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.