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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.

https://twitter.com/ColinStandish/status/1445965285945663488

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.

Quebec City’s MyCustomizer is Making it easier to Shop

We have sat down with Renaud Teasdale Co-Founder and CEO of startup MyCustomizer to ask him about his Quebec City’s company and the success he had with it.

Summarize your company in an elevator pitch.

MyCustomizer empowers brands to engage customers in outstanding design-your-own experiences with a powerful online platform.

Who started the company? Do you / team members have tech background?

Renaud Teasdale co-founded the company with Simon Vallières and Thierry Proulx. Renaud is a designer who worked for Warrior (New Balance) while Simon and Thierry are full stack developers. After witnessing the emergence of mass customization, they decided to build a software platform allowing any brand to sell customizable products online. A few years later, Malo Guertin, a skilled software engineer joined us as in intern and now leads our development team.

It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Being persistent is key.

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Renaud Teasdale

Co-Founder and CEO MyCustomizer

How are you being financed?

We raised a micro-seed round back in 2012 with Founderfuel and BDC and pretty much bootstrapped our way to profitability. We now have a solid client base from startups to large companies such as Dick’s Sporting Goods and Suunto.

What do you think will be / is a big obstacle to overcome?

We are launching MyCustomizer 2.0 a fully self-serve solution on the Shopify App Store in the next few weeks and our goal from there will be to scale exponentially. It’s going to be a big challenge to handle the growth while keeping an excellent service. We want to make sure our clients succeed. If they win, we win.

How do you go about finding good developers / IT guys for your company?

We have success with internships and word of mouth.  Having a great work environment (flexible schedule and vacations, work from home) where people want to show up on Monday mornings also helps!

Who is your biggest competition?

An agency like Fluid has a large chunk of the high end market. Our model is different because we are purely a software-as-a-service play. We are more like Shopify for customization.

How are you intending on taking your company to millions / billions dollars in revenues? In what markets?

Mass customization and ecommerce in general are definitely growing trends. We are building the best platform to sell custom products online. This is a huge market across all verticals from sporting goods to food. Studies have shown that 25-30% of online shoppers are interested to try customization. If 25% of online sales of footwear are customized, that equate to a market of 2 Billion per year.

8. What is the big lesson you’ve learned (success or failure) with this project.

It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Being persistent is key. Back in 2012, all the investors were telling us that this was a niche market. It is now very clear that this is a huge opportunity. The world is moving towards production on-demand at light speed.

Security Firm OneSpan Opens R&D in Montreal

Security firm from Chicago is opening a center in Montreal to do their R&D. They will be investing $9m to operate the center there.

This is on top of their existing office there where they employ 150 employees. This new addition should add another 100 hires.

Company claims to have over 10,000 clients and employs over 600 employees worldwide.

Data breaches, identity theft, and financial fraud have become all too common features of our modern digital life. OneSpan is dedicated to protecting people from financial fraud and stopping billions of dollars in losses for consumers, banks, and businesses.

Our new Montréal R&D centre and the city’s world class technical talent will play a prominent role in ensuring OneSpan remains at the forefront in preventing fraud in the global financial services industry.

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Scott Clements

Chief Executive Officer, President, and Director at OneSpan

This is a big win for Quebec government who had their share of controversy in the last few months. This shows that current Quebec government can attract foreign investment into the province.

Eric Girard, Quebec’s Minister of Finance, said that “It is essential to develop high-level expertise in personal data and information protection in Québec. Cybersecurity and data protection remain a priority of our government.”

Montreal is well known in the world for its amazing game development contribution with companies like Ubisoft and Eidos. Now they can add two more to their list: artificial intelligence and cyber security.

It is impressive to see that Montreal IT work-force has increased from 100,000 to 150,000 in less than a decade.

Montreal Firm Sues Fortnite developer for its addictiveness

Montreal law firm says that Epic Games, developer of highly popular game – Fortnight, should pay up. The law firm has asked Quebec government to authorize permission to launch a class-action lawsuit.

The law firm claims that Epic Games made the game addictive on purpose to sell more games and even went as far as hiring psychologists to make it even more addictive.

Law firm says that playing Fortnight is like doing drugs like cocaine. It has exactly the same level of addictiveness.

Law firm says that two Montreal families came to it because they were concerned of how much their kids were playing the game and were worried.

Epic Games, when they created Fortnite, for years and years, hired psychologists — they really dug into the human brain and they really made the effort to make it as addictive as possible.

They knowingly put on the market a very, very addictive game which was also geared toward youth.

In our case, the two parents that came forward and told, ‘If we knew it was so addictive it would ruin our child’s life, we would never have let them start playing Fortnite or we would have monitored it a lot more closely.

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Alessandra Esposito Chartrand (interview with CBC)

an Attorney with Calex Légal

Epic Games is a company of over 3,500 employees in the US, Montreal and many other locations around the world.

Lawyers say the company had a duty to inform players of how addictive the game is. It likens it to smoking cigarettes and big $15B tobacco ruling payout that was received from 2015 Quebec Superior Court ruling.

Lawyers said they are trying to protect the consumer and that Fortnite makers dug into consumers brain to make it very addictive.

It not clear how they intend on launching class action suite as company’s terms of service include a class-action waiver provision.

Lawyers in Quebec say that the provision does not apply in Quebec as Quebec does not need to follow the class-action waiver and instead need to follow Quebec’s Consumer Protection Act.

