Here are 10 key changes under this law that will impose significant obligations on businesses, according to five Lavery lawyers:
1. As of June 1, 2025, companies employing more than 25 people (currently the threshold is 50 people) for at least six months will be required to comply with various obligations regarding “francization”.
Companies with between 25 and 99 employees may also be forced by the Office québécois de la langue française (the “OQLF”) to form a francization committee. In addition, upon request from the OQLF, a francization program may have to be provided for review within three months.
2. As of June 1, 2025, only trademarks filed in a language other than French (and for which no French version has been filed or registered) will be accepted as an exception to the general principle that trademarks de commerce must be translated into French.
Unregistered trademarks that are not in French must be accompanied by their equivalent in French. On the products as well as their labeling and packaging, the rule remains the same, that is to say that any inscription must be written in French.
The text in French may be accompanied by one or more translations, but no entry written in another language should predominate over the text in French or be accessible under more favorable conditions.
However, as of June 1, 2025, generic or descriptive terms included in a trademark registered in a language other than French (for which no French version has been registered) must be translated into French.
In addition, as of June 1, 2025, in public signage visible from outside a premises, French must appear clearly predominant (rather than being sufficiently present) and trademarks that are not not in French (for which no French version has been filed) will be limited to registered trademarks.
3. Since June 1, 2022, businesses that offer goods or services to the public must respect the consumer’s right to be informed and served in French. In the event of breaches of this obligation, clients will have the right to file a complaint with the OQLF or to request an injunctive measure, except if the company has fewer than 5 employees.
In addition, any legal person or company that provides services to the Administration will be required to provide these services in French, including when the services are intended for the public.
4. Since June 1, 2022, subject to certain criteria provided for in the bill, employers are required to draw up the following written documents in French: individual employment contracts, communications addressed to a worker or an association of workers, including communications following the end of the employment relationship with an employee.
In addition, other documents such as job application forms, documents relating to working conditions and training documents must be made accessible in French.
5. Since June 1, 2022, employers who wish to require employees to have a certain level of proficiency in a language other than French in order to be able to access a position must demonstrate that this requirement is necessary for the performance of the tasks related to the position, that it is impossible to proceed otherwise using internal resources and that they have made efforts to limit as much as possible the number of positions in their company requiring knowledge of a language other than French.
6. As of June 1, 2023, parties who wish to conclude, in a language other than French, a consumer contract and, subject to various exceptions, a contract of adhesion which is not a consumer contract must have received a French version of the contract before agreeing to it.
Otherwise, a party can demand that the contract be canceled without it being necessary to prove damage.
7. As of June 1, 2023, the Administration will be prohibited from entering into a contract or granting a subsidy to a company that employs 25 or more people and that does not comply with the following obligations on the use of the French language , either: obtain a registration certificate, send the OQLF an analysis of the linguistic situation of the company in good time or obtain a certificate of application of a francization program or a francization certificate, as the case may be .
8. As of June 1, 2023, all contracts and agreements entered into by the Administration, as well as all writings transmitted to an organization of the Administration by a legal person or an enterprise to obtain a permit, authorization, a grant or other form of financial assistance must be written exclusively in French.
9. As of September 1, 2022, a certified French translation must be attached to motions and other pleadings drafted in English and emanating from a company or legal person that is a party to a pleading in Quebec, and this , at the latter’s expense.
However, the application of the provisions imposing this obligation has been suspended for the time being by the Superior Court.
10. As of September 1, 2022, registrations in the Register of personal and movable real rights and in the Land Registry Office, in particular registrations of securities, deeds of sale, leases and various other rights, must be made in French. .
Please note that declarations of co-ownership must be filed at the Land Registry Office in French since June 1, 2022.
Britanny Carson practice in the Labor and Employment Law Group. She joined Lavery after completing her internship there. She holds a Bachelor of Laws and an Honors Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a major in Philosophy from McGill University.
Chantal Desjardins is a partner, lawyer and trademark agent in Lavery’s intellectual property group. She took part in the work of the Trademark Office’s advisory council concerning the reform of trademark law and its implementation.
Raymond Doray is a member of the administrative law team. He directs the information law sector, where he deals specifically with files relating to access to information, privacy, defamation and the application of the Canadian and Quebec charters of rights and freedoms.
Brigitte Gauthier is a partner in the financing and financial services group. She advises financial institutions, institutional investors and other lenders, both Canadian and foreign, as well as borrowers operating in various industries on all aspects of debt financing, including syndicated financing, real estate financing, project financing, securitization and banking law.
Gabrielle Matthew is a member of the litigation and dispute resolution group in the Montreal office. A true art and architecture enthusiast, Gabrielle completed studies in art history before beginning her studies in law, specializing in modern sculpture and architecture.