Tag Archives: french

Bill 96 Quebec Explained: 9 Astonishing Ways The Bill Will Impact Tech Companies And Startups in Quebec

A new bill in Quebec that will most likely become law soon will severally restrict companies in Quebec by making it almost illegal to operate in English. Below we will have Bill 96 Quebec explained.

Imagine, you are a small startup of 5 employees and you are sitting at your desk developing that new Cloud software, but suddenly you have a bunch of OQLF (Quebec Board of the French Language) inspectors rushing into your office screaming for you to give them your cell phones, and laptops because they have received a complain that your business does not adhere to the new bill. That might soon become a harsh reality.

And no – they do NOT even need a warrant from a judge – they can just show up any time someone files an alleged offence against your company.

BILL 96 QUEBEC EXPLAINED: We have analyzed the bill and will review some of the impacts that will happen to technology companies and tech startup businesses in Quebec if the bill becomes a law (which seems very likely at this point)

BILL 96 QUEBEC EXPLAINED

BILL 96 QUEBEC EXPLAINED

No need to be a customer

You have to serve your customers in French no matter what and you will face penalties if your company has 5 or more employees. The new bill also includes a clause where it says that even your non-consumer clients (ie anyone in Quebec) can file a claim against your company for not providing information in French. So even if you are a company of 5 people and develop software – you might be liable for not communicating in French and will face penalties.

Government agencies / Legal Procedings

Additional burden is also added to the new bill when it comes to dealing with government agencies as well as going to court. You now have to provide all the documents in French , and if you do not have them in French, you have to translate them into French at your own cost. So basically going to small claims court to collect any money or enforce a rule of law – you will have to do it in French only. The new law also bans Quebec government employees from speaking English to you (even if they know how to speak it) – so you have to speak French or designate a French speaking employee to speak to the government when it comes to anything.

Agreements in French only

All agreements in French SVP. The way it is now, many companies put a clause in their contracts stating that the agreement will be in English and all parties are OK with it. After the new bill passes, that would be illegal and you will have to write your agreements only in French.

Hiring Must Be in French (with a few exceptions)

Do you speak French? The new bill will make it mandatory to hire in French and to justify to the government when you need to hire someone who does not speak French. If you need a developer and do not care what language he or she speaks – you will need to justify that to the government in French for the reason why. If you publish your job in English only and hire English speakers – and can not provide a reason for why – you might face still penalties (see below).

This new bill will definitely hurt Montreal ability to attract and retain companies and employees that work in international markets.

If Montreal wants to be on the cutting edge in special effects, in the video game industry, if we want to be part of the dynamic that attracts business headquarters that are pan-Canadian or international, we have to find a way of accepting that the language of [international] business is English

Michel Leblanc

President of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

Francization Certificate

You will now be required to obtain Francization certificate when you are a company of just 25 employees and in some cases even a company of 5 people (in some industries). That means most of your documents and company correspondence have to be in French – which can be a huge headache for new startups with low budgets.

Still Penalties For Not Complying

Government will be very strict with any offenses they deem to be valid. First offence fine could be up to $20,000, second offence will be up to $40,000 and subsequence offences will be up to $90,000. So basically within a year, you can rack up a legal bill of $150,000 if you are not careful when it comes to hiring and dealing with customers, non customers, employees and government agencies in French. On top of that, if government thinks that you are continuing in your non complying ways they will charge you extra fines for each extra day you are not complying.

Social Media

Social media in French. Government still requires that all social media posts be in French even if your customer base is English.

Power Of Seizure / Search

Office québécois de la langue française will now have higher powers. They will now have power to seize and have access to electronic devices as your cell phones, computers, laptops and servers.

OQLF has enough employees to enforce this as they have just recently hired some additional employees.

Less English school for kids of temporary employees

Temporary employees who come to Quebec – will now have more difficulties to send their kids to English schools. The way it is now, you can send your kids to English schools and keep on sending them there by renewing the permission every 3 years. The new bill eliminates the renewal and the kids would have to go to French school.

