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4 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Québec’s Language Laws

4 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Québec’s Language Laws

If you’re on your way to becoming a resident of Quebec, you’re probably already familiar with the province’s distinguishing characteristics. Quebec is the only province in Canada with a majority population of francophones and the only place in North America where English or Spanish speakers don’t make up the majority. Given the importance of French to Quebec’s culture and way of life, the province has gone to great lengths to preserve the French language. 

Since the passage of Bill 101 in 1977 in which French became Quebec’s official language, plenty of other laws have been passed and propositions have been made to ensure that future generations would continue to speak French. The goal of these measures is to preserve Quebec’s culture and prevent other languages from diluting the level of French spoken in the province.

As a non-native resident of Quebec, there are many interesting (and surprising) things to note about Quebec’s language laws. Below, discover four things you probably didn’t know about regulations surrounding language in the province of Quebec.

French Words Must Be Twice the Size of English Words on Commercial Signs

In Quebec, signs might look a little different than in other provinces. While it’s been required that French be used on signage in Quebec since the passage of Bill 101, commercial signs must go a step further ensuring that French is the most noticeable language on the display. This is the rule for storefront signs, promotions, and other forms of publicly displayed advertisements. Signs may include an English translation below, but it must be significantly smaller. If you’re struggling to understand commercial signs within Quebec, virtual language courses at POINT3 can help you to improve your comprehension of written French.

On commercial signs in Quebec, the French language must be displayed prominently

Most Children Must Attend School in French, But There are Exceptions

When Bill 101 was passed in Quebec, it became mandatory for all children within Quebec to have a French education until they complete their secondary studies, unless their parents attended an English primary school in Quebec. This law applies to all public and private schools which are subsidized by the Quebec government. Unsubsidized private schools, however, may provide instruction in English. While there are some special exceptions allowed, today, most children in Quebec are educated in French in order to preserve bilingualism within the province.

French Communication Is Mandatory for Quebec Businesses

In addition to signage, there are a special set of rules in Quebec regarding the languages that government bodies and businesses within Quebec must use to communicate. All employees within Quebec have the right to work in French, and generally, French documentation will be used for a company’s staff. Additionally, there must be a French version of all order forms, warranties, catalogs, and other types of written publications or contracts. Businesses must also have a French version of their website available, even if the primary language of their business is in English or another language. In order to succeed in a workplace environment in Quebec, taking courses at POINT3’s language school in Montreal can help you to improve your ability to communicate in French.

It may be helpful to take French virtual language courses to prepare to communicate in a Quebec business

You May Need a TEF Exam Prep Course to Immigrate to Quebec

Quebec’s language laws apply to those seeking to immigrate to the province too. If you’re considering moving to Quebec, you’ll need to show proof of your French language proficiency in order to apply for Permanent Residency. One way that you can demonstrate your French skills is by taking the TEF Canada, an exam with Reading, Writing, Listening, and Oral components. In order to be considered, you must achieve a score of Level B2 or higher. At POINT3 Language School, you can enroll in TEF exam preparation courses, enabling you to successfully immigrate to Quebec in compliance with the province’s language laws.

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