Quebec has released a long-awaited draft regulation providing clarification on certain issues related to its Charter of the French Language.

We’ve been keeping a close eye on these developments at TRSB as Canada’s leading provider of French translation services. Our blog article What does Bill 96 mean for your business? offers a convenient summary of the original legislative changes. We’ve also prepared this additional summary of the regulation and the implementation issues it addresses.

Defining what a product is

One of the biggest questions has been what the legislation means by “product.” Inscriptions on “products” sold in Quebec have to be in French.

The draft regulation makes it clear that “product” includes a product’s “container, wrapping, and accompanying documents.” It also explicitly states that websites and social media platforms are documents. This could entail extra translation requirements for some businesses.

Deadlines announced

The requirement for inscriptions to be in French won’t come into effect until June 1, 2027, for products manufactured before June 1, 2025. This leaves two years for existing items to make their way through inventories. All products manufactured after June 1, 2025, must be immediately compliant. This leaves a bit more than a year for items in the pipeline.

Non-French trademarks

New restrictions on non-French trademarks have also been raising questions. The regulation sets out what explanatory text must be added, including French versions of any slogans that are a part of the trademark or any generic descriptions of the product or its features.

Registered trademarks are exempt from compliance, including those currently pending Canadian trademark status. This is good news for those about to launch new products because it avoids the risk of delays.

Storefront signage rules clarified

The new provisions announced last year state that French must be “markedly predominant” on store signs. This year’s regulation defines what that means, specifying that the French text must twice as big as the English text and equally visible—a little bit bigger doesn’t count. It also states that this applies to both indoor and outdoor signs.

Navigating the rules

We suggest you seek legal advice on unclear issues, as the regulation is quite detailed and contains certain exemptions. And if you see a need for added translation, we can sit down with you and help plan the entire process: documents to prioritize, work flow, budget management, deadlines, editing and approval steps, terminology capture, and more. As Canada’s number one provider of French translation services, TRSB has been advising Canadian businesses on language management for nearly 40 years. Let’s talk