Bill 96 forces municipalities to impose French for official purposes and services.
As of June 1st, many aspects of Bill 96 were implemented by the Government of Quebec; one in particular caused outrage: French being imposed in official services and websites. From municipal to governmental services, French is prioritized, while English is discouraged by pop-up banners that remind visitors of the new law and exceptions concerning the use of English. While this regulation currently affects larger cities in Québec, it could expand to the West Island and off the Island of Montréal.
English website versus French website (Source: Gouvernement du Québec)
What is the new regulation?
According to the website of the Government of Québec:
“The Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec, amends the Charter of the French language and establishes French as the only official, common language of Québec. It strengthens the status of French in all spheres of society. The Act makes the French language an affair of the State, and the Language Policy of the State stems from it.”
This new policy attempts to keep French as the official language of Québec in any aspect of the province’s society. As mentioned by the Government of Québec, this Act forces the civil administration to use, promote and protect French in its activities. The Québec Government states that the Act also permits exceptions for organizations in order to use a language other than French.
A governmental program, Francisation Québec, helps adults and immigrants in their French learning experience. It works in collaboration with the objective of Bill 96 and is accommodating the needs of learners by offering in-class and online courses, full-time or part-time, etc.
Who is exempt from the regulation?
According to the Government of Québec’s website, those who are exempt from this regulation are:
People who only corresponded in English with civil administration before May 13th, 2021
Those eligible to education in English (approved by the Ministère de l’Éducation du Québec)
Immigrants who have been in the province for under six months
Those who want service from the civil administration in a language other than French will have to go outside of Québec to do so.
French website versus English website (Source: Ville de Pointe-Claire)
French website versus English website (Source: Ville de Vaudreuil-Dorion)
Where are some of the cities where the regulation is currently in place?
Montréal, Pointe-Claire, and Vaudreuil-Dorion are some cities where the regulation affects their websites and phone services. Pop-up banners describing the new rule open when one switches from French to English on the cities’ websites.
French website versus English website (Source: Ville de Pincourt)
French website versus English website (Source: Ville de Hudson)
What about other cities and off-island?
Not all cities, such as Saint-Lazare, Hudson, or Pincourt, have applied this change. It may be a matter of time before those cities will be forced to apply this new governmental regulation concerning the use of the French language.
Where can you find more information?
Find more about Bill 96 and Francisation Québec here:
Government of Québec website: https://www.quebec.ca/en/gouvernement/politiques-orientations/langue-francaise/modernization-charter-french-language
Francisation Québec: https://www.quebec.ca/gouvernement/ministere/immigration/francisation-quebec
Sources: Ville de Saint-Lazare, Ville de Hudson, Ville de Pincourt, Ville de Vaudreuil-Dorion, Ville de Pointe Claire, Ville de Montréal, Gouvernement du Québec