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French wording must make up two-thirds of commercial signage in 2025, Quebec says


Quebec has released details of its new French-language law for outdoor commercial signs.

French descriptors will need to be added where they are not already present, and the French words will need to occupy two-thirds of the overall visual space on signs versus one-third for the words that are in a language other than French.

Brand names can stay, but if they are in English or another language, they must be accompanied by French words that explain what the store sells.

"It will represent costs for business owners and not at the best time," said Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB) Quebec vice-president Francois Vincent. "When you look at the economic data in Quebec, we never saw such a low confidence in the past 15 years, except the 2020 COVID crisis, and now they're going to impose new paperwork and new costs for signage?"

The government estimates it will cost businesses between $7 million and $15 million to comply with the new regulation, which comes into force on June 1, 2025.

An illustration from the Government of Quebec showing the new requirements for storefront signage. (Source: Government of Quebec)

Vincent said that, no matter what the government says, the law will require more time and money for business owners and managers to comply with the law.

He said those wanting to update their trademark will have to wait, as well.

"There's a backlog and it's long to get the trademarks," said Vincent. "It can take time. Even CFIB is waiting for French trademarks right now, so we are worried that some businesses will have to do a follow up with that and not have the decision." 

Vincent said that businesses in Quebec should not be put at a disadvantage to those in other provinces.

"If they're able to put new rules, I'm sure they're able to look at how to reduce the paper burden and costs for businesses," he said. Top Stories

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