Doing Business in Québec: Bill 101 and the French Language

Regardless of the business you do, or the services that you intend to offer, in the Canadian market there’s a list of bilingual procedures you can easily adopt. The intricate marketing pattern in Québec does not follow these bilingual regulations. Often referred to as Loi 101 or Bill 101, the charter of the French Language imposes firm regulations that disallows the use of other languages in and around Québec.

This is a breakdown of what you need to know concerning business in Québec:

1. French is the Official Language of Québec

Despite the fact that Canada permits two languages, every region possesses a language that is exclusive to them. This is slightly different for Québec, as it endorses French as its only language, therefore, every Québecois is entitled to a French education, a situation that permits the prevalence of French speakers and an effective communication in French. This takes effect from the government, to civil establishments and businesses.

2. Your labels and other Marketing materials must be in French

This requirement holds for all products sold in all of Québec as stated by the Loi 101. All forms of labels and marketing materials must contain French, services which range from;

• The label of every product, their containers, any pieces of documentation that they go with, (eg. warranty, directions, etc.) • Menus and wine lists • Marketing materials (eg. catalogues, brochures, folders, commercial directories etc.) • Computer software (including game software and operating systems) • Contracts • Employment application forms, order forms, invoices, receipts, etc. • Public signage, posters, and commercial advertising • Brand names

A couple other products which are not included in the list but also falls within the reach of the Bill 101 exist. A simple case is in toys and games that do not display in French. These toys and games are not allowed unless it offers a means to provide the French equivalent of what is been displayed or a French version of the toys. It is possible to have your marketing materials in several languages, the Loi 101 allows that, in as much as French is the dominant language. 

3. Québec employees reserve the rights to French Corporate Communications

French corporate communications is a must-have for any business that has or intends to hire Québec employees. Every form of official communication with employees must be in French. This consists of;

• Job and promotion offers: Every publication, news or advertisements made in English, must have a French equivalent at the same time and must be treated with at the same level of importance• Collective agreements and schedules • Arbitrations, negotiations, and renewals/reviews of collective consent and disservice.

Besides the aforementioned regulations about hiring a Québecoise, the Loi 101 outlines certain regulations that every business must follow, they include; 

• Businesses have no right whatsoever to fire, demote in rank or transfer employees of Québec descent because they do not understand another language other than French.• Except it is a set requirement for a particular position, an employee cannot be hired because he communicates effectively with another language different from French.

What are the best practices in that context?

1.Work with Québec Translators

To build your business further, there is a need for effective communication. In this case, this can be made possible through translators that are ardent French speakers. This will enable your business to touch every aspect of the market. The Loi 101 was created to conserve existing culture, encourage the adoption of the French language as well as protect its speakers. So, presenting a Québec native with French content goes beyond just obeying set rules and regulations; it is the most effective way of capturing the interests of the people.

A few considerations should be made when choosing a translator. Does he/she see things from the perspective of the French Canadian? Can they perfectly understand the expectations of the people? The most preferred option is an in-market translator, because they are experts in this field and have the perspective of a local. A major perk of hiring an in-market translator lies in their ability to modify your content to fit the specifics of the Québec market.

2. Make Good use of Cultural Marketing 

Translating your content is a great means of reaching out, but for cultural marketing, putting out genuine content is a better choice. Cultural marketing provides an opportunity to capture the attention of the customers in French on various stages. The need for commercial French signs, running your company’s social media platforms in French language and engrafting a bit of French in every commercial outfit to further establish a relationship and identity with the people becomes imperative. This puts out a firm message to the consumers and further validates your brand. The Québec market, with a population of over 7 million people which is almost a fifth of the total population of Canada, is very promising. The regulations may seem firm and uncomfortable from the beginning, but a closer, and letting experts who are not new to the system run your business will eli

2018-09-24T15:53:46+00:00 September 20th, 2018|