Sign language: pictograms to replace French-only signs by end of year
Published Wednesday, September 12, 2018 12:45PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 12, 2018 9:40PM EDT
Driving on Quebec’s highways has often led drivers, both local and tourist, to look to the heavens for a sign. Now, their prayers have been answered.
The province’s French-only road signs will be replaced by pictograms in a bid to make driving easier for motorists who don’t understand the language. Placing English text on the signs would have violated Quebec’s language laws, leaving no other option than removing French.
The decision followed the presentation of a petition with 7,000 signatures calling for the change. Liberal MNA David Birnbaum said the decision was made with safety in mind, but noted that advances in sign technology have made the switch trickier for some road signs.
“There are those electronic message boards. The technology didn’t always lend itself to taking pictograms, so there are words there. We have bought new technology so those message boards can now use pictograms, which are safer and clearer,” he said. “On those message boards, when we have a good pictogram, we’ll remove the unilingual French wording, because it just confuses.”
The pictograms are expected to be erected throughout the province by the end of 2018.