In the Province of Québec Foreign-Language Outdoor Signage to Have "Sufficient Presence" of French

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By Scott Miller, November 22nd, 2016

The Government of Québec has now published the final version of the new Regulation respecting the language of commerce and business. Effective November 24, 2016, all new foreign-language outdoor signage must be accompanied by a “sufficient presence” of French, even when that outdoor signage contains a foreign-language trademark, which were previously exempt from the Québec language laws.

The new French component must be added alongside and in the same visual field as the foreign-language trademark and can take three different forms:

  1. a generic term or a description of the products or services concerned;
  2. a slogan; or
  3. any other term or indication, favouring the display of information pertaining to the products or services to the benefit of consumers or persons frequenting the site.

The requirement only relates to outdoor signage, and not indoor signage, movable products (e.g. automobiles), websites, etc. Businesses have a three-year grace period, to November 24, 2019, to bring existing signs into conformity with the regulations. A French guide entitled Affichage des marques de commerce published by the Office québecoise de la langue française provides examples and can be found here:

For more information please contact:

Scott Miller, Partner, Head of the Litigation Department

T: 613.801.1099

E: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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