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Published in French: “The mockery in Quebec” is enough!  Toronto launches marketing expert

Published in French: “The mockery in Quebec” is enough! Toronto launches marketing expert

the Quebec irony It should stop, according to the president of a Toronto marketing firm, who was shocked by a CBC report suggesting that regulations on French signs are ridiculous. “not fair Quebec ironyThis is correct Quebec bashing“, in protest against the French determinism movement.

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” That's the message Eric Bliss, president of Headspace Marketing in Toronto, tries to get across every day to “decision makers in English Canada who do business in Quebec.”

In fact, many of them are worried that all companies will have to ensure there are twice as many French on their signage as any other language, by June 2025, under a proposed regulation introduced at the beginning of the year.

“It's certainly restrictive, like any new regulation,” admits the marketer. “But it's also a great business opportunity.”


Quebec bashing

However, Mr. Bliss notes, it's a little harder to get that message across these days, because of the atmosphere Quebec irony Which “maintains confusion and uncertainty” about the requirements that traders will soon have to adhere to.

He cites a marketing specialist as an example CBC report Which shows, among other things, what some companies (Canadian Tire, Subway, Costco, Dollarama) would look like if they strictly applied the models provided as examples in the charts produced by the government.

Over a little jazz tune, we then see huge French words appear (shop, restaurant, warehouse) over the sign of certain companies, all with a sound effect that gives the whole thing a rather funny look.

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“There is a little bit of a tone that suggests that this is ridiculous, and that doesn't really help,” breathes Eric Bliss, while specifying that he “defends neither the law nor the government,” which, according to him, should provide clearer business guidelines. .

This was exactly the point of the report, which CBC defended in a written statement. “The purpose of our story was to demonstrate the apparent confusion around the law and lack of clarity regarding this issue,” a company spokesperson said in an English-language email.

The head of the French determinism movement, Jean-Paul Perrault, sees this report differently. “It's Francophobia, it's extremism […] ! “, he fumed in an interview.


Without going that far, Mr. Blaise emphasizes that the misconception that the word “store” should be written everywhere is beginning to gain popularity among businessmen. “Everyone is holding on to that […]. “But this interpretation is a bit short-sighted,” says the Toronto company's president, recalling that the general presence of the French in permanent and visible displays should prevail.

“In fact, it is an opportunity for retailers to enhance their brand value and differentiate themselves from the competition, for example by adding a logo,” he explains.

“We spend fortunes on advertising to show what we have to offer, yet we already have walls that can be used to do it!”

“It may require amendments to municipal or shopping center regulations, but it remains a more realistic path to comply with the legislation.”

“Eventually, there will be entrepreneurs who will see the business opportunity and willingly comply with it. Others will do so by backing out, and then others will not and will be fined,” the marketer concludes tritely.

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Presentation in French: Quebec says: “Opponents spread lies.”

It is not the government's fault if there is confusion over the rules for signs in French, as defended by the office of Minister Jean-François Roberge, who believes some of his opponents are showing weakness in faith.

“Yes,” answered a spokesman for the French Language Minister’s Office when asked whether, in his opinion, there was misinformation circulating about the draft regulation of commercial signs in the French language.

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“Unfortunately, this is often the case when it comes to Quebec defending its privacy and its French face,” he added.

But doesn't the government bear its share of responsibility for the confusion surrounding the rules it wants to establish? “We can always do better,” Mr. Roberge’s government agreed, before heaping more scorn on his opponents.

“But this requires good faith, and unfortunately, it seems that some opponents prefer to spread lies and sow fear rather than participate concretely in the debate,” he added, without giving a specific example.

The government is clear

Even if a marketing expert who supports English-Canadian companies in their operations in Quebec maintains that the government's charts are not entirely adequate for understanding the nuances of the proposed regulation, Quebec says it has “provided clear examples in order to inform Quebecers of future requirements.”

“The Quebec French Language Office has also met with dozens of companies since the draft regulation was published to explain to them the government's intentions,” Mr. Roberge's office added.

Quebec finally states that the final regulation “has not yet been enacted,” and that the comments received are currently under evaluation.

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We therefore asked the government to comment on a situation that is often discussed in public. Will the Canadian tire company really have to write the word “WAREHOUSE” in big letters on all its branches?

“It is OQLF that will conduct compliance analysis of the Code and our Code in specific cases,” the company noted for the first time.

However, the presence of generic French descriptions and terms such as “automotive center” or “horticulture center” could ensure that Canadian Tire would not have to modify its presentation, as was then determined.


“I can't speak for all retailers' signs, but from the examples I've seen, they seem consistent with the government's intent.”

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