Seniors' residence forced into French-only signage
Published Tuesday, May 22, 2012 8:15AM EDT
POINTE-CLAIRE- English-speaking residents at a West Island seniors' home are angry and frustrated after a crackdown by the language police meant they could no longer post bilingual signs on a bulletin board.
The Maywood residence in Pointe-Claire became completely French nine months ago.
"You missed out on activities. You missed out on some information," said tenant Eileen Yeates, who has lived at the residence for six years.
Yeates said she feels that since she pays the same rate as her French-speaking friends in the building, she should receive the same treatment.
The office quebecois de la langue francaise disagrees. In the province, all official documents posted by administration of a residence must be in French only – unlike in stores, where English is permitted, so long at it is half the size of French text.
"The civil administration must publish, do the public signage, in French only. That's in the Charter of the French language," said Martin Bergeron of the OQLF.
The language office said a civil administration building must be a leader in the promotion of the French language.
Though all notices must be posted in French, Yeates explained that there is a work-around, but she's not pleased with it.
"The notices could be made in English, but given upon request," she said. "To me, that is kind of almost like being treated like a child that we have to go and beg for things."
The menu is bilingual, but is only written out just before lunch.
"You can't even plan ahead, you know, if you decide you want to go at a certain day, because maybe you don't happen to like that particular menu for that day."
Tenants are allowed to have their own bulletin boards for committees, said Bergeron.
"Something to sell, that could be done in English, because it's personal, but if it's a message from the residence, it must be done in French only," he said.
The residence, however, has come up with a solution.
It said it would help tenants produce documents in both French and English that could then be posted on the personal billboards.
"We'll support them and we'll make sure that it's on their billboard," said Debbie Di Chiaro from Les residences enharmonie, which owns the Maywood. "And then it could be bilingual."