Québec solidaire wants mandatory francization programs for businesses

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Ruba Ghazal, the Québec solidaire member of the National Assembly responsible for the French language, wants businesses to do more to preserve French in Quebec — and wants a specific plan established for Montreal.

On Sunday, the MNA for Mercier submitted two requests to Jean-François Roberge, the minister responsible for the status of French, and Ghazal says she is hoping they will be included in its planned action plan on the future of French.

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On Jan. 27, 2023, the Coalition avenir Québec announcedCreate a group to promote the future of French. The plan was supposed be released last autumn, but has yet to be published.

In an interview with La Presse Canadienne, Ghazal explained it’s in the workplace the French language is protected and companies must participate “in this collective effort at francization.”

Ghazal wants the government implement mandatory francization programmes, funded by companies and offered in the workplace during working hours.

Her party says the courses offered free of charge via the government’s Francisation QuébecPlatform cannot meet all the needs of immigrants.

“When people arrive in Quebec, they want to support their families, find a job and, often, when it’s between taking a French course and working, they will prefer to work,” Ghazal said. “They don’t necessarily have the energy or availability to take courses outside their work hours.”

If Ghazal considers the French situation in Quebec unacceptable, she said it is worse in Montreal than elsewhere and “a more significant change of course,” is needed.

The QS MNA has said she wants the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) to create a special office to address challenges specific to Montreal.

“It would perhaps mean offering more hours of coaching, more inspection, a greater presence by OQLF employees in Montreal than elsewhere, where there is less need,” she said.

To Ghazal, it is important that measures aimed at businesses go beyond being “solely coercive.”

“They must be further supported to ensure that … the francophone face of Montreal remains for as long as possible,” she said.

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