More than 10,000 Canadians received a medically-assisted death in 2021: report
The Ontario government has given Maggie an ultimatum: the disabled teen can lose her funding or her independence
FBI took 11 sets of classified material from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home while investigating possible Espionage Act violations (US)
Ontario class action settlement reclassifies volunteers as employees, setting new precedent
Availability of Judicial Review in SABS Disputes
Are masking policies still valid?
Justice Canada releases commission report on impact of lack of legal aid in family law disputes
Harmonized sales tax part of maximum amount of attendant care benefits owed by insurer: court
New rules coming next month to help Canadians with cancelled and delayed flights
Stephen King set to testify for govt in books merger trial (US)
New law program in Quebec to begin next fall, a first in 50 years
The Impact of the Lack of Legal Aid in Family Law Cases
SCC rules that when someone is required by their partner to wear a condom but do not, they could be guilty of sexual assault.
Big Plastic suing feds over single-use ban — again
Tim Hortons offers coffee and doughnut as proposed settlement in class action lawsuit
The SCC has refused to hear the appeal to declare the renewal of the state of health emergency by the Quebec government invalid
Federal privacy commissioner investigating controversial ArriveCAN app
Kraken, a U.S. Crypto Exchange, Is Suspected of Violating Sanctions (US)
Ontario court certifies class action on former patients’ anxiety from notice of risk of infection
The stakes couldn’t be higher as Canada’s top court decides whether to hear climate class action lawsuit
Professor Barnali Choudhury selected by EU as trade and sustainable development expert
The Supreme Court decision on the ‘Ghomeshi’ amendments will help sexual assault victims access justice
AFN Reaches $20 B Final Settlement Agreement to Compensate First Nations Children and Families
Court refuses to stay wrongful dismissal lawsuit despite arbitration agreement in agency contracts

Quebec Superior Court suspends Bill 96’s translation requirement until constitutionality determined

A constitutional challenge to Quebec’s Bill 96 has passed its first hurdle.

PHOTO: Stock
A constitutional challenge to Quebec’s Bill 96 — which updated existing law regarding the use of French language in Quebec — has passed its first hurdle.

In an 18-page judgment released Aug. 12 and written by Justice Chantal Corriveau, the Superior Court of Quebec agreed to suspend the translation requirement that would apply to all English-language court pleadings filed in Quebec courts and administrative tribunals, until the matter can be decided by the same court.

The decision comes as the result of five Quebec lawyers bringing a request for delay (a sixth plaintiff has withdrawn since the pleadings were filed).

Bill 96 overhauls Bill 101, replacing some sections, adding additional clauses to existing amendments and changing the wording of various regulations in Quebec’s Charter regarding the use of French language in business, education, publications, commerce, marketing, health care and the courts.

The bill was adopted by the Quebec legislature on May 24 and assented to June 1. Some provisions are already in law, while the contested provisions will enter into force on Sept. 1, and other elements between 2023 and 2025.

In their pleadings the plaintiffs claimed that the court need to decide on the “serious issue” of access to justice, the provision of which “in French or English is a cornerstone of the Québec justice system.”

Section 133 of the Constitution Act, 1867 “has enshrined the right that any person may use either French or English in any pleading or process before any court in Québec,” the plaintiffs wrote in their pleadings. “As the Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled, this is a robust guarantee that extends to natural and legal persons (corporations), and applies to oral and written arguments.”

They charged that two of the provisions of Bill 96 — sections 9 and 208.6 — are unconstitutional.

“These provisions require that any legal person wishing to file a pleading drafted in English before a Québec court must attach to the pleading a certified French translation prepared by a certified translator, the whole at the cost of the legal person,” the plaintiffs noted. “If a pleading drafted in English is not accompanied by such a translation, it is prohibited from being filed with the court.”

While not deciding on the issue of constitutionality, the Superior Court agreed to suspend the requirement until the matter is decided.

“The plaintiffs have demonstrated irreparable harm should the new provisions come into force during the proceedings, in particular since the new provisions may make access to justice impossible or illusory in cases involving urgent proceedings,” the court noted in its reasons (translated from the original French) in Mitchell et al. c. PGQ.

The result of the decision is that legal persons (personnes morale) will be allowed to address the court in English, without certified translation to French, until the Superior Court makes a ruling on the constitutionality of the new provisions, said lead counsel for the plaintiffs Félix-Antoine T. Doyon of Doyon Avocats in Quebec.

“We invoked the principle of access to justice” in arguments before the court, “and we strongly believe that [those legal persons] who want to address the court in English, they will have a problem,” Doyon told The Lawyer’s Daily. There is a “fear that sections of the new law will create boundaries to access to justice,” he added.

The Barreau du Québec was an intervener in the case, supporting the arguments of the plaintiffs.

“The plaintiffs demonstrated a public interest and not just a private interest, which can be served by suspending the application of the two provisions under consideration,” the court found in granting the stay requested during the proceedings until the Superior Court makes a final judgment.

The plaintiffs were represented by Félix-Antoine Doyon and Kamy Pelletier-Khamphinith of Doyon Avocats in Quebec.

The Attorney General of Quebec was represented by François-Alexandre Gagné, Manuel Klein and Maxence Duchesneau of the Department of Justice (Quebec).





Want direct access to the latest LITN content?

Stay in the loop ➞ Subscribe to LITN instant notifications.
Receive the latest content delivered directly to your device.
Unsubscribe at anytime.

Latest News


Join the LITN Newsletter ➞ the latest news delivered to your inbox. Unsubscribe at any time.


Instagram Feed