Quebec takes the lead of the federal government

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According to information obtained by Radio Canada,OQLF Last Friday, he wrote to companies that have not yet registered with the boycott organization to begin creating a formal plan for acquiring franchises.

Companies with 25 to 49 employees have three years to complete the process, while companies with 50 or more employees have six months.

This approach is not unanimous, while Ottawa claims to be responsible for companies in areas under its jurisdiction such as banking, telecommunications and interprovincial transport.

The federal government insists that these businesses will instead have to comply with the new business language obligations contained in Bill C-13.

This bill is still under study in Parliament, while the federal government is delaying in fulfilling its promise to update the Official Languages ​​Act.

Quebec is currently taking advantage of the vacuum, which means that until the federal government issues these new directives, which will be in C-13, concerning the obligations of businesses under federal jurisdiction in both official languages, there is, I believe, a possibility that Quebec will act. »

quote from Stéphanie Chouinard, professor of political science at the Royal Military College of Canada

Quebec takes the lead

The Quebec government has expanded the scope of its language laws to businesses under federal jurisdiction through an overhaul of the French language charter, called Bell 96, which came into effect last month.

L’OQLF Thus, the franchising process for companies under federal jurisdiction has just begun with a letter giving them 30 days to provide the name of the contact and the number of their employees.

Companies with 25 to 49 employees will have three years Franchising process to make French the language used within the company.

Requirements are higher for companies with 50 or more employees, who must register from now on nearOQLF They have six months to develop their franchise plan.

Simon-Jolin Barrett, Minister of the French Language (file photo)

Photo: The Canadian Press/Jacques Boasino

French Language Minister Simon Jolin Barrett said Quebec has full power to impose new obligations on businesses in the province.

Quebecers have the right to earn a living in their language, French. It is a fundamental and non-negotiable right.said his spokeswoman Elizabeth Jocelyn Benveno.

Legal battle on the horizon

A lawyer who helps businesses comply with the French language charter recently expected the case to end up in court.

There is clearly a risk of conflict with federal law in the area of ​​employment, and one would expect the federal Department of Justice to intervene in such cases to preserve federal jurisdiction. »

quote from Alexander Fallon, lawyer at Osler

The federal government, for its part, says it will defend its jurisdiction. Bill C-13 aims to allow the federal government to do this Promote and protect the use of the French language in private businesses under federal jurisdiction in Quebec and in regions with a strong Francophone presence.

Among the companies that will be affected by the new measures, Canadian National Railways (CN) say it is currently analyzing the provisions of Bill 96 that affect companies under federal jurisdiction.

Air Canada, for its part, claims that it is indeed subject to the federal Official Languages ​​Act, pointing out that its Air Canada Vacations fall under territorial jurisdiction and are already registered withOQLF.

New rules imposed by Quebec

Among the large corporations under federal jurisdiction in Quebec, 189 voluntarily obtained the franchise certificate, according to the rules in place before the adoption of Bill 96.

However, the place of French in certain large companies has hit the headlines lately, concerning the linguistic unit of the CEO of Air Canada and the lack of Francophones on the board of directors. North Carolina.

Quebec now imposes new franchising obligations on all businesses with 25 or more employees, which must:

  • Submit documentation in French for questions related to human resources or professional training;
  • publish their job offers in French;
  • “Take all means” to avoid asking for knowledge of languages ​​other than French during the recruitment process;
  • Ensure that meetings are held in French, software in French, corporate terminology in French;
  • Improve knowledge of the French language within the company.
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