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Use of French in Federally Regulated Private Businesses Act (S.C. 2023, c. 15, s. 54)

Act current to 2024-05-01

Use of French in Federally Regulated Private Businesses Act

S.C. 2023, c. 15, s. 54

Assented to 2023-06-20

An Act respecting the use of French in federally regulated private businesses in Quebec and in regions with a strong francophone presence

[Enacted by section 54 of chapter 15 of the Statutes of Canada, 2023, not in force.]
Preamble

Whereas nothing in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms limits the authority of Parliament to advance the equality of status or use of English and French;

Whereas the Government of Canada is committed to protecting and promoting the French language, recognizing that French is in a minority situation in Canada and North America due to the predominant use of English;

Whereas the Government of Canada recognizes the diversity of the provincial and territorial language regimes that contribute to the advancement of the equality of status and use of English and French in Canadian society;

Whereas consumers in Quebec or a region with a strong francophone presence should have the right to communicate in French with and obtain available services in French from federally regulated private businesses that carry on business in Quebec or the region;

And whereas employees of federally regulated private businesses who work in Quebec or a region with a strong francophone presence should have the right to work in French;

Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

Short Title

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Marginal note:Short title

 This Act may be cited as the Use of French in Federally Regulated Private Businesses Act.

Interpretation

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Marginal note:Definitions

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     (1) The following definitions apply in this Act.

    Board

    Board means the Canada Industrial Relations Board established by section 9 of the Canada Labour Code. (Conseil)

    Commissioner

    Commissioner means the Commissioner of Official Languages for Canada appointed under section 49 of the Official Languages Act. (commissaire)

    federally regulated private business

    federally regulated private business means a person that employs employees on or in connection with a federal work, undertaking or business as defined in section 2 of the Canada Labour Code but does not include

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      (a) a person that employs fewer employees than the number of employees specified in the regulations;

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      (b) a corporation that is incorporated to perform functions on behalf of the Government of Canada;

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      (c) a corporation that is subject to the Official Languages Act under another Act of Parliament; or

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      (d) a council, government, corporation or other entity that is authorized to act on behalf of an Indigenous group, community or people that holds rights recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. (entreprise privée de compétence fédérale)

    Minister

    Minister means the Minister of Canadian Heritage. (ministre)

    parties

    parties, in relation to a complaint made to the Commissioner, means the complainant, the federally regulated private business that is the subject of the complaint and any other person added as a party to the complaint. (parties)

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    Marginal note:Board

    (2) For the purposes of this Act, the Board is considered to be composed only of the members described in paragraphs 9(2)(a), (b), (e) and (f) of the Canada Labour Code.

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Marginal note:Language rights

 For the purposes of this Act, language rights

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    (a) are to be given a large, liberal and purposive interpretation; and

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    (b) are to be interpreted in light of their remedial character.

Purpose

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Marginal note:Purpose

 The purpose of this Act is to foster and protect the use of French in federally regulated private businesses in Quebec.

Non-application

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Marginal note:Broadcasting

 This Act does not apply in relation to a federally regulated private business in respect of activities or workplaces related to the broadcasting sector.

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Marginal note:Charter of the French language

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     (1) In relation to communications with or services provided to consumers in Quebec or in relation to workplaces in Quebec, Quebec’s Charter of the French language applies instead of this Act to a federally regulated private business if the federally regulated private business chooses to be subject to Quebec’s Charter of the French language.

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    Marginal note:Notice

    (2) A federally regulated private business must, in accordance with the regulations, give notice of the day on which it will become or cease to be subject to Quebec’s Charter of the French language.

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    Marginal note:Agreement with Quebec

    (3) The Minister may, on behalf of the Government of Canada and with the approval of the Governor in Council, enter into an agreement with the Government of Quebec for the purpose of giving effect to subsection (1).

Rights and Duties

Communications with and Services to Consumers

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Marginal note:Communications and services in French

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     (1) Consumers in Quebec have the right to communicate in French with and obtain available services in French from a federally regulated private business that carries on business in Quebec.

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    Marginal note:Duty

    (2) The federally regulated private business has the duty to ensure that consumers are able to exercise the rights set out in subsection (1).

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    Marginal note:For greater certainty

    (3) For greater certainty, the rights set out in subsection (1) do not preclude consumers from communicating with or obtaining services from the federally regulated private business in English or a language other than French if they wish to do so and the federally regulated private business is able to communicate or provide services in that language.

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Marginal note:Scope of duty

 The duty in respect of communications and services in French under section 7 applies in respect of oral and written communications and in respect of any documents or activities that relate to those communications or services.

Language of Work

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Marginal note:Language rights at work

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     (1) Employees of a federally regulated private business who occupy or are assigned to positions in a workplace in Quebec have the right to

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      (a) carry out their work and be supervised in French;

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      (b) receive all communications and documents from the federally regulated private business, including employment application forms, offers of employment, transfer or promotion, individual employment contracts, documents related to the conditions of employment, training documents produced for employees, notices of termination of employment, collective agreements and their schedules and grievances, in French; and

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      (c) use regularly and widely used work instruments and computer systems in French.