More than 125 million players currently play the game worldwide.

Lyft is launching in Montreal soon

Montreal is slowly catching up to Toronto. Lyft has mentioned that they are looking to add Montreal to their list of Canadian locations where they operate. They have been operating in The Greater Toronto area since the end of 2018. They also have recently launched their service in Ottawa.

Lyft mentioned that they potentially will be launching in the summer of 2019 in Montreal. Lyft thinks that the new Bill 21 in Quebec will be good for their business, even though hundreds of taxi drivers there protested against it, and some even did self imposed harm, like cutting their wrists on live TV, to get media attention.

Bill 17 helps deregulate Quebec’s taxi industry and makes it easier for ride sharing companies to open up there. Quebec government has also said that taxi drivers will be compensated for the inconvenience.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BxurEOMAV1L/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Lyft is currently in talks with Quebec to get the best deal sorted out. Ideally they said they want to launch in Montreal, Gatineau, and Quebec City.

Bonne Chance! Launch date in Quebec is coming soon (and will be updated here).

And if you are looking for a job in social media or software engineering, Lyft is hiring in Montreal – make sure to apply today: https://www.lyft.com/careers?location=montreal%252C%2520canada

Montreal French Quebecor Violated CRTC Regulations

Update: CRTC said that during disputes – it is illegal for channel owners to just switch off their signal and owners should be penalized. Quebecor, Pierre Karl Péladeau, said that he does not recognize CRTC authority. Bell said that Quebecor license should be suspended immediately and for duration of hockey playoffs. CRTC said that it will announce its ruling soon.


Quebecor, communications company based in Montreal, founded by pro Quebec separatist Pierre Péladeau, has run afoul of CRTC, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, regulations.

Quebecor blocked TVA Sports signal to Bell TV subscribers. TVA Sports is what a lot of French speaking subscribers use to watch their sports in French. Bell as well as CRTC called this action as illegal.

CTV News

The Quebecor started blocking the channel on the night when hockey playoffs have begun and irritated a lot of Bell users who watch TVA Sports.

https://twitter.com/davidlechefff/status/1116126112629837825

Quebecor said that the reason for cutting the channel is because it does not believe Bell is paying it enough for their specialty channels and wants more money from Bell.

Bell said that customers affected by the blockage can watch “Sportsnet, Sportsnet One and Sportsnet 360 at no extra cost.”

CRTC threaten Quebecor saying it is “ready to use the means at its disposal to enforce its regulation” and wants Quebecor to resume TVA Sports to Bell subscribers as per contract immediately.
Patricia Valladao, CRTC spokesperson, “We take this issue very seriously and are taking steps to protect Canadians,”

Quebecor in its defense said in a press release:

“Quebecor regrets having to take this action, but given the current obsolete regulatory framework, the survival of specialty channels is at stake.

We’re talking about a commercial business dispute. It’s unfortunate that fans are caught in the middle.”

Transport Canada is Funding 45 min Toronto – Montreal Hyperloop Train Study

Transport Canada is funding a study to see if it is feasible to build an electric tunnel to take passengers from Toronto to Montreal on speedy hyperloop train in just 45 minutes.

The Hyperloop is a new intercity transportation concept. Promoters are engineering the design to provide travellers with a travel mode featuring very high speeds, fixed guideways above and below ground, and capsule like vehicles called pods propelled within a network of looped sealed partial-vacuum tubes.

https://twitter.com/cozyfury/status/1113244304863039488

Government agency said that they are looking to hire subject matter experts to analyze the project and see if it feasible to execute.

According to the government’s RFP document, Transport Canada requires “services of a transportation engineering consulting firm so that the Department can be better informed on the technical, operational, economic, safety, and regulatory aspects of the Hyperloop and understand its construction requirements and commercial feasibility.”

Elon Mask has originally introduced the technology to the market in 2016. Companies like Transpod, Canadian company manufacturing ultra-high-speed transportation, as well as Richard Branson’s Virgin Hyperloop One have popped up claiming that their hyperloop trains can reach speeds of up to 1,000 km/hour.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BubvcZEg71q/

Many so called experts debate the pros and cons of the hyperloop system. Some key points are below (as taken from FutureforAll.org website).

Pros of Hyperloop Train

  • Fast, efficient and cheap to operate
  • Average speeds of around 600 mph (970 km/h), with a top speed of 760 mph (1,200 km/h)
  • Low power consumption
  • Uses Solar Energy for power
  • Open-sourced, encouraging others to take the ideas and further develop them.
  • Hyperloops tubes are protected from the weather, birds, objects on railroad tracks.
  • In the event of equipment or electrical failure, the system comes to a stop (does not fall from the sky).
  • Automation reduces the risk of human error
  • Promotes economic growth around the Hyperloop route
  • Reduced freight costs and times

Cons of Hyperloop Train

  • High cost of development and construction
  • Susceptible to disruption from earthquakes, power outages or terror attacks
  • No sharp curves or abrupt height changes in the route
  • Potential for rapid decompression of the tube or passenger space
  • Vibration and jostling caused by high speeds
  • People will not be able to move freely during travel (no bathroom?)
  • Unproven system
https://www.instagram.com/p/BhKXD8kAZCb/

While we wait for the study to be completed, Transpod claims that they will sell tickets for as low as $80 one way trip between Toronto and Montreal and get you there in just 45 minutes. Wish we could get there as fast when travel from Mississauga to Toronto downtown on a busy morning commute.