New provisions of An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec, commonly referred to as Law 14, recently came into force. This legislation, which is meant to consolidate the status of French as the common and official language of Quebec, will apply to businesses of all sizes.
To clarify the situation, the Chamber has prepared an overview of the main factors that will affect businesses.
French as the language of work
Law 14 gives employees to right to exercise their activities in French in the workplace. This right creates new obligations for employers.
One of these new responsibilities concerns the requirement for the employer to use French in written communications with all or part of the staff, a worker in particular, or an association of workers representing all or part of the staff. This responsibility applies even after termination of the employment relationship. Oral communications are not regulated.
As such, since June 1, 2023, all contracts and applications forms, documents related to working conditions and training, to name just those, must be provided first in French.
Furthermore, employers can no longer require a person to have knowledge or a specific level of knowledge of a language other than French, except if the performance of the duties of the job requires it. Beginning June 1, employers must justify this requirement by evaluating the linguistic needs associated with the duties to be performed.
Francization of companies with 25 employees or more
If your company has at least 25 employees, you will have to register with the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF), by June 1, 2025, for an analysis of its linguistic situation. Ultimately, the goal is to obtain certification of francization, which attests that French is the language used in the company.
However, if the use of French is not generalized in your company, you will need to develop a francization program and send it to the OQLF within three months following the receipt of the notice.
French as the language of commerce and business
Law 14 entails providing customer service in French. Any commercial document (whether paper or digital) must be available in French. By June 1, 2025, French must appear predominantly in a business’s outdoor public postings.
The Francisation Québec portal is now available for anyone who wants to improve their knowledge of French. It is a central source to facilitate access to services for learning French for new arrivals and immigrants, anglophones, and Indigenous people.
The “Le français, c’est payant!” program offers tools and practical information resources about changes to the Charter of the French language regarding businesses, as well as measures to meet your obligations.
Find out more