Anglophone employees of a Montreal hospital are upset after being told they can only speak English in the ER or on their breaks. Otherwise, it must be en français.
The memo was circulated at the Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur after complaints about English-language research papers and posters on the premises, according to management. Employees were reminded that the only exception to the French-language requirement is in the emergency department.
Laura Page, a pharmacy technician at the hospital, says she is capable of speaking French to colleagues, but prefers to chit-chat in English with the 10 or so other Anglophones in her department.
The hospital told CTV Montreal that it is only following the law, but not everyone agrees about what the law requires."If I'm talking to a colleague and they're English and we're just talking about what happened the (previous) day, I'm not going to speak French to them," she says. " It's way too weird."
Under the Quebec law known as Bill 101, French is the mandatory language of the workplace.
However, lawyer and Bill 101 expert Eric Maldoff says the law makes no mention of rules around oral communication between two English speakers.
"In the absence of (the bill) saying anything, two people have the right to speak to each other in English," he says.
Page, meanwhile, says the letter will not stop her from speaking her mind -- or speaking in English.
With a report from CTV Montreal's Denise Roberts