Public hearings in Quebec City on Bill 96 have wrapped up.
Thirty-nine presentations were made over a nine-day period starting Sept. 23.
Many people support the proposed legislation that will upgrade Quebec’s language law, Bill 101, but some Anglophone groups have major concerns fearing the bill will weaken English services in health care, the judiciary system and that it will erode access to English-speaking CEGEPS for many Francophones.
“We would like the bill to be withdrawn,” Eva Ludvig, an executive committee member of the Quebec Community Groups Network, told Global News.
The bill is a 100-page document containing 200 amendments. Among them are declaring French as the official language of Quebec and recognizing the Quebec nation as part of its identity.
“So many different items in there that affect the English-speaking Quebecers and their rights to access … services,” Ludvig said.
The business community also has reservations, concerned that the bill could put constraints on employers hiring new workers.
It’s unclear if the employer or a civil servant will have the power to dictate whether a company is justified in hiring a bilingual employee for a position if no language other than French is required to do the job.
“Businesses at this moment are concerned. They’re a bit scared of what it would imply,” Michel Leblanc, CEO of the Montreal Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, told Global News.
Many defenders of English rights just hope the bill will be significantly modified before it becomes law.