All municipalities in Quebec have chosen to retain the right to serve the public in English and French because they are at risk of losing their bilingual status under the provincial language law.
The Office Québécois de la Langue Francaise confirmed that 48 cities, municipalities or boroughs notified that they could withdraw their status had taken the necessary steps to become bilingual.
Under Quebec’s new language law, municipalities where less than 50% of citizens speak English as their mother tongue will lose the right to communicate with residents in English.
However, Bill 96 allowed bilingual towns to avoid having their status revoked by passing a resolution affirming their desire to be bilingual within 120 days of receiving notice from the province.
More than half of the province’s 89 bilingual municipalities received these notices in December as their English-speaking population dropped from 7.2% to just under 50%.
French language minister Jean-Francois Roberge’s office said the law would strike a balance between promoting French and protecting minority rights, with mayors having to justify their choices to voters.