Should all employers have the right to require English?

I don’t know how to break this to you gently, but some immigrants from Francophone countries and immigrants from Latin American countries are being asked a horrifying question when they apply for work.

They are being asked – I don’t know how I can say this in a sensitive way…ok, I’ll just go ahead and say it…When they apply for work… they are being asked… if they speak English. Some say that they are being turned down simply because they don’t speak English and they are being told to look for work of island.

Can you imagine such a thing? Some employers actually have the gall to want to hire someone who might to want to serve their customers in the language of their choice.

Quebec immigration minister Diane Courcy, who spoke in French only to business leaders at a conference organized by the Conseil du patronat, is very concerned.

Madame Courcy, a former head of the Comission Scolair de Montreal with its massive high school dropout rate, said that making bilingualism a requirement for hiring worries her. I’ll tell you what worries me. Not making it a requirement.

We all know that Bill 101 was really a massive affirmative action program for the four million unilingual francophones in the province. Employers know their own business – and if not – they should. THEY should be the ones who decide if it it makes sense for THEIR their business to be staffed by someone who speaks English as well as French.

For instance, the MTC might want to make bilingualism a requirement in certain parts of the city. That might prevent metro ticket takers, for example, from attacking English-speaking clients like Mina Barak, who was allegedly told to to "go back to her country."

By the way, today is the 17th anniversary of the last referendum. You remember the one? The one where Jacques Parizeau blamed the result on money and the ethnic vote.

What do you think? Listen to the audio we posted from Tuesday's show, when MTC assault victim Mina Barak called in to The Gang of Four...


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  1. Amanda posted on 10/31/2012 12:25 PM
    I find that off island is the opposite problem. I often get rejected from jobs off island because I don't speak enough french. They test you in the middle of the interview to see if your french is good enough, they ask you to have a typical conversation with them but in french. I think both languages should be welcomed as equals. I've had my fare share of speaking to someone in english and them not being able to understand but yet in the job place i'm required to do my best to communicate in french even though i may not understand. Each language is going to argue their importance.
  2. Mike_S posted on 10/31/2012 04:13 PM
    If the job requires that indiividual to deal with unilingual english people it is not unreasonable to ask that the person to have a kniowledge of english. For internal jobs that do not have an outside component english should not be a job requirement. It is also common sence that if you employ and english speaker for the job they should also be able to communicate in french.

    A company that deals with U.S. customers needs a bilingual person it is as simple as that. You do not cut off possible sources of income just because the Quebec government wants a french workplace.
  3. irene posted on 11/01/2012 10:40 PM
    I am a Manager in a Retail store. I am and always have been completely Bilingual. When I am hiring a new employee, I will make sure they can converse with the clients in BOTH languages. Can you imagine a French client not being understood in a retail store. Excuse me: Can you imagine an English client not being understood. Lets get serious its all about SALES to survive and pay the rent. I only wish I had THREE languages. I am an Anglophone and sent my children to French School. Hello!! Don't the French people REALIZE that We have MORE rights than they do??
  4. Jon posted on 11/02/2012 07:31 AM
    Three major companies already took steps to exercise their rights regarding running their businesses in the last month, they closed and left.
    1. Mike D posted on 11/02/2012 10:58 AM
      @Jon Good that these companies left. They are not welcome here and if they do not want to comply they should be closed. We had a visit by the OLF and they are not strict enough, they even travel in their own vehicles. OLF vehicles should be identified as such complete with sirens and lights. More inspectors should be hired immediately and all companies should be inspected asap. All loopholes should be closed right away. As a example Bombardier operates far too much in English and I even know only English speaking people that work there. Manuals are in English etc... and don't tell me about FAA regulations. This is Quebec and we should tell them from now on we will put everything in French only and if they do not like it they can take their business elsewhere. Enough is enough. Vive le Quebec libre!!!!
  5. MichelD posted on 11/19/2012 11:59 PM
    I provide the employment and will dictate what I need. I do not care at all if someone gets frustrated about this fact.
    Hey it is an advantage to be bilingual in any kind of busyness.
    They could always cry, that wont make me change my mind.
    If I am looking at a bunch of applications be certain the one who has the most potential will be hired. English is an ace in your sleeve in any kind of job.
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