The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

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Official languages: The Chamber supports the federal government’s intention to reinforce the use of French in business

Montréal, February 19, 2021 ‒ The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal supports the vision for modernizing and strengthening the Government of Canada’s Official Languages Act released today by the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, Mélanie Joly.

“For years, the Chamber has been insisting on the importance of maintaining the presence of French in Quebec and Canada,” said Michel Leblanc, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal. “We therefore support the Government of Canada’s commitment to modernize the Official Languages Act. The social and business context has evolved tremendously since the Act was initially implemented in 1969. The growth in immigration, essential to our economy, and facilitated access to digital content are just two of the many factors that explain this evolution. It was high time to act to protect French, and the plan proposed by Minister Joly meets our expectations.”  

“The government plan recognizes that needs in terms of preserving the French language are different than those for English in Canada, and particularly in Quebec,” Mr. Leblanc said. “It is a new and important distinction that assures Canadians that the French language and culture will continue to survive and thrive. This recognition should help reinforce the use of French across the country.”

“For the law to be applied equitably, it is important that there be a way to sanction infringements,” Mr. Leblanc said. “No business should be allowed to fail to meet obligations others have met. It is also important to avoid increasing red tape for businesses with the changes proposed. The government intends to ensure that businesses that meet the requirements of Law 101 are not subject to a second compliance process. That’s good news.”

“Montréal is an international city,” Michel Leblanc said. “We need to ensure that local businesses can be competitive on the international stage, in particular with head office and business development functions. We have to maintain the predominant position of French in the public space while allowing businesses to use English when the international context requires it. The Government of Canada has a role to play in maintaining this balance essential to the smooth operation of our society. We applaud the work of Minister Mélanie Joly, who listened to stakeholders, including the business community, when developing this plan.”

About the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (CCMM)

With a network of over 8,000 members, the CCMM is active on two fronts: being the voice of the Montréal business community and delivering specialized services to businesses and their representatives. With its finger on the pulse of current events, it acts on issues that are decisive for the prosperity of the city’s businesses. With the support of the Acclr experts, the CCMM’s goal is to accelerate the creation and growth of businesses of all sizes, at home and around the world.




Dominique Talbot

Advisor, Media Relations

Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

Tel.: 514 871-4000, ext. 4052



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