Quebec - French by force

In the 1960s, the French speakers of the Quebec region of Canada gained political power there. Since then, they have passed many laws designed to protect the French language. In 1977, Bill 101 made French the official language of Quebec, imposed French language tests for admission to many professions and ruled that most businesses with more than fifty employees must operate in French. It also prohibited the use of English on commercial signs, although this was modified in 1993 when it was decided that English could appear on outdoor signs as long as the French words were more prominent. There is still, however, an official language police, the Office Quebecois de la Langue Française, who constantly check that these language laws are not broken. Most controversially, Bill 101 made it obligatory for almost all students, particularly those moving to Quebec from outside the region, to attend French-only schools until they reach college age. In 2002, on the 25th anniversary of Bill 101, a new law even closed the loophole that had allowed children who had been previously educated at Banglophone schools, or those in private education, to continue to attend English- speaking schools. Although all pupils at francophone schools in Quebec have English lessons, they do not start them until the fifth grade. Critics of the system say that this puts them at a serious disadvantage if they want to study or try to get a job outside of Quebec when they leave school.

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