Language-based Education Legislation in Quebec
Life in Quebec is hard for an Anglophone or allophone. Getting an education in the language of yourchoice became more difficult with the passing of Bill 115 in the National Assembly of Quebec last week.In order to close loopholes in Bill 101, Quebecers now face new language regulations and their
children’s eligibility for an English education is greatly reduced.
or the last 50 years, language laws have been making their way into Quebec’s political and legal
landscape. While older bills limited English instruction to some, recent laws have begun to make it nearimpossible unless you have the means to pay for private schools
. Here’s a look back at some of the
legislation that has affected the choice of language of instruction in this province.
Prior to Bill 101, few language laws existed in Quebec, especially when it came to education. In the
1960’s, Jean Lesage’s Liberal government passed several measures that would promote the use of
French in public yet still allowing people to use English(A Look Back at Language Laws).In 1969, Bill 63 was passed by the Union Nationale government led by Jean-Jacques Bertrand. This billgave parents the choice between an English or French education for their child. However, the Liberals,led by Robert Bourassa, passed Bill 22 in 1974 by making French the official language of Quebec andrequired immigrants to send their children to French schools(A Look Back at Language Laws).The Charter of French Language was adopted on August 24, 1977. The charter is also known as Bill 101.Basically, Bill 101 provided the framework for the language policies in Quebec(Bélanger) and establishedthe language of use for government and law. Its purpose is to shape what language people speak everyday by imposing restrictions on how businesses, schools and communication is to be conducted(TheCharter of the French Language).For educational purposes, this elementary and secondary level schooling is to be done in French. Unless,that is, you met certain conditions. A child can receive an English education is one of these criteria wasmet:One parent received the majority of their elementary education in English in Canada but outsideof Quebec and is a Canadian citizen.The father or mother received the majority of their elementary education in English in Quebecbut are not Canadian citizens.The student already attended an English school before August 1977.