Clarifying the language of signs
Today is the deadline for businesses with English trademark names to say whether they'll add a French description to their signs, following a letter sent by the province's language watchdog. This was a story that CJAD first brought to you a few months ago.
But it looks like some companies may be ready to take the case to court.
The Retail Council of Canada received legal advice that the language watchdog OQLF is misinterpreting the provisions of Bill 101 allowing English trademarked names such as Canadian Tire, Toys R Us and Future Shop. They are thinking of contesting the issue in court.
Nathalie St-Pierre, Quebec v.p. for the Retail Council of Canada, said they'd like the language watchdog OQLF to clarify the Bill 101 regulation, asking the courts for a ruling if necessary.
"We're wondering why it is that now in the last few months there's a need to add a French generic to a trademark which is protected by law and excluded from the Charter," St-Pierre told CJAD News.
OQLF spokesman Martin Bergeron said their focus has shifted only now because of other priorities in the past, adding they have no problem going to court.
"We are very at ease with our iinterpretation, we think it's solid," Bergeron said in an interview with CJAD News.
"We don't want to go that way but in 2% of the cases of complaints we receive, we have to. In 98% we can make changes without going to court," he said.
"What we want in the end, is to have the French face of Montreal, not that companies face fines."
Those fines range from $1500 to $20,000, plus their francization certificate would be revoked.
Bergeron said some companies have said they'd comply and others said they'd check with head office.
Photo: Joe Raedie/Getty Images