No way around French Charter for businesses operating in Quebec

Posted on: November 18th, 2018 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

Businesses that want to operate in Quebec must abide by the province’s Charter of the French Language, Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar tells AdvocateDaily.com.

A group of 11 Anglophone-owned Montreal businesses challenged the constitutionality of the French Charter after they were fined for violating provisions regarding product packaging, publications and commercial advertising.

However, the Quebec Court of Appeal upheld the fines, and the Supreme Court of Canada recently refused the businesses’ leave to appeal to the nation’s top court.

“What’s important here is that the French Charter was deemed constitutional, which means there’s no way around it if you want to do business in Quebec,” says Deliscar, principal of Deliscar Professional Corporation, a law firm that offers services in English, French and Spanish. “Operating in Quebec is not like any other province, and you have to follow the French Charter.”

She explains that the translation industry in Quebec was watching the decision closely because the French Charter forces many companies that want to expand their operations into the province from predominantly English-speaking jurisdictions to produce French-language versions of many of their internal and external materials.

Sections 51 and 52 of the French Charter require product packaging and company publications — including websites — to be in French as well as English, while s. 58 mandates that the French text in commercial advertising be “markedly predominant” when sharing space with content in English.

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