Temporary Suspension of the Obligation for Corporations to Provide French Translation of English Court Proceedings

In Mitchell c. Procureur général du Québec, 2022 QCCS 2983, Madam Justice Chantal Corriveau of the Superior Court has just suspended the coming into force of sections 9 and 208.6 of the Charter of the French Language as amended by An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec, better known as Bill 96.

These sections, which were to come into force on September 1st of this year, required that legal persons such as corporations who file written pleadings in English attach a French translation certified by a certified translator. Failure to do so would result in the filing being refused.

Several lawyers, supported by the intervention of the Bar of Quebec, contested the constitutionality of these sections. The plaintiffs alleged that these provisions violate section 133 of the Constitutional Act of 1867 which specifies that either French or English “may be used by any Person or in any Pleading or Process in or issuing from any Court of Canada established under this Act, and in or from all or any of the Courts of Quebec”.

The August 12th judgment suspends the coming into force of the translation requirements while the case proceeds before the Superior Court, notwithstanding an appeal. As indicated in paragraph 82 of the judgment, the Superior Court is contemplating a final hearing as early as November of this year. It is thus possible that the matter will be heard on the merits before the end of the year and that judgment will be rendered this winter. It can be expected that the judgment will be appealed by one party or another. In such case it is probable that the suspension will remain in effect. In the meantime, it is not necessary for a legal person to provide a certified French translation of an English pleading.

While Madam Justice Corriveau is careful not to deal with the merits of the case, her judgment relies on a number of practical considerations such as the lack of qualified translators, the difficulty of meeting the requirements of the Charter in urgent cases, the substantial cost of certified translations and the fact that the majority of corporations registered in Quebec are small entities with ten or fewer employees.

In paragraph 49, the Court observes that in urgent cases, there is a serious risk that certain legal persons will not be able to invoke their rights in proper time or will be obliged to file proceedings in a language other than the language they and their lawyers master the best and which they identify as theirs.

Keep in mind that the sections of the Charter being challenged relate only to written court proceedings and do not apply to the language of testimony or oral pleadings.



Articles in the same category

The strict standard applicable to the exclusion clause for suicide

On February 3, 2023, in Bolduc v. SSQ Assurance, 2023 QCCS 266, the Superior Court once again reminded the insurance industry that strict compliance with the rules governing the drafting of exclusion clauses, particularly in the case of suicide, is essential to avoid unfortunate consequences for insurers. The facts in dispute On November 23, 2006, […]

Where do you keep your corrosive cleaner?

The Facts La Capitale was claiming reimbursement of more than $137,000 in compensation paid to its insureds following water damage that occurred in their home on February 2, 2017. La Capitale was thus suing the general contractor who built the residence in 2012, the distributor of the faucet whose flexible pipe failed, as well as […]

The Insured Left Its Imprint

Was there a sufficient insurable interest for this insured whose building housed a printing business owned by a different entity with the same shareholder? On January 12, 2023, the Honourable Dominique Poulin of the Superior Court of Quebec answered this question in a decision on the notion of insurable interest: 9208-9499 Québec inc. c. Royal […]

The boat disappears: the claim sinks!

Was it a theft or was it a fraud? This was the question the Quebec Court and the Court of Appeal had to answer in the matter of Christian Desmeules Beaumont v. Société d’assurance Beneva inc. (2023 QCCA 50 (2021 QCCQ 7298). An insured (“the insured”) claimed the amount of $38,303 from its insurer who […]

Animaux sauvages à déclaration obligatoire

Only available in French Que faire lorsque l’on retrouve un animal blessé ou mort sur la route? Avant d’entreprendre toute procédure d’enlèvement de la carcasse de l’animal concerné, la Loi sur la conservation et la mise en valeur de la faune (ci-après « la Loi ») (R.L.R.Q. Chap. C-61.1) impose à tous et toutes, dans certaines situations, […]

Crisis averted on the Canal!

With unpredictable weather at an all-time high, cities and municipalities are facing increased claims resulting from pedestrian falls. Even on sunny days, cities are not immune from potential risks, as was the case in a recent decision rendered by the Court of Quebec in Unlusoy v. Ville de Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue 2022 QCCQ 9681. As highlighted by […]

Be the first informed:

Subscribe to our communications