If you’re thinking of setting up shop in la belle province, there are a few things you should know about language laws, politics and your business. Here are the ABCs of Bill 101, otherwise known as the Charter of the French Language.

  1. The language of the workplace is French. Employee contracts, training manuals, signage and internal memos all need to be in French. They can, however, have English equivalents.
  2. Products sold in Quebec must have French packaging and instructions.
  3. Your advertising materials should reflect both the language laws and the political culture. The word “Canada” for example, might not get people’s attention for the right reasons in Quebec. Best to avoid it or use it sparingly.
  4. You need to communicate with your customers in French, both online and off. This means your Website needs to have both a French and an English version. If you own a bricks-and-mortar store, you also have to make sure your staff can speak French with clients.
  5. Your business has to have a French name – but it can have an English one as well. French signing just needs to be predominant.

Given the cultural sensitivities of doing business in Quebec, it might be wise to have your content translated by professionals. Quebec-based translation firms are accustomed to navigating these issues and will produce nuanced material that will contribute to the success of your business.

On a final note, remember that Bill 101 pertains only to the public sphere. Citizens are free to speak any language of their choosing when conducting their private affairs.