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Bill 96 in Depth

Increased costs for business with more than 25 employees in Quebec.

All internal communications and business correspondence with clients such as quotations, business proposals, contracts, invoicing, digital sites, advertising materials, etc. must be in French. All at the expense of the businesses.

Many of these regulations already exist in Quebec’s Bill 101, but Bill 96 adds consequences for failure to comply in the form of substantial fines and potentially being “Blacklisted” from bidding on Government contracts.

Some of the documents that will now be in French only include:
  • Employment application forms
  • Documents relating to conditions of employment
  • Training documents produced for the staff.
If an employer requires a person to have knowledge of a language other than French to keep a position, or to obtain a position, it is considered a prohibited practice. Unless the employer shows, in accordance with sections 46 and 46.1, that the performance of the duty requires such knowledge and that he first took all reasonable means to avoid imposing such a requirement.

Bill 96: art. 5, 47, 81, 36

Explanation:

  • A new requirement for “legal person” litigants to attach a certified French translation to any pleadings drawn up in English, at the litigant’s expense. 
  • Only registered non-French trademarks can be used. Where a non-French trademark is used, the additional French-language signage required to describe the business must now be “markedly predominant” in relation to the trademark.
  • Lower threshold for francization requirements and registration (25 employees rather than 50)
  • A new requirement that an employer must take “all reasonable means” to avoid imposing a requirement for knowledge of a language other than French in hiring and promotion.

The right to enter any place, other than a house, where an activity is carried out or any other place where documents or other property to which this Act applies may be held.

Bill 96: art. 111 Explanation: “(1) enter at any reasonable hour any place, other than a dwelling house, where an activity governed by this Act is carried on, or any other place where documents or other property to which this Act applies may be held;”

Examine, copy and seize any document or electronic device of a client, employee or owner at a business.

Bill 96: art. 111

Explanation: “(3) cause any person present who has access to any computer, equipment or other thing that is on the premises to use it to access data contained in an electronic device, computer system or other medium or to verify, examine, process, copy or print out such data;”

Enter your hotel room, your car, and ask you to give them access to your phone and laptop.

Bill 96: art. 111

Explanation: “(3) cause any person present who has access to any computer, equipment or other thing that is on the premises to use it to access data contained in an electronic device, computer system or other medium or to verify, examine, process, copy or print out such data;”

Inspections can even take place pre-emptively if they think you are about to break the law but have not yet done so. Reporting potential future violations is encouraged!

Bill 96: art. 107

Explanation: “Any person who wishes to make a disclosure may do so by communicating any information to the Office that the person believes could show that a failure to comply with this Act has occurred or is about to occur, or that the person has been asked to fail to comply.”

Prevents all Quebecers from deciding what schools they want to send their children to.

This point is already true and new rules apply to temporary certificates.

Bill 96: art. 56, 57, 59-62, 160, 161, 162, 179

Explanation: 

  • Bill 96 clearly states that in order for a student to apply for enrolment in a Quebec English CEGEP, they must have attended both elementary and secondary schools offering English education.
  • No diplomas will be issued to ANY college students unless they can pass a verbal and written French test. The same French test that francophone students are required to pass even if you attend an English CEGEP.
  • Temporary educational certificates are restricted to 1 year.
  • There are new 3-year limits on permits for students temporarily in Quebec to attend school in English.
  • A new designation of college institutions as either French-language or English-language institutions.
  • An enrollment cap for English-language institutions, with English-eligible students to be given “priority” in CEGEP admissions policies.
  • New language of instruction requirements at both English and French-language
    institutions.
  • Added requirements for college and university language policies, differentiated between English-language and French-language institutions.

If you don't comply with Bill 96, you can be fined between $700 and $90,000.

Bill 96: art. 114

Explanation:

  • “205. Anyone who contravenes any of sections 78.1 to 78.3 and 176 or an order issued by the Minister under section 128.3 or by the Office under section 177 commits an offence and is liable to a fine of $700 to $7,000 in the case of a natural person and $3,000 to $30,000 in other cases.”

  • No penal proceedings may be instituted against a person if the alleged failure to comply makes the person liable to the disciplinary measures referred to in section 204.30.

  • “206. The minimum and maximum fines prescribed by this Act are doubled for a second offence and tripled for a subsequent offence.”

Completely bypasses the Quebec Charter of Rights and most of the Canadian Charter, which means you have fewer legal recourses to fight it once it is passed.

Bill 96: art. 118, 199, 200

Explanation:

  • “118. The Charter is amended by inserting the following sections after

  • section 213:

  • “213.1.This Act applies despite sections 1 to 38 of the Charter of human rights and freedoms (chapter C-12).

  • “214. This Act has effected notwithstanding sections 2 and 7 to 15 of the Constitution Act, 1982 (Schedule B to the Canada Act, chapter 11 in the 1982 volume of the Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom).”
  • Bill 96 is shielded by the notwithstanding clauses of the Canadian and Quebec Charters to prevent most legal actions to defend your rights. The Quebec Government will decide if your rights are being denied.

Will allow government official to have access to your medical or psychological records and other confidential documents without your consent and without even notifying you.

Bill 96: art. 111

Explanation: “(3) cause any person present who has access to any computer, equipment or other thing that is on the premises to use it to access data contained in an electronic device, computer system or other medium or to verify, examine, process, copy or print out such data;”

Aims to eliminate all languages other than French from Quebec.

Bill 96: art. 

Explanation:

  • It will declare French to be the only “official” and common language in Quebec.
  • No other language will be recognized in civil society or our public institutions.
  • Restrictions on who is entitled to receive government services in the language of their choice.
  • A narrow definition of who qualifies as a member of Quebec’s English-speaking community.
  • It also seeks to eliminate the bilingualism of more than 50 of the 89 bilingual-status municipalities across Quebec.
  • Say that you are driving that brand new car and you get stopped for a moving violation. Want to contest it? Courts will not hear your case nor render a judgment in English. You can hire and pay for an interpreter and translator.
  • Bill 96 suggests that in order to receive correspondence or service from Government departments such as Santé Québec, Revenu Québec and Hydro Québec you must qualify as an English-speaker. 
  • The definition of which is yet to be declared by the CAQ, and nor have the rules to prove your status as an English-speaker been divulged. Stats Canada claims that there are 1.2 million English-speaking Quebecers while the CAQ only recognizes about 750,000. 
  • In effect, Bill 96 deinstitutionalizes the English language and its speakers in Quebec.