Retailers with Operations in Quebec - Changes in the regulations on the presence of French on outdoor signs Print - Retail Council of Canada

Retailers with Operations in Quebec – Changes in the regulations on the presence of French on outdoor signs Print

On Wednesday, November 9, 2016, the Government of Quebec published regulations defining signage requirements under the Charter of the French language in the Gazette officielle. The text, available here (, modifies the Charter of the French language by introducing the following elements:

  • When a trademark is displayed outside a building solely in a language other than French, it will be mandatory to add, in French, a generic term or description, slogan or mention about the products or services intended for consumers.
  • This will not include the posting of business hours, telephone numbers and addresses; numbers and percentages; and terms that are not legible from less than one metre away unless the trademark is not either.
  • The addition must always be visible, legible in the same field of vision and lit at all times if the trademark is lit.
  • To be deemed legible, it must be possible to read the French term or message from the sidewalk along the facade with the trademark, from the middle of the corridor or area facing the place of business when the trademark is displayed outside a business located in a building or shopping centre, and from the highway when the trademark is visible from the highway.
  • This requirement will apply to every building wall where the trademarks are visible, including interior walls in buildings and shopping centres as well as any signs posted inside a building or space that are intended to be seen from the exterior.
  • Signs on an independent structure, including totem-type structures, are only affected if there are no other exterior signs with the same trademark. Signs on totem-type structures are also excluded if more than two trademarks are displayed.
  • If terms or messages in a language other than French also appear with the trademark, those in French must be predominant, that is, they must occupy a space at least twice as large and be written in characters at least twice as large as those used for the text in the other language.

The amended regulation will come into effect on November 24, 2016. RCC has asked for an extension to the implementation deadline, and the regulation confirms businesses will have up to three years to comply.

During consultations on the proposed regulation as well as the numerous meetings with policy makers and government decision-makers, RCC has voiced its members’ concerns about the need for the regulation to take precedence over municipal regulations on matters such as urban planning. As a result, the minister’s office and OQLF have confirmed to us that they have contacted municipalities to inform them of the requirements of the new regulation and ask them to adapt municipal regulations accordingly.

RCC will continue to communicate with the Minister of Culture and Communications and the Office québécois de la langue française. RCC will advise of any difficulty our members experience in the regulation.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact: Jean-Luc Benoît, Director, Government Relations at: or 514-316-8913