Summary of language rights in Canada and complaint mechanisms

Université de Montréal

Applicable standards

The Charter of Ville de Montreal
The Language Policy of the Université de Montréal

Université de Montréal is one of the most renowned institutions in Quebec and in Canada.  With more than 67,559 students, UdeM has become one of the pillars of Canadian and Quebec education since its creation in 1878.

As a Quebec institution, the Université de Montréal must respect certain standards concerning the use of French. In 2001, the University adopted a language policy that sets out how the University intends to comply with the spirit of the Charter of the French Language, to play an exemplary role in favour of the French language while respecting other languages, and to play a leading role in Quebec society by promoting French

This language policy deals with the language of administration, communications and teaching, the quality of French and the learning of other languages by students, as well as scientific communications and the transfer of knowledge by faculty and researchers.

For example, the language policy of the Université de Montréal states that:

  • Chapter 1. Article 1: The Université de Montréal is a French-speaking Quebec university with an international scope.

  • Chapter 2. Article 2: French is the language of drafting and dissemination of official texts and documents, including regulations, directives, policies, procedures, reports, agendas, minutes, documentation related to programs of study, diplomas, certificates and attestations of studies.

  • Chapter 3. Article 7: French is the language of instruction at the undergraduate level and the normal language of instruction at the other levels. However, the use of another language is possible for particular activities, notably for courses in foreign languages and cultures, courses or programs intended for particular clienteles, activities given abroad or when the presence of a guest speaker or professor justifies it.

The Université de Montréal is also subject to the standards set by the Charter of the French Language:

  • [Article] 41. The employer writes in the official language the communications he addresses to his personnel. He shall draft and publish in French offers of employment or promotion.
  • [Article] 45. No employer shall dismiss, lay off, demote or transfer an employee solely because the employee speaks only French or has insufficient knowledge of a particular language other than the official language or because the employee has demanded compliance with a right under this Chapter. A staff member who believes that he or she is the victim of an action prohibited under the first paragraph may, where he or she not governed by a collective agreement, may seek recourse before a labour commissioner as if it were a recourse relating to the exercise of a right under the Labour Code. Sections 15 to 20 of the Code apply, with the necessary modifications. Where the employee is governed by a collective agreement, the employee has the right to submit his or her grievance to arbitration on the same basis as his or her to arbitration in the same manner as his or her association, failing which the association shall be entitled to arbitrate. Section 17 of the Code shall apply to the adjudication of such grievance, with necessary modifications.

Complaint mechanisms

There are two (2) language complaint mechanisms applicable to the University of Montreal: the Bureau de valorisation de la langue Française et de la Francophonie and the Ombudsman de l'Université de Montréal.  These two mechanisms operate in parallel. Therefore, it is not necessary to make a complaint to the City before turning to the Ombudsman. That being said, it is generally more effective to exhaust internal remedies before resorting to external remedies.

Le Bureau de valorisation de la langue Française et de la Francophonie

The Bureau de valorisation de la langue Française et de la Francophonie is responsible for promoting and coordinating the University's actions in the area of the French language and relations with the Francophonie. It designs, strengthens, promotes and implements linguistic strategies that contribute to the development of the Université de Montréal, a major French-language institution of higher education and research with an international reputation.
You can submit a complaint by filling out the online form.

Please noteTo ensure effective processing, all complaints must meet the following conditions:

  • It must be made in writing and indicate the name and contact information of the complainant;
  • It must be based on a provision of the Université de Montréal Language Policy and be neither vexatious nor frivolous;
  • It must be sufficiently detailed to allow for its evaluation and processing, and be accompanied by relevant documents.

The Ombudsman of the Université de Montréal

The UdeM Ombudsman receives requests from members of the university community to ensure that they are treated fairly and equitably. It is possible to contact her to obtain information, advice or to denounce a situation that one considers unfair. When an intervention is requested, the Ombudsman first ensures that internal resources have been exhausted or that administrative steps have been taken without success.

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