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An Act respecting French (formerly Bill 96) – Translation Requirements & Solution

On May 24, 2022, the Quebec National Assembly adopted An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec (the "Act"), which aims to further promote the use of French language in Québec and reiterate the formal recognition of French as the only official language in Québec. Subject to implementation delays due to court challenge, please find below how the Act affects in particular employers, businesses and judicial proceedings.

The following is an overview of the Act and its impacts on businesses:

  • the Act requires that the following documents be drafted in French; memberships contracts, contracts containing standard clauses and related documents. For example, the parties are no longer be able to use the clause whereby the parties agree that only a version in another language will be drafted and signed since companies are required to provide a French version of the documents before one of the parties expresses its desire to be bound by a version drafted in another language.
  • Contracts with the Government (including its departments, government agencies, municipal agencies and school boards as well as health services and social services) must be drafted exclusively in French, with few exceptions.
  • Documents sent to government agencies to obtain a permit, authorization, subsidy or financial assistance must be drafted exclusively in French.
  • Any application for registration of a movable security in Québec must be drafted in French.

The following is an overview of the Act and its impacts on the justice and legislation:

  • A certified French translation must come with every pleading of a legal person drawn up in English. The cost of translation shall be assumed by the legal person.
  • A French version must come with any judgment rendered in English by a court without delay when it terminates a proceeding and is of interest to the public.
  • Any person may request that a judgment rendered in English be translated into French. When a judgment is rendered in French, the English translation will be made at the request of one of the parties.
  • The foregoing also applies, with the necessary modifications, to decisions rendered in the exercise of an adjudicative function by a governmental body.

The Act also imposes obligations on employers, including:

  • Any employment, transfer or promotion offer issued by an employer must be in French.
  • Individual contracts of employment must be drawn up in French.
  • French shall be used in the written communications of the employer to his employees or a particular employee.
  • Documents made available by the employer must be drawn up in French and if they are available in another language, their French version must be accessible under at least as favorable conditions. These documents include, among other things: application forms, documents relating to the conditions of employment; training materials produced for staff.
  • Collective agreements that are not drafted in French must be available in that language upon their conclusion.
  • Any arbitration award made in English must be accompanied without delay by its certified French version.

MT>Version, the legal translation division of McCarthy Tétrault, leverages highly qualified in-house resources (lawyer-revisors and OTTIAQ certified translators) and utilizes innovative solutions (machine translation based on an evolving neural network of several million legal terms), to meet its clients’ business objectives and timelines.

For example, MT>Version could quickly and inexpensively provide a courtesy English machine translation of documents that are required to be drawn exclusively in French for understanding by an English-speaking client or a French machine translation with professional human quality control of an English employee code of conduct or a certified French translation of English court documents.

For further information or a quote, please contact us at [email protected] or by telephone at 438-808-0055. Additional information about our services is available at