Quebecers are complaining more and more about companies breaking the rules for signage and services in French, in particular denouncing 10 signs, most of which are foreign.
The Office of the French Language (OQLF) has put together a disturbing list of the 10 companies that received the most complaints regarding respect for the French language in 2020-2021, which was consulted by Le Journal.
This year represented the worst complaints filed with the OQLF for at least five years, with a total of 4,326, of which 80% concerned organizations in the Greater Montreal area. The top 10 banners on the list account for 7% of the total complaints.
Tim Hortons leads the way with 64 complaints, more than 80% of which are related to language of service, followed by Walmart (43 complaints) and Dollarama (40 complaints).
The “unforgivable” record of these companies shows that they have to examine their consciences, protests the head of the inevitable French organization, Jean-Paul Perrault.
“These are companies that have the means to respect the cultural environment in Quebec, but they pollute it, […] undermining its identity, more than 50 years after the adoption of the Charter of the French Language.
The head of the French Quebec movement, Maxime Laporte, believes that no one is “surprised” to see the names on this list.
Multinational corporations are often less sensitive to the situation of the French. A company that is not committed to respecting our fundamental rights under the Charter [de la langue française]Do not hesitate to boycott it and prefer a competitor.
More severe repair
Bill 96 on the reform of Bill 101, which is still at the stage of consultation in the National Assembly, provides for stricter measures in terms of service language and signage.
Among these, higher fines and new powers for the OQLF, which may require corrective action from companies. Right now, only the body can raise awareness. Under current law, a fine is imposed only in less than 1% of cases.
Former Culture Minister Louise Baudouin, who has criticized the bill, nonetheless believes that this aspect is not to be underestimated, because the OQLF, with its current powers, does not scare enough to those who break the law.
“If implemented, that should change something,” says the official responsible for ensuring respect for the French language charter from 1995 to 1998. “These companies will have no choice but to make a change.”
Five companies, Walmart, IGA, Metro, Dollarama and PFK, responded to our report, often defending their respect for the French language charter and making sure that appropriate corrections were made in the event of a complaint. Both IGA and Metro said they were “surprised” to be on this list.
They didn’t follow the rules
The complaints concern 41 institutions; 83% of the target language for the service.
The complaints concern 14 institutions; 46% target language of service and 23% target product.
The complaints concern 19 institutions; 49% of target signage and 46% target language for the service.
The complaints concern 15 institutions; 100% target language for service.
The complaints concern 13 institutions; 62% of the target language for the service.
The complaints concern 8 institutions; 92% of the target language for the service.
The complaints concern 13 institutions; 59% of targeted products.
The complaints concern 17 institutions; 43% of target products and 38% target language of service.
The complaints concern 14 institutions; 84% target language for service.
The complaints relate to 14 branches; 83% of the target language for the service.
Source: Office québécois de la langue française
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