In Québec, on parle Français


Victoria Carrington

“Does this have to be translated into French?” Most Canadian trademark practitioners who advise foreign brand owners on business in Canada have heard this question.

It often surfaces—sometimes as an afterthought— when the client sends sample labelling or signage, seeking confirmation that the trademark is being properly used.

A recent campaign by the government of Québec regarding the mandatory use of French language descriptions or slogans by Québec businesses on their signs provides further impetus to considering the question.

In the province of Québec the Charter of the French Language provides, in sections 51, 52 and 58, that French will be the language of commerce and business in Québec. This includes all public signs, posters and commercial advertising, as well as inscriptions, on a product, on its containers or packaging, catalogues, brochures, leaflets, etc. Languages other than French may also be used, but French must be markedly predominant or of equal prominence.

Canada, French, translation, trademark