such as employment agreements and obligations, understanding the translation requirements, and how to prepare your communications with your employees were addressed by our expert panelists, Tania Da Silva and Stephanie Blakely, both prominent lawyers at DLA Piper.
Did you know that the bill has four main objectives? Tania and Stephanie highlight the bill's intended purposes, allowing attendees to understand why Bill 96 came into play in the first place. Firstly, establishing French as the only official and common language in Quebec is at the forefront of the intended goals. Secondly, strengthening the status of the French in Quebec, not just from a macro level but a micro one, is a priority for the provincial government. What does this mean? Well, it means that almost any point of contact in your everyday life will be affected by Bill 96. Thirdly, the Quebec government wants to leverage Bill 96 to set the tone for how the French language should be used in the province. Lastly, the intended purpose of Bill 96 is to establish a language governance system that is both neutral and enforceable.
Tania and Stephanie dove into how Bill 96 will change the method by which organizations are obliged to manage and communicate with their employees. For instance, employee agreements and any other form of written communication must be given initially in French to new hires. Only when the employee expressly requests it can an agreement in an alternative language be provided. Furthermore, such a request should be formally obtained in writing and kept in the employee’s records. Subsequently, translation companies such as Alexa Translations have seen a significant uptick in translation requests.
Another critical element discussed in length was the process known as “francization.” Essentially, the latter approach is one in which a set of rules are implemented to ensure that the use of French is generalized throughout a company. The new Bill 96 brings stricter policies which are as such:
Consequences of not obtaining an OQLF certificate:
It’s essential to be well informed on Bill 96’s new regulations as it pertains to all matters of a human relations nature. Although a large majority of documentation, communications, and business practices must be made readily available in French, some significant caveats are addressed by Tania and Stephanie. To learn more about these caveats and how you can stay on top of the Bill 96 wave, we invite you to watch the webinar here!