For several years, many reforms have affected condominiums in Quebec. For its part, Bill 96 on the francization rules in Quebec was passed in May 2022. Its application by the federal parliament, which imposes the use of French as a predominant language and expands the francization process, has implications for various Quebec sectors.

The entry into force of Bill 96 in Quebec has a significant impact on condominiums in particular. Discover this law and its main effects on condominiums below.

What is Bill 96 in Quebec?

After Bill 16 and Bill 141, which were passed in 2020, the introduction of Bill 96 in Quebec strengthens the use of the French language. This regulation aims to make it the common language of the region.

Bill 96 aims to impose French, the official and common language of Quebec

The decline in the use of French led the National Assembly of Quebec to pass Bill 96 in May 2022. This language law, which amends the Charter of the French Language, imposes the use of French in service and communication with customers, residents, and workers in Quebec.

A law that affects many sectors in Quebec

The passage of Bill 96 in the Civil Code impact business entities in Quebec, primarily:

  • Administration and communications with the State
  • Educational institutions at all levels, including college education
  • The professional, business, and commercial sector (including signage and consumer contracts), as well as the real estate sector
  • Quebec industries and businesses that fall under federal jurisdiction (transportation, banks, airports, etc.)
  • The workplace (also concerns commercial advertising, bilingualism requirements in job offers, etc.), which must have a francization committee

In Quebec, since June 1, 2022, it is mandatory to use a French version of documents, for example:

  • In contracts of adhesion, signage, and customer service;
  • In job advertisements and communications with staff.

On September 1, 2022, in terms of civil law, the obligation to accompany any procedural act from the judicial and administrative courts drafted in English with a certified French translation entered into force.

The same will apply to judgments from courts of law issued in writing in an English version as of June 1, 2024. It is therefore no longer possible to require knowledge of a language other than French.

What are the impacts of Bill 96 on condominiums in Quebec?

The establishment of a francization program is also a regulation that has an impact on condominium management.

The sale documents for properties in condominiums

The application of Bill 96 by the Quebec legislature also changes the game with respect to the sale of fractions of residential buildings that are already built or under construction. Unless otherwise and expressly agreed by the parties, the preliminary contract and information note must be drawn up in French, not English.

The syndicate must use French in the condominium documents

Along with building maintenance management, the condo syndicate management mission involves producing, preserving, and updating the documents relating to the condominium.

With the introduction of Bill 96 in Quebec, it is now mandatory to draft the condominium documents in accordance with the rules respecting francization. The documents must be drawn up in French, particularly:

  • The documents that make up the condominium register and, more generally, all documents made available to co-owners. Any document that the syndicate draws up addressed to a co-owner;
  • The declaration of co-ownership and the description of the fractions, as well as any amendments made thereto.

For example, in Quebec, a condominium syndicate is required to draw up notices of general meetings of co-owners and minutes in French. Non-French versions won’t be accepted anymore.

What happens in the event of a violation of the provisions of Bill 96 in Quebec?

Violators of Bill 96 are subject to severe penalties by the Office Québécois de la Langue Française (OQLF):

  • Criminal penalties ranging from $700 to $7,000 for natural persons and from $3,000 to $30,000 for a legal person. This amount will be doubled for the first reoffence and tripled for subsequent offences;
  • Civil penalties: any clause drafted in a language other than French will be deemed incomprehensible.