1. What is the OQLA?
OQLA is a not for profit organization made up of volunteers who are concerned about the slow and methodical disappearance of the English language in Quebec. See our mission for more information about us.
2. Why is the OQLA’s mission so important?
Despite a francophone-speaking majority in Quebec, the first language of nearly 20% of the Greater Montreal area is that of English. However, due to an increased rate of migration and more stringent French-language laws, the percentage of English-speaking Quebecers has been declining for many years.
While the OQLA recognizes the importance of the French language to the culture and identity of the French-speaking community of Quebec, most Anglophones feel a similar passion towards preserving the English language. The only difference is that in Quebec the English language and English identity are seriously threatened.
Unless we fight to preserve and promote the few rights we have left, English in Quebec will gradually disappear.
3. What are the objectives of the OQLA?
The OQLA’s objective is to draw attention to the issues facing the English language in Quebec and to make a difference by fighting for our rights.
One of our goals is to increase awareness of the current situation facing the English speaking community both inside and out of Montreal and to encourage individuals to get involved and join our cause.
The OQLA targets Multinational and National corporations in Montreal who refuse or neglect to display any English. These corporations, who have locations where a good portion of their clientele is English, are allowed by law to display English advertising and signage, but have chosen not to. Once these establishments have been identified, the OQLA then contacts them to voice our concern and to rectify the situation.
Common issues that we face involve French-only menus, advertisings, signs and most importantly, safety and precautionary labels.
English-speaking customers should not be taken for granted and deserve the respect of at least seeing the limited English that is tolerated by law.
4. What is the legal status regarding English signage in commercial establishments?
According to S.58 of the Quebec Charter of the French Language, public signs and posters may be in both French and English provided that French is ‘markedly predominant’.
Where English and French text is used on the same sign or poster, the space allotted to English and the English characters used must be half as large.
Where French and English appear on separate signs or posters of the same size, the sign and posters bearing the text in English must be at most half as numerous as those bearing the text in French.
For more laws regarding the rights (or restrictions) of the use of English in commercial establishments, please refer to the Language Laws section of our website.
5. How can I help?
In order to accomplish our goals, the OQLA needs more volunteers across the province and nationwide to participate in raising awareness for our cause. The following are some things that you can do to get started:
- Sign the petition against corporations who neglect proper signage and service.
- Sign up and become a member of our website. It's free and easy.
- Take pictures or report any lack of English service/signage in areas of Quebec with a significant English population.
- Share your experiences and opinions by commenting on our blog posts and posting in our discussion boards.
- Raise awareness by telling others about our website, www.oqla.org
- Support our cause by contributing a donation to our organization.
- Help our organization by volunteering.
6. Can I follow the OQLA on Facebook or Twitter?
Yes! The OQLA has both Facebook and Twitter pages. Please click on the links below and follow us.