Quebec to Tighten Language Law, Force Retailers to Add French Descriptions to Names

By Ouellet, Martin | The Canadian Press, June 12, 2015 | Go to article overview

Quebec to Tighten Language Law, Force Retailers to Add French Descriptions to Names


Ouellet, Martin, The Canadian Press


Quebec to tighten language laws for retailers

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QUEBEC - The Quebec government says it intends to strengthen the province's language laws to oblige major retailers to include French wording in their commercial English signage.

Premier Philippe Couillard left little doubt about the government's intentions on Friday during a final news conference before the summer break at the legislature.

"We don't want to erase trademarks -- it's not that Canadian Tire will become Pneu Canadien, let's be clear on that, but it's a question of politeness," Couillard said.

A published report on Friday said the changes could come as early as next week, but Couillard would only commit to announcing measures in the near future.

In April, Quebec's Court of Appeal ruled the province's language watchdog cannot force companies such as Best Buy, Old Navy and Costco to add a French component to their name.

As soon as that ruling was issued, Couillard had said he wouldn't exclude taking a legislative route to force major retailers to comply. The Opposition Parti Quebecois had urged the premier to do that to close certain loopholes.

"I would have hoped that all companies would have done so voluntarily, there are only a few who don't and we're nearing the end of our analysis," Couillard said.

Couillard suggested that a short descriptive word in French was necessary given the Francophone majority in Quebec.

He gave the example of Second Cup, the coffee retailer that is known as "Les cafes Second Cup" in Quebec. …

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