Governance

Quebec

Governance

Jean-Marc Fournier is the Minister responsible for Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs and the Canadian Francophonie for Quebec. Marie Montpetit is the Minister responsible for the Protection and Promotion of the French Language. She is also the Minister of Culture and Communications.

The Secrétariat du Québec aux relations canadiennes (SQRC) falls under the purview of the Minister responsible for Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs and the Canadian Francophonie. Its main role is to advise the government on Canadian intergovernmental relations. As such, it is responsible, through the Direction de la francophonie and the Bureaux du Québec across Canada, for coordinating relations with the Canadian Francophonie and to implement the Quebec Policy on the Canadian Francophonie and the programs that stem from it[1].

Created in 1988, the Secrétariat à la politique linguistique (in French only) supports and advises the Minister responsible for the Charter of the French Language in the implementation of Quebec’s language Policy (in French only). It assumes various functions, such as the coordination, consistency and promotion of the policy[2].

Under the Charter of the French Language, the mission of the Office québécois de la langue française (in French only) is to ensure compliance with the Charter, to monitor the evolution of Quebec’s language situation, to help develop the francization programs stipulated by the Charter and to make sure that “French is the normal and regular language of work, communications, business and affairs within the Administration and businesses.”[3]

Under the Charter of the French Language, two other organizations were also created: the Commission de toponymie, which is “responsible for managing the names of places in Quebec”[4] and the Conseil supérieur de la langue française (in French only), which “advises the Minister responsible for the Application of the Charter of the French Language on any issue pertaining to the French language in Quebec.”[5]

On October 11, 2017, Kathleen Weil, who was previously Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness, was appointed Minister responsible for Access to Information and the Reform of Democratic Institutions and Minister responsible for Relations with English-Speaking Quebecers.

On November 24, 2017, the Government of Quebec also launched the Secretariat for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers.[6] This new Secretariat has for mandate, among other things, to “ensure that the concerns of English-speaking Quebecers are taken into consideration in the development of government policy direction and decisions, and in matters of access to government programmes and their application in conjunction with the concerned ministries and agencies.”[7]  The Secretariat also ensures liaison with stakeholders from the English-speaking community and with the federal government. It advises the Government of Quebec on issues which could have an impact on the English-speaking community.[8]


[1] Government of Quebec, Secrétariat du Québec aux relations canadiennes, Mandate of the Secrétariat. Page consulted online on November 2, 2016.

[2] Government of Quebec, Secrétariat à la politique linguistique, Mission et mandats. Page consulted online on November 2, 2016.

[3] Government of Quebec, Office québécois de la langue française, Mission et rôle de l'organisme. Page consulted online on November 2, 2016.

[4] Government of Quebec, Commission de toponymie, Statement of services to the public. Page consulted online on November 2, 2016.

[5] Government of Quebec, Conseil supérieur de la langue française, Mission. Page consulted online on November 2, 2016.

[6] Government of Quebec, news release The Secretariat for relations with English-speaking Quebecers is officially launched. Page consulted online on January 14, 2018.

[7] Government of Quebec, Ministère du Conseil exécutif, Secretariat for relations with English-speaking Quebecers. Page consulted online on January 14, 2018.

[8] Ibid.

 
Overview of the Laws, Policies and Regulations

The Charter of the French Language, or Bill 101, was adopted by the National Assembly of Quebec in 1977 and amended in 2002 [1]. The Charter establishes French as the official language of Quebec and the normal language of use in the public sphere. It stipulates that “Every person has a right to have the civil administration, the health services and social services, the public utility enterprises, the professional orders, the associations of employees and all enterprises doing business in Québec communicate with him in French.”[2]

Generally speaking, French is the main language, or the one that must take precedence, in the workplace and in communications, including public signage.

The province’s laws and bills are published in English and French. The use of English is permitted before the courts in Quebec. The use of English and French in the Houses of the Legislature of Quebec and before the courts and the printing and publication of statutes in both official languages are also governed by Section 133 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

Certain recognized organizations, such as municipalities in which half the residents are English-speakers or health and social services establishments serving a population where the majority speak a language other than French, can use French and another language for signage, internal communications and communications between them. “The decision to offer services or not in English or another language rests with the organizations in question and does not require recognition on the part of the Office de la langue française […]” (non-official translation) [3].

French is the language of education at the elementary and secondary levels. Children can receive education in English under certain conditions – for example, if the mother or father is a Canadian citizen and was educated at the elementary or secondary level in English in Canada.

The Act Respecting Health Services and Social Services stipulates that Anglophones have the right to receive health and social services in English if the resources of the establishment permit it.

The Quebec Policy on the Canadian Francophonie was launched in 2006. This policy, stemming from Quebec’s desire to participate fully in the Canadian Francophonie, presents a vision that is based on two principles: 1) The importance of strengthening ties between Francophones; and 2) The importance for Quebec to play a leadership role in terms of the Francophonie. Through this policy, the Government of Quebec is seeking notably to consolidate existing collaborations and develop new ones in important sectors to ensure the future of French in Canada. The Policy comes with an action plan that is reviewed annually[4]. The most recent action plan (in French only), covering 5 years, was developed in 2012.

It was also through this policy that in 2006 the government indicated it wanted to create the Centre de la francophonie des Amériques (in French only).


[1] Government of Quebec, Office québécois de la langue française, Mission et rôle de l'organisme. Page consulted online on November 2, 2016.

[2] Government of Quebec, Charter of the French Language. Page consulted online on November 2, 2016.

[3] Government of Quebec, Politique linguistique du Québec, Foire aux questions - Les services en anglais et les droits des anglophones.(available in French only). Page consulted online on November 2, 2016.

[4] Government of Quebec, Secrétariat du Québec aux relations canadiennes, Summary of the Québec Policy on the Canadian Francophonie. Page consulted online on November 2, 2016.

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