Bill 101 at 40: The Charter of the French Language and Quebec’s English-speaking communities, 1977-2017
The Charter of the French Language, commonly known as Bill 101, played a fundamental role in Quebec’s history. Passed by the Parti Québécois government in 1977, it sought to ensure the primacy of French in public institutions, in certain workplaces, and on commercial signs. It also limited access to English-language schools to ensure that the children of immigrants would acquire the French language.
Research shows that Bill 101 had both positive and negative effects on the English-speaking minority. There was an increase in Anglophone out-migration from Quebec starting in the 1970s, followed by a decline in the vitality of the English-language school system after Bill 101. The socioeconomic status of Quebec’s English-speakers declined. Some scholars contend that Bill 101 led Quebec’s English-speaking population to redefine itself; they came to see themselves less as part of Canada’s linguistic majority and more as a minority within Quebec. In reaction to 101, politicians and new institutions emerged to organize and mobilize this minority. Moreover, young Anglophones are more bilingual or multilingual than ever before, allowing them fuller economic, cultural and civic participation in Quebec.
Our two-day conference features leading and emerging scholars and community leaders discussing the impact of Bill 101 on Quebec’s English-speaking communities. The event is organized by the Quebec English-speaking Communities Research Network (QUESCREN) at the Faculty of Arts and Science at Concordia University.
Note: The QUESCREN conference takes place on May 10-11, 2017 as part of the annual Association francophone pour le savoir (Acfas) congress, which this year will be held at McGill University. Attending the QUESCREN conference requires registering for the entire Acfas congress. Information: www.Acfas.ca .
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