July 24, 2021

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Ottawa will propose a copy of Bill 96 for Federal Corporations in Quebec

Melanie Jolie, the minister in charge of official languages, is due to file this week after months of waiting for the Trudeau government’s bill on behalf of linguistic communities.

This is the most recent attempt by the Trudeau government to unite with Quebec on language and identity issues. With this change in the Official Languages ​​Act, the federal government wants to ensure that most employees of federal jurisdictions can work, be monitored, and receive communications in French in Quebec.

Here we are talking about banks, international and inter-transport companies and telecom companies.

However, the federal proposal did not properly respond to the request of the Minister in charge of the language file in Quebec, which instead requires that companies with federal jurisdiction be subject to provincial law.

We have always been clear about our intention to subject federal charters to Bill 101. This is a move that has won consensus in Quebec., Mr. Says Elizabeth Kozlin, press secretary of Jolin-Barrett. Now, as the federal government has not yet taken any concrete action, we will not comment further at this time.

Busy day in general

The federal bill should be tabled on the same day that the Black Quebecos proposed a resolution in the General Assembly in response to changes to the Canadian Constitution proposed by Quebec.

The movement seeks to recognize that Quebecs form a nation and that French is the only official language of Quebec.

According to information received by Radio-Canada, the amendment of the language laws in Ottawa will reflect the key lines of Bill 96 regarding companies with federal jurisdiction in Quebec.

Therefore, language rights obligations apply to businesses with more than 25 employees, the same gateway placed by Quebec. Now, businesses with more than 50 employees face additional obligations in the province.

The federal government is thus seeking to protect French use Language of work and service In Quebec. Companies will have three years to meet these new language requirements.

Similar measures apply to businesses with more than 50 employees in some high-density Francophone regions located outside Quebec. These companies will have five years to implement the new language of work practices.

The bill will be tabled by the House a few days before the summer recess. So it is unlikely to be accepted quickly, but it will become an issue if there is an early election this fall.

Daniel LeBlanc

Certificate for obtaining a license

Under the bill, federally regulated businesses that volunteer to comply with the provincial language of work standards will continue to do so. It should be noted that about 40% of companies in the federal jurisdiction in Quebec already comply with the requirements of the French language charter (Bill 101).

The new federal rules will apply to businesses that do not have a provincial license.

If employees in these companies feel that their rights are not being respected, they can complain to the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, whose powers will be strengthened by the bill. It is up to the federal agency to ensure respect for language rights within the federal jurisdiction.

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Ottawa also plans to ask companies to set up committees to improve the French language To sync Their actions to protect the working language with those in Rule 96.

Political or legal war in view

According to Pierre Thibault, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, the language issue in the workplace is currently a political issue, but if Quebec is not satisfied with the federal plan it will soon be subject to a legal conflict.

Thibaut says he will win his case in Ottawa court if federal and provincial laws come into conflict.

In the interpretation of federalism, if there is a conflict between two laws, it is the priority of the applicable federal laws.

An excerpt from:Pierre Thibo, law professor at the University of Ottawa

However, he believes it would be less complicated for businesses if the same rule were applied in the province.

It is very simple and easy for the federal government to accept that the federal institutions in Quebec are subject to Bill 96., Says Thibo.

However, according to several federal sources, the Trudeau government wants to occupy His It does not want to allow jurisdictions and federally regulated businesses to be governed by the provincial language of the Labor Code.