New regulations would require businesses with non-French trademarks to display prominent French signage, whether it is a slogan, a description or a message about what’s on sale.
This is the government response to a 2014 ruling on a court action brought by Best Buy, Costco, Gap, Old Navy, Guess, Wal-Mart, Toys “R” Us and Curves that under existing language regulations, companies with an English brand name were not obliged to add a French phrase to their signs. The new rules will require that the French addition be in the same field of vision as the principal sign and that it be illuminated at night if the main sign is.
Many retailers in Québec already comply by adding a touch of French to their names either by adding an article or a French descriptor. Les cafés Starbucks. Le Body Shop. Crate & Barrel Maison. Winners Mode. Moore vêtements pour hommes.
The new rules would allow a retailer to comply by simply adding a French slogan.
As such, the sign of the Roots store on Ste-Catherine Street in Montréal with "Depuis 1973" (Since 1973) would likely comply. And so does Tim Hortons Toujours Frais signage.
The rules will apply immediately after the regulations’ adoption to new signs, but there will be a three-year delay to bring existing signs into conformity.
For more on this, read our previous post, The upside of politeness in Québec