Hope you have liked our BILL 96 QUEBEC EXPLAINED article and please go ahead and share. This article BILL 96 QUEBEC EXPLAINED hopefully help companies decide whether to expand to Quebec, hire additional employees in Quebec or relocate to another provinces in Canada.

Netflix en français or по русски!?

Most people nowdays have Netflix account or use their friend’s or family member’s account. Netflix has over 120m streaming subscribers to date.

But what happens if you are tired of English shows and want to spice it up a bit? Or maybe you are Francophile or Russophile and want to brush up on the language or watch in your native tongue?

Well fear not, as Netflix supports both selection by audio and subtitles / captions. In Canada we have 18 different languages available for us to watch TV shows and movies in (including French, German, Hindi, Spanish, Russian, Tagalog and more).

All you have to do is head to and select language you want to watch in:

https://www.netflix.com/browse/subtitles

Please do not forget to enable caption / subtitles – either online or on your Roku / Chrome / Apple TV devices.

It is interesting to note, that there is no difference on Netflix for French from France or French from Quebec.

OK, enough of chit chat. Time to watch some Astérix – Le Domaine des Dieux. 

Quebec Tries Restricting English Greetings For Businesses

Quebec just passed a non legally enforceable motion in the Quebec’s legislature for all businesses to stop using English Word Hi when saying “Bonjour Hi”. They say “all businesses and workers who enter into contact with local and international clients to welcome them warmly with ‘Bonjour. ’” And just “Bonjour.”

While this story does not have any real technology side to it, most of the Canadian, US and International media picked up the story with a negative spin on it.

So did a lot of Twitter users who vent their frustration online:

While Quebec is picking up a lot of good publicity for AI research and Facebook recently coming to Montreal, it also is getting a lot of bad rep for this Bonjour Hi as well as Burqa fiasco and getting itself marked as anti business, or place where businesses from outside of Quebec will think twice before opening in the province or businesses inside the province will consider leaving. And a lot do: about 7,000 Quebecers abandon the province every year.

As a leading Montreal tech entrepreneur, Founder and CEO of Island , Greg Isenberg, who have recently moved to San Francisco once said, in his famous Montreal is a dying city Medium blog that has gotten taken down:

dric / Pixabay

Here’s the truth: Montreal is a dying city.

  • Montrealers and Montreal needs to be a bilingual city. English in Quebec is only introduced in the 4th grade. For a city that is a mere 60 miles from the US border, that’s absolutely absurd.
  • The more languages we know, the better. That is a global competitive advantage not a loss of our Quebecois identity. One language is not better than the other.
  • One culture is not better than the other. We are brothers and sisters. I believe laws should be in place to protect our Quebecois and French language culture.
  • However, some laws are completely onerous and it puts Quebec in the right hand lane when other cities are zooming by in the left lane. Get this — if you move to Montreal from outside Quebec, your children cannot go to an english public school unless you parents were educated in Quebec in english.
  • How can a Montreal company attract top talent (usually from the US) when there are laws that make it downright uninviting and difficult to raise a family there?
  • Why would a NYC entrepreneur start a company in Montreal when their french skills are limited and government paperwork is only in french?
  • We are failing these folks. They will bring jobs, spend money, pay taxes and create change.

“Montreal is a Dying City” for Tech, Medium article reports

Well known Founder and CEO of Island , Greg Isenberg, wrote an opinion piece why Montreal and the whole province of Quebec was not for him, and why he left and took his business with him to San Francisco, California. Greg also builds marketing and social media campaigns for brands like FedEX, NASCAR, TechCrunch and WordPress.


His story got a lot of heat from Montreal / Quebec users who disagreed with him , and that is potentially why he decided to retract it and delete it from the site, Medium.com. We have sent a request asking him why he decided to delete it and waiting for feedback. 

Basically in his article Greg summarized why Montreal is not a good place for a tech company, his main point was that Montreal can not retain talent to stay in Montreal, most people leave it for other places. He discussed 3 points he thinks would make Montreal more attractive.

