UPDATED: STM has no legal opinion on making employees speak English

The transit authority has long flip-flopped on whether it had a legal opinion and interpretation on the French language charter, which would require some employees to speak English.

But days ahead of an access request hearing involving lawyers from The Gazette and the STM, the transit authority reportedly provided a signed affidavit that said “no legal opinion from internal or external lawyers could be identified related to Article 46 of the Charter of the French Language.”

The Gazette reported it was looking for clarification on the STM’s position on employees speaking both English and French.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority, the AMT, requires all employees who have contact with the public be able to speak both languages.

STM Vice President Marvin Rotrand has told CJAD News in past interviews it has a legal opinion that gives it little room to manoeuvre around the law.

“Board members have received summaries on the law and what the legal department says about it, so I’m not sure whether we are having a semantical argument on the word legal opinion or not, but I’m satisfied that the board has been well versed on what the law allows,” Rotrand told CJAD Thursday morning.

“I don’t think it’s the role of the STM to go to war with different government agencies, it’s a service provider, not a political instance,” Rotrand continued, when asked if the STM sought other legal advice, following language conflicts in the past.

The authority has come under fire in the past after employees posted signs that said "In Quebec, it happens in French." 

Rotrand said they worked with the language police for years, and the law forbids them from obliging employees to speak anything but French.

He said, contrary to popular belief, they do not receive many language complaints.


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  1. Really? posted on 05/29/2014 05:03 AM
    Really? The STM can't tell it's right arm from it's left? What a surprise!

    How come such a big company has no oversight? Even employees that used to be monitored aren't anymore. We could probably save millions if someone would just take charge of this company and if employees weren't overpaid lazy unionized workers.

    Remember 15+ years ago when the drivers were regularly monitored by someone in the front? When was the last time you've seen that? About the same time drivers started becoming as unpleasant as they are today.

    What a joke this "company of the year" (same year it was guilty of racial profiling mind you) is.
    1. joeN posted on 06/01/2014 08:50 AM
      @Really? What makes this even more disgusting is the fact that management awarded themselves bonuses as well. This is Quebec economics at it's best don't do what is right and moral, feed your greed and power ego. Way to go STM!
  2. Don posted on 05/29/2014 05:37 AM
    I spent one week in Paris in August 2013. All transit personnel, from ticket agents to drivers / operators, be it on buses, subway, train, all answered me queries in English.
    Hey, STM, we are in the 21st century.
    1. John posted on 06/04/2014 07:27 PM
      @Don I spent one week in Toronto this summer. All transit personnel, from ticket agents to drivers / operators, be it on buses, subway, train, nobody there spoke french. Hey Canada, it's a bilingual country
  3. Paul posted on 05/29/2014 06:26 AM
    It appears Marvin Rotrand has been feeding us BS for years now.
    1. joeN posted on 05/29/2014 10:37 AM
      @Paul What's even more puzzling is that people actually voted for this clown all these years.
  4. Paul posted on 05/29/2014 06:44 AM
    Marvin Rotrand should be fired if he cannot produce the legal opinions he has been referring to all the years.
  5. Jim posted on 05/29/2014 06:56 AM
    There is nothing more inspiring than the founding of a society based upon he lowest common denominator. We should be proud of living in Quebec; however, examples like this makes it hard to do so.
  6. More BS posted on 05/29/2014 09:12 AM
    STM has no opinion on courtesy or common sense. That basically is what it boils down to. But the tourism board says that tourism is down because of the strong looney.
    Tourism is down because of a bunch of loonies.
  7. NDmtl posted on 05/29/2014 09:34 AM
    My legal opinion says that we don't have to pay to get on those buses or metros. It's a actual legal opinion I just made up because I just feel like being a pretend lawyer today.
  8. Dorothy posted on 05/29/2014 02:57 PM
    No complaints. Well, I guess if you can't respond in English (even if you are familiar with the language) you're certainly not going to write a complaint from an Anglo/Allo. I'd just like to see people be courteous and do the best they can without being forced to only speak French. Discourtesy is never going to win you friends or tourists.
  9. Jack posted on 06/04/2014 07:29 PM
    If you live in Quebec and can't speak french you have a problem and shouldn't be complaining about anything.
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