Quebec’s controversial language law, titled Bill 96, is now in effect, and its impact has bled into other provinces. The new law was adopted in May 2022 and brought significant changes to the Charter of the French Language to prioritize and protect the French language.
Bill 96 affects all businesses with operations or employees in the province. However, the law has implications beyond Quebec. Ontario businesses have also begun noticing the impact of the new language bill. Here are a few ways Bill 96 has impacted Ontario employment.
Cross-Provincial Business is Harder
Under the new law, all businesses that operate or serve customers, even digitally, in Quebec now have to offer French services. That means that Ontario-based companies working in the province are now required to follow these new regulations, including French-first communication. This means that businesses now have to focus on adding French language options to their website, emails, and advertising, as well as hiring more French-speaking employees.
Bilingual Demand Increasing
Being bilingual, especially in French, has always been in demand in Canada, but now that has increased. Unfortunately, there is a French talent shortage. Even though the total bilingual population across Canada has increased, Statistics Canada reported that the proportion of people fluent in both French and English in provinces outside of Quebec diminished between 2016 and 2021. The number of French-first speakers declined in almost every province and territory as well. This means finding French-speaking employees to meet the new Bill 96 requirements is more challenging.
More French in Ontario
Bill 96’s impact doesn’t just impact businesses in Quebec. Companies based in Ontario have already begun to feel the rising demand to offer services in French, even if they don’t operate in Quebec. Businesses in Ottawa, which are just across the provincial border, have seen a rise in tourists expecting to be served in French. While it’s not required in Ontario, companies want to meet the needs of their customers, meaning French-speaking skills will continue to be in high demand, even outside of Quebec.
Are you looking for French talent or jobs that could benefit from your language skills? Contact Nova Staffing today!