  1. His first point was to make Montreal an officially bilingual city, no more French language enforcement police scaring off English startups / students; provide English documents to companies willing to do business in Montreal;
  2.  his second point was that Montreal is seen in North America as Sex / Porn capital and this view should be squashed and that the City of Montreal / Province of Quebec should promote city as a good place to do business;
  3. Most McGill grads (McGill is a top tier school in North America) leave within few years of finishing school, only a small percentage stay – how to make it better for them to stay – what to do? what programs to launch?

The story first appeared on Medium (https://medium.com/@gregisenberg/dear-montreal-please-dont-give-up-fa03726537b6) but has since been deleted but still exists in Google Cache (https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:MWiBTFErOxYJ:https://medium.com/%40gregisenberg/dear-montreal-please-dont-give-up-fa03726537b6+&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ca) and is included below:

Dear Montreal, Please Don’t Give Up

Parce que j’ai confiance en toi

I’ve been wanting to write this post for awhile. It’s one I’ve got a lot of feels for. This isn’t an attack on Montreal. This is critical feedback for the city I love. We do performance reviews for employees, so why not do it for cities from time to time? This is purely an economic performance review.

Caveat: I’m not going to write a fluff piece. We all know how Montreal’s quality of life is off the freakin’ charts, but that’s not what I’m here to discuss.

Here’s the truth: Montreal is a dying city.

Where other cities like Portland, Berlin and Oakland are on the up, Montreal stands still.

You wouldn’t believe the amount of people I meet in the US and abroad who only think of it as a bachelor party city, who have no idea what Montreal life is like or who haven’t even heard of the city. Breaks my heart.

The problem: Some of the smartest and most entrepreneurial leave Montreal in search for “opportunity”. Montreal has failed them. How do we fix that?

Here’s my top 3:

  1. Montrealers and Montreal needs to be a bilingual city. English in Quebec is only introduced in the 4th grade. For a city that is a mere 60 miles from the US border, that’s absolutely absurd. The more languages we know, the better. That is a global competitive advantage not a loss of our Quebecois identity. One language is not better than the other. One culture is not better than the other. We are brothers and sisters. I believe laws should be in place to protect our Quebecois and French language culture. However, some laws are completely onerous and it puts Quebec in the right hand lane when other cities are zooming by in the left lane. Get this — if you move to Montreal from outside Quebec, your children cannot go to an english public school unless you parents were educated in Quebec in english. How can a Montreal company attract top talent (usually from the US) when there are laws that make it downright uninviting and difficult to raise a family there? Why would a NYC entrepreneur start a company in Montreal when their french skills are limited and government paperwork is only in french? We are failing these folks. They will bring jobs, spend money, pay taxes and create change.
  2. Montreal has the opportunity to be the Berlin of North America; Berlin is similar to Montreal. Both suffered economic decline, both have excellent foodie and party scene, both are super cool, both are university towns, both are artistic towns and both are in the economic shadow of their bigger brother (Berlin has Frankfurt and Montreal has Toronto). Yet ask any hipster in this world, and Berlin is thriving. Companies like Soundcloud were founded and grown there. Thrillist calls Montreal “The Porn Capital”. I think Montreal could be known for a lot more than a city involved in the underbelly of the internet and promote companies that affect global change (Breather is a good example)
  3. Montreal needs to retain McGill graduates. It’s Montreal’s top school, one of the best in Canada and renown across the world yet McGill grads don’t stay in Montreal to start companies etc. How do we make it easy for them? What kind of programs can we put in place?

My question is do Montrealers want the city to become an influencer city? Or are you comfortable with the status quo?

I think Montreal has 2 options; either continue on this path to be the most relevant city in Quebec (which it is) or change course and become a more world-class city.

There is something really special about Montrealers and with the right push, more incredible art, companies and technology will come out of the city.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think the people and the city deserve more.

Best,

Greg Isenberg