TORONTO – Bill 14 is an amendment to Quebec’s language laws that would enforce the use of French in everyday life, by enacting stricter provisions on French language use and education. Starting Tuesday, 82 groups will voice their concerns regarding the bill.
Why is it significant?
The preservation of the French language and culture is a hot-button issue in Quebec. This has resulted in controversial actions in la belle province, including a failed attempt to remove the Canadian flag from the Quebec legislature and the censoring of menus in some of Montreal’s Italian restaurants.
What is the controversy surrounding Bill 14?
For many people, the main points of contention are as follows:
– Ensuring small businesses with between 26 to 49 employees must make French the main language used at work. These businesses must undergo a francization program so employees can converse in French during meetings, internal communications and when using computer applications, software or other tools.
– Removing the bilingual status of municipalities where the Anglophone population has dropped below 50 per cent.
-Amending a previous bill that exempts military families from having to send their children to a French-speaking school. The exemption was allowed due to the high chance of relocation to a non-French speaking country that could seriously impact a child’s early childhood education.
When will it be decided?
Presentations by interest groups, including those from suburban towns, unions and township associations begin Tuesday, and are expected to conclude in April.