Concerns, criticism and challenges to Quebec's Bill 96 rise

·3-min read
Anglophone opponents of Quebec's French-language law Bill 96 protest in downtown Montreal, Quebec, Canada May 26, 2022. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi (Christinne Muschi / reuters)

Now with Bill 96 receiving royal assent last week, questions continue to be raised about the legislation to protect French language Quebec.

The new law enhances the use of French in a number of public services and businesses in the province, and includes a cap on enrolment at English-language CEGEPS, requiring students who do attend to take additional French classes.

Critics have also raised questions about the increasing powers of Quebec's language office in court and healthcare settings, in additional to workplaces suspected of not operating in French. Refugees and immigrants will also have to learn French within six months of their arrival, when they will not be able to access public government services in another language, unless they fall under an additional exemption.

Last week, Quebec Premier Francois Legault stated that the use of French at home in province is declining.

"We are proud to be a francophone nation in North America and it's our duty to protect our common language," Quebec Premier Francois Legault said to reporters.

"What I'm trying to do is to make sure that we keep French as the common language in Quebec."

Much of the criticism of Bill 96 has come from anglophones and Indigenous Canadians. The English Montreal School Board has also filed a legal challenge against Bill 96.

"The restrictions in Bill 96 on access to English-language colleges in Quebec and the new requirements for additional French language courses at CEGEP hinder the ability of Cree students (for whom French is their third language) to undertake and complete with success their college-level education in Quebec," a press release from the Cree School Board on June 2 reads.

"Not only will this affect the career plans of our youth, but it will also impact our goals of capacity development as a nation. We are intent on protecting the rights and interests of Cree students and their ability to access the education they need to build a brighter future for themselves and for the entire Cree Nation," a statement from Dr. Sarah Pash, Chairperson of the Cree School Board reads.

People have also taken to social media to response to Bill 96.

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