Businesses, take note! Québec’s new French signage laws to come into force on Nov. 24, 2016

04 November 2016

The Québec government announced yesterday, Nov. 3, that the legislative amendments to the Regulation respecting the language of commerce and business (the “Regulations”), which are aimed at ensuring the visibility of the French language throughout the province, will come into effect on Nov. 24, 2016.  

As a result, all new outdoor signage installed after Nov. 24, 2016, will need to comply with the new rules. Existing businesses and franchises will have a three-year grace period to comply. By Nov. 24, 2019, all outdoor signage in Québec must comply with the new signage laws.

As previously reported, the Regulations will affect all companies with an establishment in Québec who display a non-French trademark in the absence of a French generic term, slogan or description outside their premises, including:

  • Rooftop signs
  • Storefront signage
  • Signage located inside a building, mall or shopping center, whether underground or above-ground
  • Signs or posters inside a building intended to be seen from the outside
  • Signs appearing on a terminal or other independent structure (with certain exceptions)

Retailers, hotels, restaurants, bars, financial institutions, boutiques, shopping malls, professional firms, health clubs and all other buildings carrying on a commercial activity appear to be subject to the new Regulations.

In order to assist companies in navigating these new rules, the Office Québécois de la langue française has published a French guide, titled “Affichage des marques de commerce.”

Should you have any questions on how these changes affect your business, feel free to contact the authors, Melissa Tehrani and Giovanna Spataro, or any member of the Gowling WLG Advertising & Product Regulatory Group.


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