In a press release yesterday, the Québec Government announced that the proposed amendments to the Regulations under the Charter of the French Language will come into force on November 24, 2016.

The amendments will force businesses operating in Québec to add French words to their non-French trademarks on outdoor signage, such as a description of the business’ products/services or a slogan. The amendments were published for consultation in May 2016 (see news alert here). The Québec Minister of Culture and Communications explained that it will be the first time that amendments will be made to the Regulations in respect of trademarks on signage since 1977 when the Charter of the French of the Language came into force. He further stated that the French language will be even more visible across Québec in view of these amendments.

Once in force, the new Regulations will immediately apply to all new signage. For existing signage, businesses will have 3 years, until November 24, 2019, to comply. The Office québecois de la langue française (OQLF) has been given the mandate to assist businesses in complying with the new regulations. Two illustrative guides have been prepared and will be distributed to all business in Quebec, one relates to trademarks on signage and the other on general linguistic obligations of businesses. These guides are available in French only on the OQLF’s website.