Starting June 1st, 2023, a significant change has come into force impacting businesses registered with the Registraire des entreprises du Québec. Companies, both new and existing, that fall within the employee range of five to 49, are now required to disclose the percentage of their workforce unable to communicate in French. This legal obligation stems from Bill 96, An act respecting French, the official and common language of Quebec. In this article, we delve into the key details of this new requirement and its implications for businesses operating in the province.
Who Needs to Declare?
As of June 1st, 2023, the language declaration mandate applies solely to companies with employee counts ranging from five to 49. Businesses with staff numbers of one to four are exempt from this declaration requirement.
For newly established businesses, this information can be provided during the registration process or upon filing their initial declaration. Existing enterprises, on the other hand, have the option to declare this during their annual updating declaration or by submitting a current updating declaration as needed.
Defining "Unable to Communicate in French at Work"
While the law doesn't offer a precise definition for determining the percentage of employees who cannot communicate in French at work, the Registraire des entreprises provides a guideline for assessment.
Being able to communicate in French at work signifies an employee's capacity to carry out their work tasks in the French language. This assessment may encompass verbal or written interactions with colleagues, supervisors, or clients, depending on job roles and tasks. Effective communication in French entails understanding work directives, participating in meetings, undergoing training, composing or sharing work-related documents (memos, reports, forms, etc.), and serving customers in French.
Public Accessibility of Information
The disclosed data concerning the proportion of employees unable to communicate in French at work will be accessible to the public through the Registraire des entreprises.
As the regulatory landscape evolves, businesses must stay informed about their legal obligations. The language declaration requirement, enacted by Bill 96, introduces new responsibilities for businesses in Quebec with employee counts ranging from five to 49.
Whether you're a new entrepreneur embarking on your business journey or an established entity navigating these changes, understanding and complying with these requirements will be instrumental in ensuring continued operations in alignment with Quebec's language laws. If you require further guidance or have questions about how this change affects your business, our experienced legal team is here to assist you.
This blog post is not legal advice and is for general informational purposes only. Always speak with a lawyer before acting on any of the information contained herein.