June 15, 2024


The Legal System

Bill 96 Comes into Law: What Employers with Québec-based Employees Need to Know About the Enhanced French Language Requirements


On June 1, 2022, the Québec National Assembly handed Invoice 96, An Act respecting French, the official and widespread language of Québec, introducing substantial variations to the Constitution of the French Language and other legal guidelines. The Invoice aims to boost the use of French in business enterprise, solutions, communications, education, and the office by strengthening current French language demands and imposing new types.

Underneath we have summarized the substantial employment-linked adjustments and provide some important takeaways.

Work-related Improvements

The key employment legislation changes introduced by Monthly bill 96 are as follows:

  • Mandatory Employment Documentation and Penned Communications in French: Businesses should provide presents of work, transfer or promotion documents relating to disorders of work, this sort of as manuals and insurance policies job application sorts group rewards data and schooling documents in French, with no exception. Companies are also required to draw up written communications to their employees in French, except if an worker requests that such communications be in a language other than French.
  • Particular person Employment Contracts in French: Invoice 96 divides individual work contracts into two categories: those people that are a agreement of adhesion (i.e. a contract in which its conditions are imposed and are non-negotiable) and individuals that are not (i.e. the phrases are individually negotiated by the get-togethers).
    • All employment contracts that are contracts of adhesion ought to be provided in French, so that the parties can initially look at the contract and only immediately after examining it, agree to be bound by the non-French version if it is their wish to do so.
    • Employment contracts that are not contracts of adhesion can be drawn up completely in a language other than French if it is the convey want of both equally get-togethers. Specific employment contracts entered into just before June 1, 2022 that are drafted in a language other than French are not needed to be translated into French, unless of course an staff requests the translation inside a single calendar year of June 1. If requested, businesses ought to translate the files in a timely method.
  • Recruitment: Employers have to make position postings available in French in a equivalent fashion as the publication of the non-French model. An employer advertising and marketing a task supply in a language other than French need to be certain that the non-French task provide is advertised concurrently with the French offer. Both of those career delivers have to get to a focus on community of a proportionally similar dimensions. If a position demands the knowledge of a language other than French, the justification for the requirement need to be indicated in the position posting. In addition, work apps will have to be drawn up in French. If applications are accessible in yet another language, employers must guarantee that the French variation is offered on terms that are at least as favourable as the non-French edition.
  • Know-how of a Language other than French: Businesses are expected to choose all reasonable indicates to keep away from demanding a individual to have know-how of a language other than French to obtain or maintain a placement. Before building know-how of English a situation of work, enterprises will have to conduct an assessment as to why that issue is essential and document it. Having said that, the Bill specifies that this requirement should not be interpreted as imposing an unreasonable reorganization of an employer’s company.
  • Security Actions: Employers are prohibited from getting reprisals against an employee who seeks to enforce his or her legal rights beneath the Charter or to deter an personnel from performing exercises this sort of legal rights. The Bill also generates a new dispute resolution course of action: any human being who believes they have been the victim of a prohibited apply can now file a complaint with the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (the “CNESST”) in just 45 days of the alleged carry out.
  • Discrimination and Harassment: The Bill delivers for a suitable to function in an surroundings free of discrimination or harassment with respect to the use of French. Companies will be necessary to get affordable measures to avert this sort of perform and, if these carry out is introduced to their consideration, to make it prevent.
  • Francization: The existing French language demands applicable to businesses with 50 or additional workers are extended to firms with at least 25 personnel. These corporations will now be essential to register and attain a Francization certificate from the Workplace québécois de la langue française (“OQLF”) attesting that the use of French is “generalized” at all levels of the small business.
  • Compliance and Enforcement: In addition to developing a new personal correct of action for Québec inhabitants, the Bill increases penal fines for non-compliance with the Charter to a maximum of $30,000 for organizations for a initial offence. In addition, the OQLF, billed with enforcing the Constitution, is also granted increased enforcement and investigative powers, these as getting into a business’ premises to ensure language requirements are being achieved.
  • Court Proceedings: Any pleadings drawn up in English by an specific or corporation need to be accompanied by a licensed French translation, at the price of that occasion.

Please observe that Monthly bill 96 applies to any employer carrying out its things to do in Québec, which include federally-regulated businesses.

Entry into Force

Most of the amendments explained in this put up entered into force on June 1, 2022. The prolonged Francization policies will turn out to be helpful a few a long time following the Bill’s assent, and the provision about the translation of pleadings will turn out to be helpful three months right after the Bill’s assent. Functions will also have one particular year to translate any application sorts, files relating to ailments of work, education, and other paperwork into French.

Essential Takeaways

Firms with Québec personnel will need to have to review their existing techniques and could be needed to undertake major improvements to comply with Invoice 96’s new specifications, together with:

  • reconsidering job posting/description tactics
  • translating employment programs
  • reconsidering their technique to translating all employment-relevant onboarding documents (offers/contracts, bonus options, commission programs, equity plans, etc.)
  • developing an technique to translating all benefits information and facts, employment insurance policies and other staff going through documentation and
  • for businesses with at least 25 workforce, assessing no matter whether the use of French is generalized in the workplace and earning supplemental modifications to comply with the Francization rules.

A lot of many thanks to Juliette Mestre for her assistance with this weblog.


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