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    Marginal note:Continuation of right — former employees

    (1.1) An employee’s right set out in paragraph (1)(b) to receive communications and documents from a federally regulated private business in French continues after the employee ceases to be employed by the business.

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    Marginal note:Duty

    (2) The federally regulated private business has the duty to ensure that employees are able to exercise the rights set out in subsection (1) and that persons who were employees are able to exercise the right continued under subsection (1.1).

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    Marginal note:Duty — offer to fill a position

    (2.1) When a federally regulated private business that has workplaces in Quebec publishes in a language other than French an advertisement to fill a position — including through recruitment, hiring, transfer or promotion — that is assigned to one of those workplaces, the business must also publish the advertisement in French and ensure the simultaneous publication of both linguistic versions by means that are of the same nature and that reach a target public of a proportionally comparable size.

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    Marginal note:Communication in a language other than French

    (3) For greater certainty, the right set out in paragraph (1)(b) does not preclude communications and documents from also being in English or another language other than French but, in the case of widely distributed communications and any documents, the use of French must be at least equivalent to the use of the language other than French.

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    Marginal note:Individual employment contracts — contracts of adhesion

    (4) The right set out in paragraph (1)(b) does not preclude the federally regulated private business from entering into an individual employment contract that is a contract of adhesion with an employee exclusively in English or another language other than French, if the business and employee so agree and the business has already provided the contract to the employee in French.

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    Marginal note:Individual employment contracts — other

    (5) The right set out in paragraph (1)(b) does not preclude the federally regulated private business from entering into an individual employment contract — other than a contract of adhesion — with an employee exclusively in English or another language other than French, if the business and employee so agree.

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    Marginal note:Communications and documents

    (6) The right set out in paragraph (1)(b) does not preclude the federally regulated private business from providing to an employee communications and documents exclusively in English or another language other than French, if the business and employee so agree, even after the employee ceases to be employed by the business.

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Marginal note:Duty — arbitral awards

 A federally regulated private business that has workplaces in Quebec has the duty to ensure that an arbitral award that results from the arbitration of a grievance or dispute regarding the negotiation, renewal or review of a collective agreement respecting employees of the business who occupy or are assigned to positions in one of those workplaces

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    (a) is issued in French or, if it is issued in English or another language other than French, is translated into French without delay at the expense of the business and provided to the parties to the arbitration in both linguistic versions at the same time; and

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    (b) is translated into English or another language other than French as soon as feasible and at the expense of the business, if it was issued exclusively in French and a party to the arbitration requests a translation into the language other than French.

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Marginal note:Rights of trade unions

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     (1) A trade union that represents employees of a federally regulated private business who occupy or are assigned to positions in a workplace in Quebec has the right to receive communications and documents from the federally regulated private business in French.

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    Marginal note:Duty

    (2) The federally regulated private business has the duty to ensure that a trade union is able to exercise the right set out in subsection (1).

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    Marginal note:Communication in a language other than French

    (3) For greater certainty, the right set out in subsection (1) does not preclude communications and documents from also being in English or another language other than French but, in the case of widely distributed communications and any documents, the use of French must be at least equivalent to the use of the language other than French.

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Marginal note:Fostering use of French

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     (1) A federally regulated private business that has workplaces in Quebec must take measures to foster the use of French in those workplaces. Those measures must include

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      (a) informing employees that it is subject to this Act;

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      (b) informing employees who occupy or are assigned to positions in those workplaces of their language of work rights and available remedies; and

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      (c) establishing a committee to support the management group that is responsible for the general direction of the federally regulated private business in the fostering of French and its use within the federally regulated private business.

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    Marginal note:Generalizing use of French

    (1.1) A committee established under paragraph (1)(c) by a federally regulated private business that has workplaces in Quebec must develop programs intended to generalize the use of French at all levels of the business in those workplaces, through the following:

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      (a) all members of the management group and employees having a good knowledge of French;

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      (b) an increase, if necessary, in the number of persons who have a good knowledge of French in order to ensure that it is used generally;

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      (c) the use of French as the language of work and of internal communications;

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      (d) the use of French in the working documents, work instruments and computer systems used in the business;

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      (e) the use of French terminology;

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      (f) the use of French in information technologies; and

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      (g) any other means that the committee considers appropriate.

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    Marginal note:Employee needs

    (2) In developing the measures referred to in subsection (1), the federally regulated private business must consider the needs of employees who are close to retirement, have many years of service or have conditions that could impede the learning of French.

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    Marginal note:Communication in a language other than French

    (3) For greater certainty, programs referred to in subsection (1.1) do not preclude communications and documents from also being in English or another language other than French but, in the case of widely distributed communications and any documents, the use of French must be at least equivalent to the use of the language other than French.

 

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