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All Quebec’s Bilingual Towns Resolve to Keep Right to Operate in English and French

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All Quebec municipalities that were at risk of losing their bilingual status under a provincial language law have opted to maintain their right to serve people in both English and French.

The province’s language office—Office québécois de la langue française—has confirmed that the 48 cities, towns or boroughs that were notified their status could be revoked have taken the necessary action to remain bilingual.

Under Quebec’s new language law, municipalities in which fewer than 50 percent of citizens have English as a mother tongue could lose the right to communicate with residents in English.

However, Bill 96 allows bilingual cities to avoid having their statuses revoked by passing a resolution affirming their desire to stay bilingual, within 120 days of receiving notice from the province.

More than half of the province’s 89 bilingual municipalities received those notices in December because their English-language populations ranged between 7.2 percent to just under 50 percent.

The office of French Language Minister Jean-François Roberge says the law strikes a balance between promoting French and protecting minority rights, adding that mayors will have to justify their choices to voters.

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