November 30, 2023

The Queens County Citizen

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“If you don’t understand English, that’s your problem”: She complains to OQLF about McDonald’s on the South Shore

"If you don't understand English, that's your problem": She complains to OQLF about McDonald's on the South Shore

Quebec woman complains about McDonald’s restaurant on South Shore after being served in English, practice by manager Justified by the fact that “this is Canada”.

“For me, French is very close to my heart […] I’m sad,” denied Saint-Hubert resident Laurence Lpicier.

On Oct. 24, she went to a McDonald’s counter on Taschero Boulevard in Greenfield Park to order food in French when she was allegedly greeted by a cashier who did not understand what she was saying.

“I asked for an autumn masala latte and I saw emptiness in his eyes,” says Mme The grocer claimed the employee only spoke to him in English.

“Her Problem” If She Doesn’t Speak English

According to his story, Mme The grocer pointed out the situation to the manager. “I said to him: ‘What’s wrong with your employee not knowing French?’ And she immediately started attacking me.

Mme The grocer filmed her interaction with the woman who claimed to be her manager and shared an excerpt on TikTok.

“There it is,” said the video, which has been viewed more than 180,000 times [le] Canada” and “If you don’t understand English, that’s your problem.”

This response is Mme The grocer was so angry that she lashed out at the manager, who, she said, showed “contempt” for her right to request service in French, as provided for in the French language by the Quebec Charter.

The customer filed a formal complaint with the Office Québécois de la Langue Francaise (OQLF) and is demanding an apology from McDonald’s.

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“If the employee had made an effort, the manager had come and said ‘I’m sorry, she usually works in the kitchen’, it would have stopped there and there would have been no complaint from me », specifies Mme The Grocer.

No excuses, but investigation

Contacted by News magazineMcDonald’s Canada has refused to apologize for the event.

“McDonald’s Canada takes this type of situation very seriously. We are looking into this incident and will take the necessary steps to prevent similar incidents from happening again in the future,” we were told in an email with no signature other than the media relations team.

The multinational announced it would ensure that “Quebec language laws are applied in all aspects of the customer experience, from packaging to customer service.”

“Arrogant” attitude

Jean-Paul Perreault, president of Imperatif Français, sees an “arrogant” attitude in the manager’s response, which testifies to a “Canadian” focus on promoting English in Quebec.

“This vision of Canada causes many people working in organizations to ridicule and despise customers who want to serve themselves in French. The manager’s attitude is tantamount to saying ‘shut up’.”

“We don’t like it in Quebec to request service in French. It should be there all the time,” asserted Mr. Perreault.

OQLF confirmed it had received a complaint about the language of service at this business, without providing further details, as complaints handling is confidential.

Bill 101 “requires a company to ensure that, at all times, at least one employee is capable of providing service in French,” OQLF spokeswoman Chantal Bouchard said.

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