Return of Quebec’s Linguistic Roadblocks

Return of Quebec’s Linguistic Roadblocks

A resurgence of Quebec’s minority government, the Parti Québéco, has resurrected French only language restrictions to a level which has not been seen since the 1980s.  Approval organizations are advising their customers to review the wordings in their labels to comply with Canadian laws and regulations and to seek advice from Canadian legal counsel as to what language(s) is/are required for a specific product.  So far there are no reported instances of manufacturers being fined by Quebec provincial authorities for not having product label in French, suggesting that enforcement remains with retailers and approval organizations recognized by Standards Council of Canada (SCC) and the Régie du bâtiment du Québec (RBQ).  While Quebec’s language restrictions may be the most onerous in the world, it is not alone.  Several EU Directives require "Information for Use" translated into the official country language, which includes, Markings, DoC's, Warnings in the Manuals, etc.  


The reason for greater interest by approval organizations dates to an October 28, 2013 bulleting issued by SCC, Bulletin No. 2013-16. It is a reminder of the dual language safety labeling on certified product for Canada. SCC accredited certification bodies participating in its Certification Body Accreditation Program are required to comply with requirements in CAN-P-1500M, clause 4.8.3 and CAN-P-1500:2013, clause 4.9.3. The requirement can also be found in the Canadian Electrical Code Part II standards, specifically C22.2 No. 0-10, Section 6.3, clauses 6.3.1 and 6.3.3.  Clause 6.3.1 requires caution and warning markings to be in English and French with the exception permitted in clause 6.3.3 which allows products intended for use outside of Canada  to be in other languages than English or French.

3 thoughts on “Return of Quebec’s Linguistic Roadblocks

  1. Is this requirement in effect for owners manuals and installation instructions as well, or does it apply specifically to labels, safety warnings, cautions, and the like?

    1. Hi Jerry. Great question. It applies to the latter. The issue is that Quebec is that it fails to provide relief for markings that were intended for other markets.

      1. For clarification to the previous response, translations are only required for safety related sections of manuals, and safety related labels. Is that correct? The products of concern are intended for professional use and not for general consumer use. They are not available in a store, but are available on a website. They are intended for research facilities and/or industrial processes.

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