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Quebec wants stores with English names to add French signs

Staff writer |
The Quebec government says it won’t tamper with companies’ trademarks, but has come up with new regulations that will ensure those trademarks have a French appearance when displayed on outdoor signs.

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Culture Minister Hélène David, who is responsible for the province’s French language charter, announced the regulatory changes.

"The Charter of the French language adopted in 1977 builds on the commitment of our company to ensure the quality and influence of the French language.

"Among the measures put in place at the time to achieve this, those on commercial signs, which are intended to reflect the predominance of French throughout Quebec have always been important. But one fact is observable: trade marks in a language other than French, mainly in English, are increasingly present in Quebec's linguistic landscape.

"In recent years, the display-related complaints have multiplied and the Quebec Office of the French Language (OLF) has had to intervene in the early 2010s in an attempt to remedy the situation.

"The approach of the OLF, which was intended to protect and further promote the French language, found no echo in the courts. Indeed, they have instead found that the current regulations do not allow the Office to intervene in the desired direction.

"In response, the Quebec government has taken the necessary means to act. Thus it announced in June its intention to amend the Regulation respecting the language of commerce and business in order to ensure a sufficient presence of French on commercial signs.

"In the months that followed the announcement, consultations were conducted with various organizations and companies in order to define the project parameters regulatory changes.

"The project presented today is appropriate to the context in which businesses operate and meets the expectations of the population."

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