Calling 311? Bill 96 now requires Montrealers to 'attest' they can get English services
Residents who wish to speak with the City of Montreal by calling 311 now have to attest they can receive services in English because of Bill 96.
New provisions of the language law came into effect Thursday. Among them are requirements for the civil administration to use French in an "exemplary manner."
Changes to the city's 311 phone service now require callers to attest "in good faith" that they are eligible to receive English-language services.
Callers are eligible if they are covered by at least one of five exceptions.
Here is a transcript of the new greeting message on 311.
"In accordance with the Charter of the French Language we will be pleased to provide service in English if you attest in good faith that you are covered by one of the following exceptions:
- if you are a person declared eligible to receive English Education;
- if you’re an Indigenous person;
- if you are a recently arrived immigrant residing in Quebec for less than six months;
- if you are calling from outside Quebec;
- or if you corresponded solely in English with the City of Montreal prior to May 13, 2021."
The automated message then instructs the caller to "please press 2" if they attest in good faith or to press 1 for French.
WARNINGS TO ANGLOPHONES ON SAQ, QUEBEC 511 WEBSITES
The English version of the City of Montreal's website said it is only meant for people who qualify to look at it.
"This content is intended for the public covered by the exceptions under Bill 96," reads a new notice on the city's homepage.
An online explanation goes on to say, "In some situations, the city can communicate with residents in English, in addition to French, whether the person belongs to one of the exception groups or not. This applies to all situations that involve health or public safety."
Quebec 511, the online portal showing warnings and road conditions for motorists, also has a new disclaimer on its website.
"This content is intended for the public covered by the exceptions of the Charter of the French language and its regulations. If you read on, you confirm that you fall within one of these exceptions," reads a notice on the website.
Buying booze? The Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) also has a notice to English users on its website.
"This content is intended for the public covered by the exceptions of the Charter of the French language and its regulations," it said on Thursday.
Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante was pressed about how she felt about the law in a Thursday news conference.
"I think I've demonstrated over the years how preoccupied I am with making sure Montreal is a metropolis, a welcoming city," she said.
"We're following the law as they have put it."