Game store owner hounded by language inspectors
Published Friday, February 13, 2015 12:20PM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 13, 2015 3:09PM EST
A Montreal game store owner says he is so frustrated with Quebec’s language laws that he will leave the province if he gets a fine for selling English-only board games.
Giancarlo Caltabiano, owner of Chez Geeks, sells toys, board games and collectibles and has received three warnings from the Office Quebecoise de la Langue Française in the past three years. Most of his board game stock comes from the United States.
“I will close up shop,” says Caltabiano. “I would rather not give them a dime than stay here and live by their silly rules. To me, they're silly.”
His most recent warning from the OQLF targeted an English-only ad for a new board game release.
The OQLF told him that if he doesn't have a French version of the game, he cannot sell the English one.
Caltabiano believes this rule to be ridiculous and says it will hurt his business.
“I can’t have the description of every board game,” says Caltabiano. “About 10 new board games come out every week.”
OQLF spokesperson Jean-Pierre Le Blanc told CTV News the rules are clear:
“A French version has to be available to be able to sell the product,” said Leblanc, “unless it's a product like an educational product.”
“It’s very black and white, it's either their way or no way,” says an exasperated Caltabiano. “The board game is only in English. There is no French equivalent so I can't put one up.”
Caltabiano was also told to translate his website, something he say he cannot afford to do.
“I think it's quite absurd. English is an international language.”
Caltabiano says if the OQLF hits him with a fine, he’ll have to decide whether he can do business in Quebec.