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Doing business in Quebec? Find out how the French Language Charter affects you!

Quebec's Language Policy

Doing business in Quebec?
5 things you need to know!


Below you will find five frequently asked questions, to which the "Office québécois de la langue française, Service des communications" provides answers:

1) Do I need to translate the labels for products that I am selling in Quebec?
Product labeling refers to the inscriptions on the product itself (if any), the containers and the packaging, as well as the documents that accompany the products. French is mandatory on the labeling of all products sold in Quebec. English or any other language, of course, can be used along with French on product labeling, provided that the inscriptions used in the French text are at least equal to that in other languages. 
 
2) Do I need to translate commercial documentation that I am enclosing with my products?
Commercial documentation refers to printed advertising such as catalogues, pamphlets, brochures and commercial directories. Commercial documentation distributed in Quebec must be in French. Here again, one or several other languages may also be used along with French, provided that the French text is equivalent to any other. 

3) What do I need to know about commercial signs and displays that I plan to use in Quebec?
Promotional signs, displays, etc. are intended to attract consumers’ attention on your products. When used in business locations in Quebec, this material also has to be in French. If English or any other language is used along with French, you must make sure that the French inscriptions are markedly predominant, which means they must have a much greater visual impact. There are many ways to ensure this marked predominance: lettering in French twice as large, twice the number of signs in French, or a combination of size of letters and colors and any other means which would put the emphasis on the French text. 

4) I'd like to sell my software in Quebec. What do I need to watch out for?
Software products, including gameware, should be offered and made readily available in French in Quebec unless a French version of the product does not exist on the market anywhere. When the software does exist in a French version, the English version can only be offered if the French version is also available under equal conditions. When a French version does not exist anywhere, the English version can be offered as long as it is in compliance with the requirements in labeling, commercial documentation and commercial signs. 
 
5) Does the Charter of the French language permit the use of English in business communications between enterprises located in Quebec and those outside of Quebec?
Yes. There are no restrictions governing the language used by Quebec enterprises to communicate with enterprises outside Quebec.  However, because Quebec workers have the right to carry out their activities in French, the Charter of the French language stipulates that businesses in Quebec must normally use French. In particular, they must use French as the language for communication with their personnel, for their operations, and for labour relations. 
  • To request your in-depth FREE Infoguide on the Quebec language legislation, send an email to us with the word "Infoguide" in the subject line.
  • To review the official Charter of the French language, click here.
  • To read more about the history of the Charter of the French language, click here.
  • To obtain a quote for getting your documentation translated into Quebec French, please email us your document(s) or call us at +1(519) 591-8802.
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